Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's MAILTIME! The POJO Mailbag...

I have gotten a boatload of interesting mail over the past couple of weeks, and it's time to share the wealth with a few of the best. Let's stop wasting time, and get on with it.
Dear POJO,

David Dellucci? THIS is the guy that's going to bring your Indians to the promised land. You have got to be kidding me. Next thing you know, they are going to sign Biff Pocaroba and Oddibe "Young Again" McDowell. How can you think this is a sign of good things to come for the Indians?--Steve, West Lafayette
Dear Steve--Why is Dellucci good for the Tribe? Are you serious? Imagine the potential when he comes up to bat. Close your eyes for a moment. Dellucci walks up to the plate...the crowd is silent...piping over the loudspeakers..."Delloooch...Dellooooch...will you do the fandango...thunderbolts and lightning...very, very! Now, the only thing we need to do is sign Franz Galileo to platoon with Dellucci...
I have to admit, the thought of having a Delloooch/Galileo platoon would be outstanding. Imagine the potential during rain delays, or the Fourth of July. Cleveland could hire Queen as, I don't know, the house band. Have Delooch and Galileo grow their hair out a bit. Set them out by the Feller statue before games with a bucket. My bet? The Queen/Delloooch/Galileo combination would surely raise enough money by year's end to sign a player that can play every day. Now, if only there were a player actually named Galileo.
Dear POJO,

What a freakin' OSU homer you are. You and I both know that the only reason that OSU won the game against Michigan was because of the bogus helmet to helmet hit on Troy Smith. You really don't think Smith got hit with a 15 yard helmet to helmet do you? Pray to your devil, or whatever it is that OSU has made a deal with, that Michigan doesn't get a second chance. If we do, on an actual field (you OSU homers know that Michigan wins easy on a field with good turf), Michigan wins going away. BeauKnowsFootball--Ann Arbor, Mich
Dear BeauKnowsFootball--I just wanted to let you know that I get it. I do want to give you some other ways that Michigan would have won the game. 1. Had Michigan scored more points. It is the general consensus that when you DO score more points than the other team, you win. Michigan scored 39, which wasn't quite enough. Even chicks that say the score, Michigan 39, OSU 42, it still doesn't change the fact OSU scored more points. 2. Play on a separate field as the other team when the field sucks. If this could have happened, IE, Michigan play at, say, Ann Arbor, while OSU was still at the 'Shoe, Michigan would have had much better footing, whereas Ohio State would have been slipping and sliding around on the crud turf. As it stands, BOTH teams had to play on the same field, unfortunate for Michigan. 3. Had Troy Smith not worn a helmet. THEN, your statement would have been true. Hit would have been a helmet to head hit, and more than likely would have severely injured Smith, which is ultimately would have won the game for Michigan. No penalty, and Smith not playing. I hope this helps you Beau. I always like to show you the reality of the situation. REALITY! Get some. And by the way, who the hell is Beau anyways?
I seriously never thought I'd say this, but ROSE BOWL...bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Enjoy the parade.
Dear POJO,

Ohio State is the most overrated football team, maybe of all time. Talk about an East Coast bias. If last year's USC team would play THIS year's Ohio State team, it would be a blowout! Matt Leinart would knock up OSU's secondary for 300 yards, and Reggie Bush would make a day of it, taking it to the house 3 or 4 times against the crap defense. What do you have to say about that?OJ Trojan--Southern California
Dear OJ--USC was fantastic last year, so I decided to run a few computer simulations on the potential game. I used the ever popular NCAA 2007 Hood edition. All simulations ran basically the same. USC was fairly dominant, as they were last year. The only difference that I can see as the simulation is being run is that Reggie Bush has "I Got Bush" on the back of his jersey instead of Bush, and Leinart plays with his pants down to his knees, and Paris Hilton running after him. OSU does the same, only this time, beats Texas when Vince Young declares for the CFL after week 1. Good news, he's currently leading the Hamilton Ti-Cats to the vaunted Grey Cup. He has 2,897 yards rushing, and 7,012 yards passing in week 4 (Hood Edition uses Techmo-Bowl for inter-game simulations). OSU then beats Penn State when Joe Paterno, now playing wideout for the Nittany Lions, blows out both of his knees in the huddle. He continues to play, and falls short, at the 1 yard line, down by six, with the gun sounding on the fourth quarter, when his bionic implants give out. OSU then bitchslaps Michigan by 30. The great aspect of 'Hood Editon,' is that it simulates the potential off-field incidents as well. And, unfortunately, the simulation at this point agrees with your assessment almost to the word...OJ. Leinart does some knocking up, only this time, it's Brady Quinn's sister. Leinart is knocked out of the game on their first offensive play of the game when AJ Hawk literally takes his head off on a weak side blitz. John Wilkes Harvey David Booty enters the game, and actually plays well, throwing off the Buckeye D when the USC line starts rapping to rumpshaker, while Booty, shaking his ass, has the game of his life...throwing for 398 yards and 5 interceptions. We also find out that Bush HAS been taking it to the know...the house his boosters paid for. He's declared ineligible for the game, but shows up with some bad ass bling. You see, the Hamilton Ti-Cats have signed him to a new deal to line up with Vince Young (Bush's first game? 1,012 yards rushing and only 131 receiving to go along with Young's 912 yards passing going 31 for 31). The Ti-Cats just beat up on the Argonauts, 112-0. Anyways, OSU wins the game going away, but not without controversy. Maurice Clarett runs out on the field during the third quarter carrying a bat, a 9MM, a sniper's rifle and a cachet of grenades. As he's arrested and taken off the field, he's heard saying something about being a patsy. John David Booty noticably flinches.

