Results tagged ‘ Goodyear Ballpark ’

"I love the sexy slither of a female snake"

Players aren’t the only ones spoiled at the Indians’ new Spring Training home. We media types also get treated pretty well.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a cushioned swivel chair in a Goodyear Ballpark press box that contains a media dining room, wireless Internet access and working phone lines.

It’s a far, far cry from the folding chairs and the outdoor, dirt-covered, technologically challenged environment in which we worked at Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven.

It was about two years ago at this time when that box was visited bsnake.jpgy a five-foot black snake (it was actually only about three feet long, but I will add one foot to its length every year to embellish the tale). In my mind’s eye, I can still see it slithering behind my laptop. It made its way several yards to my left before a grounds crew member arrived, grabbed it with his bare hands, whipped it around his head a few times, then tossed it to its freedom behind the ballpark.

Consider this my ode to that snake and to that box. Sure, we have all the acoutrements a modern sportswriter could need. But where’s the sense of adventure?  

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY… 

  • First off, glad to hear Torey Lovullo is relatively OK after getting struck with a broken bat above the left eye Sunday. The curse of the maple bats lives on, despite MLB’s new regulations. Lovullo had nine stitches above his eye, which is swollen shut, but he was lucky to be wearing sunglasses at the time of the incident. The damage could have been much worse.
  • Lovullo was struck because the bat bounced off the netting atop the Indians’ dugout and hit him as he turned his head to see where it went. But this is no knock on the netting, which extends to the end of each dugout at Goodyear Ballpark. The fans sitting in the first row behind the dugout were no doubt happy the netting was there, and I’ve always been in support of MLB mandating that every ballpark install such a safety precaution.
  • Grady Sizemore (sore left groin) might be ready to DH by Wednesday. He took some BP and played catch today and will be evaluated again tomorrow. He hasn’t done any running or any activity with his lower half. 
  • Cliff Lee threw a two-inning simulated session today. He faced Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and David Dellucci. Lee is slated to make his Cactus League debut Friday against the Brewers.
  • RHP Anthony Reyes isn’t the only guy making his spring debut in tomorrow’s game agains the Rangers. LHP Tony Sipp, who has been about a week behind because of left shoudler tendinitis that sprouted up last fall, is also in the mix for the game in Surprise.
  • The Rangers batted out of order in the sixth inning of today’s game, but the Indians either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to point it out to the umpires. Travis Metcalf, who replaced No. 3 hitter Michael Young, was supposed to lead off the inning. Instead, cleanup hitter Andruw Jones led off and Metcalf batted second.
  • Aaron Laffey had a rough second inning today but shook it off as fate conspiring against him. He said he was happy with his stuff.
  • Always nice to catch up with Omar, although he kind of threw his 13-year-old son, Nico, under the bus. When asked if Nico plays ball, Omar said, “Nah, he’s lazy. I think living in Seattle got to him. People there sit behind desks and use computers.” He said Nico is more into playing his electric guitar than picking up a bat.
  • Eric Wedge on Wes Hodges, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored today: “For a young hitter with some power, he stays in the middle of the field as well as any young hitter I’ve seen.” On the defensive side, Hodges made a throwing error at third.
  • The other day, I told you Rafael Betancourt was introduced by the Goodyear Ballpark PA guy as “John Betancourt.” Today, Tomo Ohka was “Mister Ohka.” This guy… is struggling.

~AC 

"I can't believe it. He stole my move!"

You know, I’m not one to promote frivolous lawsuits. But if the guy who designed Chipotle wanted to make a few bucks, he could probably put together a pretty strong case against the guy who designed Goodyear Ballpark. I don’t think that would be a suit with much frivol.

Just look…


ballpark_1.jpg


chipotle.jpg

Only their mothers (or architects, as it were) can tell them apart. Anyway, let's go over today's activity at the Big Chipotle.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

