Results tagged ‘ Indians ’

Cleveland Indians 2012 Offseason Recap and Preview

2011 was truly a fun year for the Cleveland Indians…the first half anyway:

Grade: B-

Notable Additions:

Casey Kotchman, Jeremy Accardo, Jose Lopez, Derek Lowe, Felix Pie, Kevin Slowey, and Dan Wheeler.

Notable Subtractions:

Jim Thome, Adam Everett, and Austin Kearns.

Why?: This is a weird entry/grade. The addition far surpass the subtractions. That said, I usually don’t put in more than one or two players in the “Notable” lists that have been signed to a minor league contract. In this entry, however, I have five players that were signed to minor league contracts on the list. This serves as an indicator that a lot of the players aren’t game changers. In other words, the subtraction players aren’t that far away from equaling the value to a team that the addition players present, a fact which reflects itself in the grade I gave their offseason.

 

Also, Kosuke Fukudome and Chad Durbin have yet to sign, which may bring the Indians’ grade down as they were on the Indians last year.

 

Predicted Record Range: 77-82 wins

Next Up: 

Re-view of the preview: Cleveland Indians

First off, here is the original entry detailing the Indians 2010 season, their offseason, and predictions for their 2011 season, which is now over.

 

If you are new to the “Re-view of the preview” entries, they are entries looking back at a series of entries I did last season called “Offseason Recap and Preview”, which were entries that examined teams’ free agent signings and trades during last offseason. I then went on to predict how the moves would affect the respective teams and their records for the 2011 season. First, I attach a link to the initial entry as you saw above. Then I go into how well I actually predicted that team’s season now that the season is over and I can actually see the discrepancy in record.

 

Predicted record: 73-78 wins

 

Actual Record: 80-82

 

Although it may seem like the two records are pretty similar, I really underestimated the “Tribe” they started off really well and cooled off from then. When I saw them play in Chicago, I think it was the first time I really had a look at their entire lineup and I do believe their first half record was closer to the mean and their second half was a *bit* of bad luck and they could easily have won in the 84-ish range.

 

My mistake in looking at this team was that although they had a tough(er) 2010 season, they had some prominent players injured and the return of these players made them a better team than the net gain from their “Notable” additions and subtractions during the offseason would suggest. Their pitching pretty much stayed the same, if you ignore the addition of Ubaldo Jimenez.

 

Overall, I kind of, sort of pegged this team.

8/16/11 Indians at White Sox: US Cellular Field

Originally, I was planning to go to three games but because of changes to that plan that I was not made aware of, this would be my first and last game at US Cellular Field this year. I had taken a tour of Northwestern in the morning so this was my view coming off of the el or L (short for elevated train):

It was then 4:59 so I didn’t have that much time to wander around but yet I did (unintentionally). Here is my route in red ink:

In that first picture, you are actually looking at gate 6. I then went over to gate 4 to meet my uncle (not Richard) with the tickets. From there I went to  the Stadium club entrance between gates 2 and 3 because Rick Crowe told me he might be there but might also be inside the stadium for a season ticket holder promotion (long and complicated story that I’d rather not explain). He wasn’t there so I assumed that he was in the stadium and went over to gate 2 to see the length of the line because that goes into Right Field. The line was long enough for me to inspect how long it was at gate 1. Apparently, this was the gate they were doing the season ticket holder event thing at and no other people were allowed through. By the time I made my way back to gate 2 the time was 5:20 (10 minutes pre-gate opening) and the line was this long:

The arrow would be where the front of the line was because the line kind of curved to its destination. Now I didn’t know it at this time but what I should have done was go back to gate 6 because that would get me to the Left Field seats and it would be much less crowded than this line. One of the reasons this line was so crowded was because it was also the patio gate. The patio area is a picnic table area that is actually under the Right Field seats. I didn’t know these seats even existed and so most of the people in this line were actually in it for that reason and other gates did not have this extra crowd. In addition, I didn’t know that we were not on the field level of the stadium. So when faced with the decision, I did not go up the ramp but actually followed the people going to the patio area. Here is actually a picture of the people going towards the patio area through this tunnel type thing that most stadiums have but fans are rarely allowed through:

