April 2013

“That’s when the DJ dropped my favorite tune”

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
On Twitter: @Castrovince

spinningSpinning, I’ve come to learn in recent months, is a great way to expend a tremendous amount of energy while going absolutely nowhere. It is both exhilarating and defeating, offering all the physical benefits of performance cycling without any of the beautiful vistas or genuine sense of accomplishment in excursion.

That’s why it takes a good spinning instructor to motivate you through the 60-minute nightmare that is pumping your legs and sweating profusely in a small, poorly ventilated room in a suburban Cleveland gym. And while some instructors will try to get you to use your imagination — “We’re coming up on a big hill!” they’ll shout excitedly, while you ponder which hallucinatory drug they have recently ingested — the best know that the way to galvanize people in an exercise environment is to fill the air with tunes. Glorious, pump-up tunes.

Naturally, this is where it gets tricky. Because if we know one thing about the world today, it’s that our beliefs in politics, religious practices, social and moral standards and, most of all, music could not be more diverse, sometimes frustratingly so.

It is, then, with much chagrin that I report that my personal preference — a spinning class based solely on Springsteen (I would call it “Spinsteen”) — has not yet been met. The instructors whose classes I’ve attended tend to veer more toward the Top 40 or the ‘80s hair metal or the early ‘90s club songs. And that’s all right, I suppose. Although it must be noted that one woman did, fleetingly, inject a little Bruce into the proceedings. Somebody (not me, I swear) had requested a Springsteen song before class, and she obliged with the only such offering on her iPod.

The song? “Streets of Philadelphia,” Bruce’s haunting hymn about alienation and dispossession, written for “Philadelphia,” in which Tom Hanks plays a lawyer afflicted with AIDS.

Not what you’d call a pump-up tune.

Some do it better than others. And with that in mind, let’s see how the 2013 Cleveland Indians did in selecting their pump-up tunes, in our much-anticipated annual “at-bat music” installment of CastroTurf.

Tip of the cap, as always, to Annie Merovich, the Indians’ manager of scoreboard operations, for providing the list.

Michael Bourn: “We Still In This B&*@#” by B.o.B. featuring T.I. and Juicy J. (Favorite lyric: “Stop blowing my buzz, quit killing it” reads like a comment on the Draft-pick compensation rules for free agents.)

Asdrubal Cabrera: “Limbo” by Daddy Yankee, “El Teke Teke” by Crazy Design, “No Me Corra Cantinero” by Vitico Castillo, “Dime Que Hago” by Farruko. (Favorite “Limbo” lyric: “Y esto esta como como pa como pa como pa rumbear,” which loosely translates to, “Watch out for those dugout steps.”

Jason Kipnis: “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi (RL Grime Remix). (Favorite lyric: “And then just touch me/’Til I can get my/Satisfaction.” That’s actually the only lyric, so I didn’t have much to choose from.)

Nick Swisher: “Who I Am (What’s My Name)” by Snoop Dogg. (NOTE: An all-time classic video. As for the song itself, not exactly similar to “Hang On Sloopy.”)

Michael Brantley: “Started From The Bottom” by Drake. (Favorite lyric: “I’ve done kept it real from the jump/Living at my mama’s house, we’d argue every month.” A tale as old as time.)

Carlos Santana: Something called “Gibberish” (I tried Googling it, and I have no idea), “Solo Sucede” by Gabriel Cazali.

Mark Reynolds: “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line with Nelly. (Favorite lyric: “She was sippin’ on Southern and singin’ Marshall Tucker/We were falling in love in the sweet heart of summer.” Another tale as old as time.)

Lonnie Chisenhall: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne.

Drew Stubbs: “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris, “Ima Boss” by Meek Mill featuring Rick Ross, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Mike Aviles: “Hit ‘Em Up” by Tyga.

Jason Giambi: “Wolfpack” by C-Murder. (Note: This is the theme song for the New World Order team in World Championship Wrestling, but I’m sure you already knew that, right?)

Lou Marson: “What I Got” by Sublime (Note: No more “Easy Lover” by Phil Collins, but this will do.)

Ryan Raburn: “Kiss My Country #@$” by Rhett Atkins, “Whistlin’ Dixie” by Randy Houser.

Justin Masterson: “Rebirth” by Skillet.

Ubaldo Jimenez: “Rie y Llora” by Celia Cruz. (Favorite lyric: “Lo que es bueno hoy/Quizas no lo sea mañana” or “What is good today/May not be tomorrow.” Amen, Ubaldo, amen.)

Zach McAllister: “Return of the Mack,” by Mark Morrison.