  • First off, in my lineups posting below, I gave you the wrong list of available pitchers in the 'pen. That's actually tomorrow's list. So consider it a sneak preview, all right?
  • Wow, we're really going to have some long games here. It was a 3-hour, 22-minute tilt today. Somebody forgot to pack that Florida humidity.
  • Eric Wedge thinks Aaron Laffey, who gave up an unearned run on two hits in two innings against the D-backs today, is handling the battle for a rotation spot much better this year than last. Laffey pressed last year. "He seems to be more comfortable, more relaxed," Wedge said. "He learned a great deal last year, and that's going to help him a great deal this year."
  • Regarding the rotation battle, it's been reported -- and Wedge has said -- that there are two jobs open. That's only true if Anthony Reyes' elbow flares up on him. If Reyes is healthy, he's the fourth starter. Remember he's out of Minor League options.
  • Matt LaPorta lost a ball in the sun (get used to that; it's brutal in left field here) in the top of the second, then cranked out a solo shot off Dan Haren in the bottom of the inning. "I'm impressed with my approach right now," he said. "I'm still getting adjusted to playing again. My timing's coming back. It's going well."
  • The Indians made four errors today. "It's early," Wedge said. "Guys aren't going to be as sharp early on."
  • Shortstop Jesus Merchan got hit by a pitch at the plate and hit by a liner into the Indians' dugout. "He'll be in the cold whirlpool after the game," Wedge said with a laugh.
  • Grady Sizemore and Mark DeRosa leave camp Sunday to join their Team USA teammates in Clearwater, Fla. They'll play in Saturday's game in Phoenix, against the A's.
  • Sizemore was asked if he thinks the World Baseball Classic games will be "intense." His reply: "It's baseball." In other words, no.
  • Don't forget that Saturday is the day single-game tickets go on-sale for all 2009 home games Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. You can buy your tickets right here. If you buy four or more single-game tickets on Saturday or Sunday, you get a free Sizemore fleece blanket.
  • One note on the season schedule: The Sunday, May 31, game against the Yankees has been changed from a 1:05 p.m. ET start to 12:40 p.m., because TBS will broadcast it nationally. In Cleveland, it will be blacked out on TBS but aired on SportsTime Ohio.
  • The Indians aren't just losing nine players to the Classic. Visiting clubhouse manager Willie Jenks left camp today to serve as the head clubbie for the Venezuelan team.
  • I told you about the unnatural obsession with Affliction T-shirts in the Tribe clubhouse, but apparently LaPorta went a little too far. He wore a neon blue shirt to work yesterday, and his teammates abused him by hanging it up in the middle of the clubhouse with a sign that said "Prime Time." 

~AC

Familiar faces around me

Aside from today's shift in scenery from the complex to the ballpark, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the arrival of Rapid Robert Feller. It's an annual rite of spring.

 

As was the case in Winter Haven, Feller will be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch and signing autographs at each and every home game at the Goodyear Ballpark.

 

You might be surprised to hear Mr. Feller has an opinion on some things. Shocker, right? He came into the media workroom and said, "Are you guys going to write about steroids this season, or baseball?" Hopefully baseball, we responded. "I'm sure Bud and A-Rod hope that, too," he replied.

 

When told Jeremy Sowers is starting tomorrow's Cactus League opener, Feller said, "If he got some upper body strength, he could do it. He reminds me a lot of Scotty Bailes."

 

Feller also told us scribes, "The last thing I want to hear is that we have great players in the Minor Leagues. I don't care. How about some great ones, right now, winning a ballgame?"

 

I guess he's not all that interested in my Nick Weglarz feature.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • If you're in the Cleveland area, SportsTime Ohio will be broadcasting tomorrow's opener against the Giants, which begins at 3 p.m. ET. If you're not, fear not. MLB Network will be picking up and airing the STO live feed.
  • Feller was far from the only special guest at the complex today. This place has become a tourist trap. This morning, former closer Joe Borowski rolled in to take a tour and catch up with some old friends. Not only was Borowski, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, wearing the standard-issue Affliction T-shirt, he was also carrying his trademark cup of Starbucks. "I can drink as much as I want now," he joked. If you remember, Borowski's major complaint about Winter Haven was the lack of Starbucks availability.
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Padres GM Kevin Towers also toured the complex this morning. And on Monday, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd (a former Indians assistant GM) rolled through. The Rockies have to be considering a move from Tucson. Only two teams (the Rockies and Diamondbacks) remain there, so their travel schedule is brutal.
  • Not a great deal to report off the five-inning intrasquad, because, well, it's a five-inning intrasquad. But Josh Barfield started a double play on the only ball hit to him at third, and he also cranked out a three-run homer. So a nice day for him.
  • Bad day for Masa Kobayashi, who had a rough third inning in which he faced eight batters and gave up three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Trevor Crowe took him deep for a solo shot, and Beau Mills added an RBI triple to the left-field corner. Eric Wedge said Kobayashi was flying open on his delivery. After Carl Willis talked with him on the mound, he tightened it up and got better action on his breaking ball -- and got out of the inning, to boot.
  • Carlos Santana put on a display in batting practice during the morning workout, and he showed off his strong arm behind the plate in the intrasquad. Santana is catching (no pun intended) attention down here.
  • The real star of the intrasquad was the ballpark itself. The plaza beyond foul territory near right field contains a Wiffle Ball field for the kids. The 8-year-old inside me is just dying to try it out.
  • The park has an incredible sound system. Some of the players are already talking about starting a petition to have the system installed at Progressive Field (they hate the sound there).
  • Then again, the people operating the system here could stand to make some tweaks. You've no doubt heard a small sampling of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" played after strikeouts in many a ballpark, and Goodyear Ballpark is no exception. It's a tired act. And the lone time it was broken up, the replacement, bizarrely, was a short dose of Blessid Union of Souls' "I Believe" when Wes Hodges went down swinging in the fourth. I'm struggling to make the connection there.

 ~AC

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