So if I weren’t late enough already with waiting for the fans in front of me, I was made even tardier by the fact that I went the length of the tunnel and back. Eventually, I did make it to the 100 level and the Indians were already taking bp:

I quickly did pick out Rick Crowe:

He is obviously under the red arrow but I would also like to take this opportunity to show the best thing about US Cellular Field: No guard rails on the aisles. This means that any row is accessible. Usually, in a place with railing you will see ballhawks stationed in railing gaps during batting practice. These are one-row-wide gaps between one railing and the next. They do this because it allows them to access both sections of seats on both sides of the aisle. Without the railings, a ballhawk can just pick the spot on the aisle that is least crowded. For example, I would be able to stand in the second row here and not be worried about being limited to going to only one side due to the railing but I could just pick out the emptiest row and stand in the respective aisle. Anyway, in the process of introducing myself  to him I actually missed out on two balls that landed more towards Right-Center Field. I was okay with this in the moment and I’m glad I met him at my first chance but I really wished I would have spotted him like two seconds later.

I then noticed two things that made me leave for Left Field: the Left Field seats were bleachers and Chris Perez was shagging in Left Field. The former made me go over there because bleachers are far easier to maneuver through and snag baseballs in because one can be more of an outfielder and adjust to the ball depth wise. Let me explain this a bit better. In a seated section, one has to pick a row to run through within about one row of where the ball is going to land because jumping over seats is a time-consuming process where as bleachers are very easy to jump over and allow a person to start running laterally right away and adjust to the distance of the ball once they get in line with it. The latter made me want to be in Left Field because there are certain guys in the league that give out twenty thousand balls a batting practice and Chris Perez is one of them. This batting practice he tossed up any ball that he fielded within ten feet of the wall. Most players mope around and want to do the least amount of exercise possible in batting practice but he played every ball like he was an outfielder in the seventh game of the World Series and how quickly he got the ball would decide if his team won or not.

Anyway, the latter proved to be a quicker source of a baseball as Perez threw me a ball within the first two minutes I was in Left Field:

I then changed into a different outfit from my standard Indians gear to see if I could get Perez to actually throw me another because as I said he was throwing ball after ball into the crowd. This is what I came up with:

That would be my standard Indians bp hat (bought in Cooperstown), Mets give away sunglasses, and a Red Sox shirt turned inside-out. I didn’t get anything else from Perez as he didn’t field any balls close to me but I did get other players to throw me balls. Unfortunately, I was under-thrown on both occasions. The first is pictured in this diagram:

The guy who threw it to me is under the right-most arrow and the two connected arrows show the arc of the ball. It was headed right in my direction but it was severely under-thrown and landed in the first row where the kid in the White Sox jersey picked it up (and yes I am 95% sure that the ball was intended for me and not the kid as he only looked back to us when I called out to him). I am not completely sure but I think the armless pitcher was Chad Durbin. I do know, however. The person was in fact a player and not a coach that threw the ball as much as it might look like a coach in that last picture. The next ball was closer to straight away Left Field and was almost the same exact scenario except for the fact that the ball was closer to me but I was standing on the bleacher and so it took me longer to get down and that’s when I lost it.

Then next ball I actually did get was a hit ball:

Don’t be fooled, I was not as lucky as it may seem with the crazy series of ricochets show here. Keep in mind that I was tracking this ball so I was moving back and forth with each bounce. I gave this away to a father with what looked to be a one year old. I was planning to spend the game wherever Rick Crowe was sitting but it turns out he only attends the batting practices and no the games so I played Home Run balls out in Right Field.