So you see OJ, you have to be realistic here. OSU is MUCH better than last year's USC Trojans.

...and sorry to hear about your tv show and your book, but good news! You can write your fantasy book on how USC would have won the national title THIS YEAR, and what you would have done to make it happen...
Once again, as always, thanks to the fans of the DOJO that sent the wonderful e-mails. To those few that I left out tonight, I apologize. But don't worry, I won't leave you out next week...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tribe Offseason: David Dellucci to play left field

The New Tribe Left FielderKen Rosenthal first announced this a few hours ago on, and I just confirmed it at both The Diatribe (no doubt the best Tribe Blog on the Net) and at The Indians' website. David Dellucci has signed a 3 year, 11.5 million dollar deal to troll 'Joey-Land.'

So, what does this mean?

The Diatribe reports that the potential is there for a Michaels/Dellucci platoon, which seems to be the obvious take given Dellucci's penchant for hitting right handers. However, Joe Longo, Dellucci's agent stated
"The key factor there was his role. They've given him the left fielder's job. He also felt he wanted to be in a lineup that had a chance to win. He wanted to come back to the American League. That was the best fit."
Hmmmm...interesting comments. It could mean that Longo is selling his guy as the starter, or it could be a true statement. I lean towards the latter since I don't think Longo would set Dellucci up like that the day of his signing (of course...he is an agent). There's also a whole lot of time between now, and the regular season. There's plenty of time for the Tribe to make sure Michaels in the mix.

My belief here, however, is that Michaels may be on the block now as part of a bigger deal. I'm not going to speculate on who, since I was speculating about Carl Crawford earlier tonight on my wishlist, which is obviously now not going to happen (right field anyone?) now. That being said, I could see Michaels being part of a deal with someone like Ryan Garko to acquire a major player to close. Of course, Michaels isn't exactly a major piece of trade bait, in any year but this year.

Scot Shields?Mike Gonzalez?

I wouldn't mind seeing Scot Shields, or Mike Gonzalez wearing the Tribe colors this year, and would certainly give up Garko to get someone of their quality at this stage of the game. Both, in my humble opinion, would be "lock" players to deal for, unlike the other relievers that are being bantered about in deals or free agent signings. You can give Garko up for those types of players.

Of course, General manager Mark Shapiro told today something that could throw this all into the tank...
The team had gained "momentum" on talks with several free agents and that this could be an active week for the team.
"Several Free Agents?" And we aren't to the Winter Meetings yet.

So I ask you all? Is it exciting yet? Barfield and Dellucci to start with, and you really get a sense that we are just at the beginning of 2 or 3 MORE moves to shore up this team. Hold onto your seats Tribe fan, it could be the beginning of a bountiful offseason. Now if we could just make the regular season as exciting.