Brett Myers: “Answers To No One” by Colt Ford. (Favorite lyric: “A jealous man is weak, so think before you speak/If you love ‘em let ‘em know, if you hate let it go.” Boom. Outta here.)

Carlos Carrasco: “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. (Favorite lyrics: “Dreams of war/Dreams of lies/Dreams of dragons fire/And of pitches high and tight” … or something like that.)

Bryan Shaw: “Sail” by AWOLNATION.

Matt Albers: “Sleep Now In The Fire” by Rage Against the Machine.

Cody Allen: “Take It Outside” by Brantley Gilbert.

Joe Smith: “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean.

Chris Perez: “Firestarter” by Prodigy.

Vinnie Pestano: “Walk” by Pantera. (Note: If you thought “Firestarter” was a strange choice for a closer, then what do you make of “Walk” for a setup man?)

~AC

“I’m disturbed, I’m depressed, I’m inadequate… I’ve got it all!”

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
On Twitter: @Castrovince

We’ve spent the last few months talking about how interesting these 2013 Indians would be.

Well, they’re interesting, all right.

carrascoIn what was supposed to be the ninth game of the season, the Indians were set to use their seventh starting pitcher (Corey Kluber: No. 7 in your depth chart, No. 1 in your heart). That would have put the Indians on pace to use 126 starting pitchers this season (which would of course be a record… but let’s not read too much into that, because I’m sure they won’t actually use more than 100).

Anyway, rain intervened to momentarily pause the merry-go-round, and now it’s Zach McAllister getting the nod in Game No. 9. So… six starters in nine days. That already sounds better, doesn’t it?

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there. The Tribe has also already promoted two catchers — on the same day, no less. It’s not often you get to see the backup backup backup backstop suited up in early April, so cherish this memory.

You might not be stunned to learn Chris Antonetti hasn’t exactly cherished all the early transaction activity.

“Once the games start, a number of different things can happen,” Antonetti said. “But I don’t think we’ve ever had a situation — in my experience or Terry’s experience — where you lose two catchers in a span of five days. Obviously, it puts a strain on your roster. There are a number of different things we have to work through.”

The Indians tried to creatively work around Carlos Carrasco’s five-game suspension by having him on the active roster at the outset of the season. They didn’t imagine they’d need both Carrasco and Trevor Bauer in the first week and a half, and they definitely didn’t imagine Carrasco would cause another ruckus with a post-homer hit-by-pitch that may or may not earn him yet another suspension (a suspension that would have to be served whenever he makes it back to the big leagues, as Carrasco was already bumped back to Columbus on Wednesday).

Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir is slowly working his way back from an oblique injury and Brett Myers has already given up seven home runs in 10 1/3 innings and Ubaldo Jimenez had a homely home opener and Lou Marson got steamrolled by Desmond Jennings and Carlos Santana’s hot start was stalled by his inability to catch a Chris Perez pitch and Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall aren’t really hitting yet and… geez… by this point in this paragraph the Tribe’s 3-5 record really doesn’t look so bad, all things considered.

On the bright side, we’ve seen Justin Masterson circa 2011 thus far, while Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds have arrived as advertised. They’ve had a calming effect amid the chaos.

Actually, Francona — the first to admit, in his words, “If I don’t think positively, who the heck is?” — doesn’t really feel it’s been quite as chaotic as it seems.

“The reason we’re doing these [transactions] is to keep things in order,” he said. “The hope would be things settle down and we go play baseball and see how good we can get. But sometimes you make moves just to keep things in order.”

Some teams thrive on stability, while others develop their identity in the midst of motion. The Orioles, en route to a Wild Card berth, used 52 players and made 178 roster moves last season. They were one of four postseason teams — the Yankees, A’s and Nationals being the others — to lose more than 1,000 days to the disabled list.

So, sure, the Tribe can certainly survive and maybe even be bettered by this spurt of uncertainty.

But if the rotation was a concern going into the season, it is downright alarming right now. Tribe starters not named Masterson have a 6.02 ERA, and stability does not figure to be a strength of that staff. Clearly, that’s not the kind of “interesting” you want to be.

~AC

PS: I had the pleasure today of sitting in on a special meeting between Mariano Rivera and about 30 Indians staff members who work behind the scenes. Rivera just wanted to say thank you to the people who make Progressive Field churn. One of the classiest things I’ve seen in baseball, as I wrote here.

PPS: In case you missed these recent stories: On Nick Swisher and Travis Hafner and what they demonstrate about the directions of the Indians and Yankees; On Tito Francona’s return “home” for the home opener.

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