As for the game, it was a 14 inning affair but I only staid for 12 innings. I would have staid longer but my means for getting back to shelter wanted to go home in the 12th. Speaking of which, here they are:

1. Mike- My uncle that treated us to this game on the field level and currently (in the picture) trying to walk without pain from an injury sustained during the t-shirt toss when an over-exuberant knocked over both he and my mother (should have stayed with me closer to the field). Wait, who’s my mother?

2. Andrea- my mother who wanted to come to this game but yet not stay for the duration of it.

We weren’t the only ones who left early so we had constant updates on the train from other on their smart phones.

STATS:

  • 2 balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave one away)
numbers 195-196 for my career:
  • 135 balls in 36 games = 3.75 balls per game
  • 2 balls * 29,700 fans= 59,400 competition factor
  • Time at game 4:59-11:14= 6 hours 15 minutes

6/24/11 Indians at Giants: AT&T Park

Like Nationals Park this was technically not my first time here but it was my first time really ballhawking as last year I came here on a Sunday and there was no batting practice:

I still managed to get a ball on an overthrow by Mike Adams but it didn’t feel like ballhawking if you know what I mean. I apologize in advance for the lack of (relevant) pictures. I brought a photographer because I thought I would get #100 who wasn’t necessarily into baseball and as a result didn’t photography…but hey here’s a picture of the Willie McCovey statue:

While waiting in line, I realized just how gargantuan it was and how many of them looked like regulars. I would have a picture for you if I was by myself but…

As soon as I got in I raced to the right field seats just as Segio Romo. I actually talked to him extensively  when we stayed in the same schmancy hotel in Milwaukee. I don’t think he recognized me but I still gave him a shout  and he nodded as if he were about to turn around and toss me his ball but he turned around and chucked his ball to the inner outfield. He then later went onto do his running:

and later went into the dugout without ever granting my request.

Without digressing too much, that gargantuan line I was talking about earlier. Yeah it turned into a gargantuan crowd pretty quickly:

I am the one in the white hat and black shirt closest to longish gate closest to the camera. I was in the bleachers themselves for a while but am not used to them and they were close to being as crowded. I probably should have left earlier but I had my photographer  listening to his iPod and I was being so stubborn in the fact that I wanted to snag a ball with the glove trick  or  a ball from right field in general. The first quickly got shot down when the first ball rolled to the wall and as I got there I was met by a combination of about ten cup/bucket/net/water bowl/food pan tricks. There was absolutely no chance I would get a ball with my glove trick as in the time it would take me to set it up at least one other trick would swoop in. The second idea then died when the Indians pitchers started throwing on the first base foul line.

I got on my horse but moved about as fast as a student driver on a stick shift as I had to keep waiting for my photographer. Eventually though, I did get around the stadium in time to get Chris Perez to toss a ball to the only Indians fan in the section (me!). One down two to go in my quest for 100. Since I am working with limited pictures let me use one picture to explain multiple things:

  1. The arrow furthest to the left-pointing to Chris Perez. The player who threw me the ball.
  2. The dotted box- the emptier part of the bleachers where I should have been standing. I thought it was too far away from the plate but realized after the fact that I usually play fruther from the plate at Citi Field.
  3. The remaining arrow- where I was standing for the first however many minutes of bp.
This picture shows my path to my next ball:
I was playing in the very thin right field of AT&T. At the moment in the picture (I am the one with the red backpack) some lefty was up but because it is such a thin section I could be behind the actual seats but walk up to the front of the wall (that’s what right field basically is at AT&T) once a ball was grounded to the outfield. So I walked up to the front and tried to get Justin Masterson to throw me a ball but right in the middle of that a ball came right to me. I mean I didn’t have to move an inch to catch it.
On two unrelated notes: there was a new Indians fan in the section I had been when Chris Perez had thrown me a ball so Perez threw about five balls from a hundred feet out until the fan finally got the ball (he didn’t bring a glove and tried to catch them with his hat) and while taking a random picture of a kayaker on the bay (as in he didn’t know about Bonds’ Navy and just thought it was interesting that there were guys in kayaks in the bay) my photographer took a picture of one ballhawk that I did know of:
The arrow would be pointing to Joe Dirt a ballhawk that, as his name suggests, stays on dry land and tries to get baseballs by throwing out a fishing line at them with a net at the end of it. He also has a glove but the wall right in front of him prevents most Home Runs from landing on the concrete.
That was it for me in terms of snagging because the Indians lefties hit maybe three Home Runs and there was constantly a crowd of people going through the five foot wide cross aisle behind the seats and thus always moving obstacles to maneuver. So Boo-Hoo no 100 today.
While righties were up I actually ran into a ballhawk from The Baseball‘s top 10 ballhawks, which (ahem!) I wrote a review for, Lee Wilson. If you want to read the section on him in the book, it is on page 285. If you don’t have the book, buy it. It is less than $10 and has something for any baseball fan. Not a baseball fan? Why are you reading a baseball blog?!
Anyway, batting practice ended and I made my way back to the group that came for the game (later on in the day of course):
  1. Andres-My step-brother and (semi)photographer for the day.
  2. Rusty- my mom’s high school soccer coach who actually got this group of four’s tickets he didn’t have a fifth so I went on Stubhub.
  3. Andy- my mom who’s actual name is Andrea but the nickname is one she would like to leave in the past so of course I have to use it. Oh and while we’re at it Andres’ family nickname is Pipe (pronounced Pee-peh).
  4. Fabio- my step-father who conveniently did not hear me at the moment as he was playing with his camera (which he did not trust Pipe with).
There were however, many great pictures that he took throughout the game. For example:
I mean they’re just regular pictures but I do know understand why professional grade cameras are so important here are my/Fabio’s best pictures of Brain Wilson side-by-side:
I mean I know it would kill my WordPress storage space but still I can see in Fabio’s picture that Wilson is holding a cutter. In my picture….I might not have been able to recognize him had it not been for the beard.
The line-ups were mostly lefty so I alternated between the standing room in right field and the group’s seats depending on the type of hitter that was up, i.e. in foul ground for Andres Torres (who actually did hit a Home Run, ugh) and in right field for Aubrey Huff. While in right field I talked with Lee Wilson on a variety of subjects not necessarily baseball. Fun. Not much Home Run action going on but Jonathan Sanchez did take a beating in the first few innings as he was out soon after hitting (and putting out for 8+ weeks) Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth inning. They eventually won on two sac flies after they had loaded the bases. They then brought in Brain Wilson to the tune of Jump Around. Not the most ominous or impending entry song as I have gone to my fair share of Yankee games but it certainly got people on their seats and… well jumping.
STATS:
  • 2 Balls at this game
Numbers 98 and 99 on the career. Number 100 will indeed be in Tampa (at least hopefully) because I am just too busy with stuff of all sorts to go to a Yankee game
  • 38 balls in 14 games= 2.71 Balls Per Game
  • 39 straight games with at least one ball
  • 2 straight at AT&T Park
  • 2 Balls*41,690 fans= 83,380 Competition Factor
  • Time at Game 4:25-10:36= 6 hours 9 minutes

Cleveland Indians Offseason Recap and Preview

Yeah, remember how in the recap of the Tiger’s offseason, I said it’s bad if you’re remembered for a failure rather than your successes. Well, does anyone remember the Indians for anything else than failing at failure:

060310-official-scorekeeperjpg-474b495b16df1fac_large.jpg

I mean really, can anyone think of anything else ’cause I’ve got nothing. I would say that this is a bit worse, than being know as the Tigers are that is. At least the Tigers got a great deal of good publicity but the Indians: Lost the game, almost got a perfect game thrown against them, messed up a perfect game by running a ball out, forever a side note, and still best know in 2010 for this error.

 

Grade: C

 

Notable Additions:

Austin Kearns, and Adam Everett.