What Dellucci brings to the team:

At 3 years, and 11.5 million, Dellucci brings a solid left handed bat to the lineup at a pretty big bargain. Over the past three years, he's hit 59 dingers and 165 RBIs. He has a lifetime .263 average, but batted .292 last year. His numbers last year are tricky. He did play in 132 games last year, but only had 264 at bats, down nearly 200 from the year before, when he hit 29 dingers and had 65 RBIs. He does strike out a lot, and certainly cleans up a bit on RHP. 81 of his 85 total Home Runs have come against RHP, and his average jumps up to .271. He's played in 5 games at Jacobs field, with 21 at bats, and has hit .286 with 2 dingers and 5 RBI. Nothing major there, but he CAN hit at the Jake. He's been a platooner his whole career, and it just seems like a natural thing for him to do this year, with Michaels.

What does he bring outside of the stats? He's always been a positive clubhouse presence, and is that Brian Giles kind of guy, always has a dirty uniform, and plays with a bit of abandon. A very good signing for Cleveland. There team got a bit better today.

One Final Note today:

Longtime Cleveland announcer Casey Coleman died today after his year-long battle with cancer. Coleman was a part of my household, like most of us Cleveland fans, every night, bringing us the sports on channel 8. In many ways, he's a legend in Cleveland broadcasting. He was good humored, and always seemed to make the close calls seem a little less bad than they really were. It's funny, but as I'm writing this, a ton of memories of his sportscasts are flying through my head, long since forgotten, but never really to far from visibility. Cleveland lost one of its own today. ANY time that happens, you have to stop and pay your respects. He was one of the good guys, no matter your opinion. Cleveland Sports is certainly a better place for having you, and will truly never really be the same.

"We're Rounding Third, and Heading for Home........"

Tribe Offseason: The Calm Before the Storm, or...

The Nothing before the Nothing.

I think The Diatribe makes some fantastic points about keeping your core intact. The Tribe does have one of those core groups that are remarkably similar to the core that the Indians had in the early 90's. The marked difference is that this group of Tribe starters is much better (and needs to stay put), and there isn't as much power as the Thome/Belle with bit parts by Sorrento, Ramirez (ultimately a stalwart) and Murray. What Hart was able to do 13 years ago was to sign some players that could bridge the gap, and make the Indians more viable in the clubhouse, and on the field to win titles. Cleveland obviously needs a better bullpen. It absolutely COULD come from the minors, although you would love to have experience in there. What you DON'T want, is good experience at a premium price. What you DON'T want is to deal away your prime prospects.

However, the opposite side of the coin comes from Guy Conti, a baseball lifer, and former scout and coach for everyone under the sun, and current Met Bullpen coach. I worked a baseball camp for Conti for several years in the mid-80's when he was with the Pirates, and then as a Roving Instructor for the Dodgers. We were talking about some clubs, and he said something like,
I develop and search for talent. It's my job. To many times, people get to caught up in my job, and not what they are doing currently. How many times do you think a team missed a window of opportunity because they were always searching for the future, and not for the present. If you think you can win the World Series, or close to it, you deal away those prospects, period. It makes my job harder, but so what. The whole point is to win the damn series.
Are we there yet? Are we the Tigers? I keep thinking about the talk by EVERYONE about trading for Bullpen help, and I keep thinking about the Reds last year. You remember when Kearns and Lopez went for 2 relievers. Then they continued acquiring relief help with Guardado, and several other moves. Did they make the playoffs?

Bottom line is that chasing after bullpen help is risky, and you don't deal away top prospects for it. You mix and match, and if you are lucky, you get the bullpen from 2005. Nobody expected THAT bullpen, so why do we all the sudden expect it AGAIN, by trading prospects?

If you deal prospects, you deal them for sure things, for superstars, for players that will make the difference. Work the bullpen from within. Continue picking players up through the year. Tinker, keep your starters healthy, and make sure you have a solid closer.

If they deal directly for a relief pitcher with someone like Garko, or Miller, they are making an investment in garbage...period.

I have no problem with going after Carl Crawford, and paying to much for him. No, I don't want to do what the Red Sox did, and deal away a rookie of the year, a no hitter and other quality for Josh Beckett. But I would give away a top hitter (Crowe) and a top young pitcher to put Crawford in left field. The key, of course, would be health...and if the brass can figure out the bullpen.

I'm okay with dealing away prospects, as long as you answer questions, and put people in play that make your team better.

Will the Tribe do that, or will the Tribe spend to much for freakin' bullpen help that may or may not help.

