“When all the answers, they don’t amount to much”
Hey, you, out there braving the bone-chilling cold and the slow-moving traffic, out there bemoaning an injury to an age-30 LeBron or tossing drinks at Johnny Manziel or hoping to party with J.R. Smith. Have you forgotten about your Cleveland Indians? Have you been paying attention to their winter activity and the fact that they are very realistic contenders for the American League Central title in 2015?
Well, first, I advise you to listen to the latest podcast myself and Jordan Bastian recorded at the dawn of a new year. And then, let’s test your Tribe intelligence with this little quiz:
1. Terry Francona signed an extension through 2018, with club options for 2019 and ’20. He did this because:
A. He values his relationships with Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro.
B. He has been invigorated by the success and organizational strides made in his two years at the helm.
C. He values managing in a market that doesn’t have the drama and distractions he endured in Boston.
D. He has vowed to finish every piece of bubble gum in that gigantic tub in the dugout, and it’s going to take a few years.
2. The Indians’ big acquisition this winter was Brandon Moss. The average Cleveland sports fan’s response was:
A. “Sweet! Dude can mash!”
B. “Despite concerns about adding yet another left-handed bat to the lineup, his proclivity for pull-side power should play even better in Progressive Field than it did in Oakland Coliseum, and his positional flexibility should be an asset given Terry Francona’s day-to-day strategizing.”
C. “He had a bad second half, but he should be healthier in 2015. I’m cautiously optimistic.”
D. “Moss… isn’t he that dude who watches movies for Channel 8?”
3. The Indians clearly need to improve defensively in 2015. A big key will be:
A. Jose Ramirez starting the season at shortstop.
B. Francisco Lindor’s eventual promotion.
C. Jason Kipnis’ improved conditioning.
D. The trade for Iman Shumpert.
4. Veteran Gavin Floyd was signed as rotation depth. You’ll know this was a successful deal if:
A. Floyd delivers, say, 150 league-average-or-better innings.
B. Floyd serves as a helpful clubhouse presence to an otherwise youthful starting unit.
C. Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and/or T.J. House regress and Floyd picks up the slack.
D. Floyd’s arm does not physically detach from his body.
5. Corey Kluber won the AL Cy Young Award. Regular readers of MLB.com noted:
A. “I’m pleasantly surprised the voters gave him the slight edge over the equally deserving Felix Hernandez.”
B. “Kudos. Kluber is an impressive guy who has put in the time and work to mold himself into an elite pitcher.”
C. “The Indians have now developed three Cy Young winners in the last decade, and this one is under long-term contractual control.”
D. “I wonder if Castrovince will finally concede he’s better than Cory Snyder.”
6. Michael Brantley finished third in the AL MVP voting, behind Mike Trout and Victor Martinez. The consensus reaction among fans was:
A. “That is a tremendous accomplishment and proper recognition of a terrific season.”
B. “Actually, his rate stats were comparable – and in some cases better – than those of Trout, so you could argue he got snubbed.”
C. “Brantley sure has come a long, long way from being the player to be named later in the CC Sabathia trade.”
D. “We haven’t had a left fielder this good since the Dellichaels platoon!”
7. Moss is coming off hip surgery, and Nick Swisher is coming off dual knee surgeries. The outlook on this is:
A. Hopefully Moss doesn’t lose any of his power.
B. This obviously nullifies Swisher’s trade value.
C. This could mean more time for David Murphy and/or Ryan Raburn in right field.
D. Hey, better to have two DHs than zero quarterbacks.
8. Kipnis detailed his troubles with food poisoning on Twitter. A proper response was:
A. “Oh man… I hope he feels better soon.”
D. “I know he vowed to report to camp leaner, but this is a bit extreme.”
9. Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group beat writer Paul Hoynes got some national attention when he admitted he didn’t vote for Pedro Martinez for the Hall of Fame. Hoynes’ reasoning was:
A. Pedro was a “punk.”
B. Pedro irritated him.
C. He lost his ballot.
D. He had him confused with Carlos Martinez.
10. Former Tribe third baseman Aaron Boone received two Hall of Fame votes. A rational explanation for this is:
A. It’s an homage to the great Boone family and all they accomplished in baseball.
B. It’s a tip of the cap to a great guy.
C. Everybody remembers his Game 7 walk-off in the 2003 ALCS.
D. It took future Hall of Famer Andy Marte to bump him out of the Tribe lineup in 2006, so you know he was good.
11. There has been a ton of activity in the AL Central, and it’s shaping up to be baseball’s best division race. The most shocking development so far was:
A. The Tigers adding Yoenis Cespedes.
B. The White Sox adding Jeff Samardzija.
C. The Twins signing Ervin Santana.
D. Kluber wearing this.
12. In 2015, the Indians will…
A. Make the playoffs.
B. Miss the playoffs.
C. Hopefully be more entertaining than this quiz.
ANSWERS: Blowing in the wind. And it’s freaking cold out there.