 

Notablr Subtractions:

nothing-special-jan-2009.jpg

I tried looking up all the names of the player they had lost and saw nothing special about any in the group. Can’t lose what you never had. Except for obviously, Carlos Santana to injury.

 

Why?:  They didn’t lose anything but didn’t gain anything. Had they made their improvements and subtractions with bigger names I probably would have given them a better grade just because bigger names fire up the fan base more, but the Indians don’t have the capital to accomplish this. If any doubt that the Indians lost no notable players, here are the names Drew Sutton, RJ Swindle, Winston Abreu, Luis Rodriguez, Chris Gimenez, Andy Marte, Wyatt Toregas. If you see any please tell me.

 

I like that they added two good players in Kearns and Everett, which is why I didn’t give them a C-. Overall, not much to report on this front. They do look to develop with the forever anticipated and maybe only fantasized day that Travis Hafner returns to his former greatness as the second best DH in the game (this was when David Ortiz was hitting 40 HRs) and Carlos Santana develops into an above average catcher (he may be now but we haven’t seen it because of the previously mentioned injury).

 

Predicted Record Range: 73-78 wins. This is again the mean for the possible scenarios that develop with Santana, Hafner etc. This means the range could go to 75-80 if everything goes right or they could actually lose more games because of their lack of improvements and the much improved AL Central.

 

Next up: Kansas City Royals

 

Again, well see when it comes to today’s double header at Fordham. One thing to look forward to (for some people, I get that not all of you like Spring Training much less High School Baseball) is that these following entries *WILL* have pictures! So no more pictures showing how awesome are field is:

houlihan.jpg 

but look at it. This is college level field where I have my own luxury suite (more on that in the entry). Where was I going with this point again? Oh… yeah, the following entries will be much more extensive and more visually appealing than there outdated counterparts.

Detroit Tigers Offseason Recap and Preview

Any time your team is most remembered for a failure than its successes. It’s not good:
1279161641.jpg
 

Grade: B+

Notable Additions:
boston-red-sox-victor-martinez-1.jpg

Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit, and Brad Penny.

Notable Subtractions:
Armando-Galarraga.jpg

Armando Galarraga, Zack Miner, Adam Everett, and Gerald Laird.

Why?: Although they did make some improvements, they did so in a way that managed to anger the other 29 teams for what may be years to come.  Now, I’m not saying that it wasn’t inevitable but whoever gave the first big multi year deal to a middle reliever was going to be hated. It just so happens that the Tigers made that move. From now on, acquiring and developing middle relief talent will be changed forever in that it is now a more valuable asset.

The losses, although insignificant in talent could come back to bite the Tigers if they keep the injury bug with them in 2011. Although they upgraded the spot of fourth and fifth starters with Brad Penny and Phil Coke, they sacrificed depth when they let go of Galarraga and Miner. Now if any starter goes down (and who ever heard of a rotation going through the season completely healthy) they will have to turn to Mr. AAA instead of a proven starter like Galarraga. This might cost them just enough spots to be edged out by one of the other strong teams in the Central.

Also, they did get rid of defensive depth in Laird but took care of that by getting Omir Santos. Everett on the other hand, should have been kept. I know the Tigers like to think optimistically but when was the last time he played 120+ games. I’ve got the answer, 2007. Again, I like Everett significantly better than a AAA shotstop or second baseman or even Ramon Santiago.

Predicted Record Range: 84-89 They made some significant additions and are getting players back but the Tigers’ players do tend to ebb and flow (Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera). Will they finally all have good seasons at the same time? If so, this team has enough talent to win the division but the mean of the ebb and flow is the predicted range.

Next Up: Cleveland Indians

Tomorrow is a double header for Fordham. So the data from this game might back me up over part of the weekend. I will get the first entry by end of Saturday but make no promises about the second. I will try and get the player bios on the roster entry as soon as I can but baseball season can be hectic. We’ll see.

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