Time will tell.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cleveland INDIANS Summer continues

Mr. Clear, wait, what is that again?  Flaxseed oil?  Baby lotion?  KY Jelly?  NICE!What are the implications of Gary Sheffield being traded to the Tigers? The first thoughts are how good they are going to be with that bat. Then you remember that Sheff is going to be 38 years old, had injury issues last year, isn't the best clubhouse guy (I don't CARE what kind of spin is given on Sheff) and is probably a year away from complaining about the new 2 year extension he signed. He is a tremendous offensive player, however, and in the DH role, he could really make things tough for the Tribe this year.

This does, however, mean that the Tigers are off the board for the guy that I hope Cleveland gets: Carlos Lee.

The Yankees also acquired three very good young relievers in right-handers Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett. Of course...if they don't play this year, they'll more than likely get dealt for other parts next July.

ouch, I just pulled my... The more intriguing decision to me is that of J.D. Drew. Drew would have made 11 million a year over the last three years of that deal. It does beg the question, "What the hell are you thinking?" Drew will not command that kind of money on the free agent market, IMO. He must really hate L.A. Anyways, The LA Times immediately mentioned Cleveland as a potential suitor for the much-injured 30 year old. He would certainly be an intriguing player, as he can play a multitude of positions, including all three outfield positions, as well as 1B. He does, however, have a long history of getting hurt.

Bye NomahWhat are the implications for Cleveland? Yes, it does put another quality outfielder in the free agent market, but certainly not one that is worth the 55-60 million dollars over 5 years that he's most definately going to be asking for. It also opens up 11 million dollars for the Dodgers, which could mean that Nomar is off the block. Either that, or Carlos Lee has a new suitor. Either way, it certainly has complicated the life of Mark Shapiro...and us Indians fans.

Welcome to the YankeeSoxIt appears as though the Boston Red Sox have earned the right to attempt to sign Japanese star, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Get this, Boston has been rumored to have given the Seibu Lions up to 38-45 million dollars. Now, that money gives you the opportunity to try and sign a player. They aren't even guaranteed of a deal. I pretty much knew this for the past few years, but the Red Sox are just another version of the freakin' Yankees. Just a couple of days ago, most teams were talking about how this guy would get a bid between 10-15 million from the low market teams, with the Yankees driving up the price to perhaps 20 million. Texas was rumored to have thought they had the inside track. They had offered up 22 million (thinking they would sneak past the top offers of the Yankees and YankeeSox), with the intention of signing him to a 5 year, 50 million dollar deal. Who would have thought that the YankeeSox would outbid them, by perhaps 20 million dollars. What a joke.

So what have we learned?

1. Detroit may have improved, or may have mortgaged away any semblence of order that they had (this is when I predict Detroit fan to start screaming about Leyland having worked with Sheff before).

2. LA May or may not sign Nomar, Carlos, both, or Aramiz Ramirez, who hasn't been talked about.

3. JD Drew may be in an Indians uniform this coming year, although it would more than likely be in a hospital.

4. The Boston YankeeSox are just a bunch of Yankee wanna bes, and doing a good job of it.

5. This is fun again, isn't it?

6. Could Carl Crawford be the surprise that Shapiro alluded too?

On a side note, happy Veteran's day to all those that have served that read the DOJO. Thanks for keeping this country safe.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Tribe Offseason: First Barfield, THEN THE WORLD!?

Daisuke MatsuzakaYesterday was a good day to be a Cleveland Indians fan. Yesterday was a damn good day. Josh Barfield just opened the door for the Tribe to get a whole lot better. Not only will HE improve the team, but as I said yesterday, he's about 2 million dollars more inexpensive than their least expensive alternative. This will be used to improve other facets of the team.

One of the best parts of this news is the two-fold screw job put on by the Indians. K2 was definately one of the keys to getting Sheffield from the Yankees. The fact that the Yanks wanted him, and didn't get him, makes me damn near giddy. The Indians also used the fact that the Yankees wanted him as a way to get the 2B that they wanted. Whereas Cleveland has a couple of answers at 3B (since K2 wasn't even assured of starting on the big club), San Diego has nothing in their 2B closet. Look for the Padres to be forced to deal for Marcus Giles, to unite the Giles' brothers.

