“The Guide” abides.
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. Or so the old saying goes. But you really don’t know the players’ hopes, dreams, fears and quirks without a media guide. Or so the public relations departments would lead you to believe.
Media guides, both figuratively and quite literally, don’t carry quite the weight they once did, in this Internet-savvy era. But even an Internet writer such as myself can be a big believer in the printed word.
And so, with the excitement about the Cleveland Indians higher than it has been since… oh, I don’t know… since Andy Marte arrived… and with so many new names on the roster, let’s do as we did a couple years back and dip into “The Guide” to see what we can learn:
EXCRUCIATING MEDIA GUIDE MINUTIAE FOR 2013…
- I never realized Terry Francona, who grew up in western Pennsylvania, was actually born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, while his father was playing for the Aberdeen Pheasants, an Orioles affiliate. So to the extent that the Indians actually have a Dakota quota (and isn’t that fun to say?), they have filled it with Francona in the wake of Travis Hafner’s departure.
- The only photo of former Guide cover boy Grady Sizemore in this or any media guide this year comes in the “Indians History” section. God, that’s sad.
- Ubaldo Jimenez lists “America’s Funniest Home Videos” as his favorite TV show. I don’t know, man. It’s just not the same without Saget.
- Justin Masterson and Joe Smith share the same birthday (March 22) and so do Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs (Oct. 4).
- Speaking of which, birthdays are also listed for Urban Meyer (July 10) and Thad Matta (July 11), only because Tribe PR man and unabashed Buckeye fan Bart Swain wanted to see if anybody was paying attention.
- Stubbs’ favorite movie is “The Sting,” starring Shaker Heights’ own Paul Newman.
- Sandy Alomar Jr. has a soon-to-be-25-year-old daughter, and now many of you reading this feel ancient, don’t you?
- Scott Kazmir is part-Czechoslovakian.
- New bullpen coach Kevin Cash played in the 1989 Little League World Series as a member of Tampa Northside.
- Triple-A starter Scott Barnes’ favorite athlete is Lou Marson. Hey, I don’t blame him. Marson sometimes uses Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover” as his at-bat music, so why shouldn’t he be somebody’s favorite athlete?
- Francona and third base coach Brad Mills were teammates on the Arizona Wildcats’ College World Series team in 1979.
- Mike Aviles’ uncle, Ramon Aviles, played parts of four seasons with Boston and Philadelphia from 1977-81.
- Well, we already knew Trevor Bauer is a little bit different from the norm, and this confirms it further: His favorite band is Amon Amarth. I’ve never heard of Amon Amarth, but the 100-percent reliable Wikipedia confirms that it is a “melodic death metal band from Tumba, Sweden, founded in 1992. It takes its name from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom, a volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien′s Middle-earth.” So… there’s that.
- Bauer, much like my wife, is also a big, big fan of Duke basketball. I wonder if Coach K listens to Amon Amarth…
- First base coach Mike Sarbaugh had a minor role as a Pirates shortstop in “Major League II,” which, if you remember from my 2011 Media Guide entry, was, strangely, Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez’s favorite movie.
- Cody Allen’s favorite TV show is “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which is fortunate for him. Because you literally cannot turn on the TV and flip through the channels without landing on an “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode at some point. Go ahead, try this right now. I’ll wait. … See? It was on TBS, wasn’t it?
- Oh, Allen also lists Eric Church as his favorite musician. That is, unfortunately, about the closest any player on this roster is going to come to listing Springsteen as their favorite artist. As a Springsteen fan, I appreciate Church spreading the gospel, as it were, with his big hit. I look forward to future songs in which he references more obscure tracks like “Reno” and “Car Wash.”
- Michael Brantley aka Dr. Smooth’s favorite TV show is “The Price Is Right,” which makes sense given that ballplayers typically sleep in until (at least) 11 a.m. and work nights. On an unrelated note, Brantley got married over the winter and his wife, Melissa, is already expecting the couple’s first child. Smooth moves, indeed.
- Carlos Carrasco likes “Titanic.” This will not go over well with the Man Card Committee (but as a guy who inexplicably has “Party In The U.S.A.” on his iPod, I’m in no position to judge).
- Bryan Shaw was asked to list his favorite group or artist, and he replied, “Everything.” This can’t possibly be, can it? I mean, I know there are people who don’t have specific preferences, but to say you like “everything” is to embrace some truly miserable musical experiences.
- Hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo had one home run in his 38 Major League at-bats — Aug. 16, 1993, off Bill Gullickson. The more you know…
- Matt Albers’ favorite movie is “The Big Lebowski.” The Dude abides.
- One of Brett Myers’ favorite athletes growing up was Roger Clemens. And you know how Clemens has four kids whose names begin with a “K”? Well, same with Myers – daughter Kylie and sons Kolt, Koda and Kace.
- Myers loves him some Skynyrd.
- Chris Perez’s middle name is Ralph, which is exactly what he did on the mound after one of his saves last year.
- Want some truly obscure trivia? In the last 10 years, just two rookies or sophomores have hit five home runs in the first eight games of the season. One is Miguel Cabrera (with the Marlins in ’04) and the other is Mark Reynolds (with the D-backs in ’08).
- Reynolds’ favorite musician? Colt Ford, a former member of the Nationwide professional golf tour who now operates in the oft-overlooked genre of “country rap.”
- Nick Swisher’s favorite movie is “For Love of the Game,” which I’ve never seen. I can only hope it is better than a certain other Kevin Costner baseball movie.
- I never knew Carlos Santana’s favorite team growing up was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Good thing I read “The Guide.”
PS: Did you read the Little Lake Nellie story? If not, here’s another chance.
PPS: Our MLB.com preview of the AL Central is here.