Mr. Hamm to the Tribe?So now, the roller coaster begins. Nomar Garciaparra is once again on the radar, as he was this time last year. Nomah is a damn fine player when he's healthy. That being said, I do have issues with Nomar. He's not exceptionally old at 33, and he had a fantastic year for the Dodgers for sure. He also played in only 120 games last year, the most games he's played in the past 5 years. Not a great track record for a guy who's going to command 8 to 9 million dollars, and who longs for the west coast. If this guy wasn't so fragile, I'd be knocking on his door right now for a contract.

The Indians probably surprised a bunch of teams when they put in a bid for highly sought after Japanese pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka. The assumption was that Cleveland couldn't compete in the market for this Japanese superstar. Either most people were wrong, or the Indians are trying to drive up the price for someone else, which I think is likely. Still, This kid is an ace, and could really make the Indians staff something special. Perhaps their offer improved when they signed Barfield, since the Tribe figured to be ready to make a bid for third baseman Akinori Iwamura, who they were planning on moving to 2nd base. Either way, click that link in this paragraph, as the Indians are starting to make a dent in their Far East scouting.

Lying in the shadowsThen, of course, there are all the rumblings about Buck Showalter joining the Indians as an "advisor". Of course, Shapiro and Dolan both immediately stated that this move wouldn't in any way effect Eric Wedge, and that Showalter would lead the Indians in their Spring Training move from Winter Haven to Arizona. They were also quick to announce that Wedge, himself, wanted him in the organization. I'm not a Showalter fan, so I question this move IF they really signed him as a potential Wedge succesor.

Cleveland's on the move right now. Let's just hope that it's not a one-shot deal...

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Tribe Offseason: Tribe nabs 2B Josh Barfield

Josh Barfield joins the IndiansThe Tribe traded for 2B Josh Barfield, from the San Diego Padres. To get the promising 2nd Baseman, Cleveland dealt 3B prospect, and Lou Boudreau Award winner (as the top Minor League position player in the Tribe organization)Kevin Kouzmanoff and Reliever Andrew Brown.

So what does this mean?

The first thing that strikes me is that Cleveland was proactive. They didn't wait, as has been their stamp over the past few years. Wait until there's nobody avaiable. The other thing that immediately hit me was that Shapiro really worked under the radar for this deal. In all my research of potential second baseman the Tribe was looking at, Barfield's name never came up. This opens up the door on a lot of things to come that we may not be privy to. Another good sign. You can safely assume that Cleveland isn't done making moves, and my bet is that we are looking at some names we haven't been bantering around. Shapiro said as much when he threw out one of those hints that just plain make you giddy.
"there may be some surprises along the way with some of the other things we do this offseason."
I'll get to a couple of my thoughts in a bit.

As for Barfield, I can't say enough about him. Josh, former Blue Jay All-Star Jesse Barfield's son, had a fantastic rookie campaign last year in the vastness of PETCO field. Josh is a right-handed batter, and should fit in well at the top of the Indians order, fitting in nicely between some lefty bats. He hit .280 with 13 homers, and 58 RBI, in one of the most cavernous stadiums in the majors. The bonus is that at PETCO, Barfield only batted .241. On the road? Try .319. This kid has some pop, and most certainly would have been closer to .300 last year had he played in a better stadium, like, say, Jacobs Field. He has good speed, stealing 21 bases in 26 attempts. He does strike out a bit to much, but he was a rookie. I see that improving. Many fear a bit of a sophomore slump, but not me. He's going to enjoy a bit of that rookie "newness" in the American League, where most of the pitchers won't have a "book" on him yet. Nothing but a plus. He certainly has the pedigree, as he was the Padres Minor League player of the year in both 2004 and 2005, and of course, is the son of a better than servicable major leaguer in Jesse. Defensively, Barfield is a good fielder, with a .987 fielding percentage (only 9 errors) which finished 3rd among NL 2nd basemen. Cleveland has acquired a top 10 2B in the league right now, and he will do nothing but get better.

In Kevin Kouzmanoff, the Indians have given up one of their best young prospects, and their minor league player of the year. The only issue with K2 this year was where he was going to play. He's a natural 3B, but Andy Marte is penned in, and with Casey Blake, Ryan Garko and Victor Martinez sharing 1b, he was locked out of a regular roster slot. He is a quick riser, and should be a good player for a very, very long time. Most figured,including me, that K2 would be part of a deal for a closer, reliever or a power outfielder. Some may even thing that K2 was "wasted" in this deal, thinking they could get more veteran leadership or quality. I'm not one of those. In my opinion, the Tribe gambled their minor league player of the year, for a former 2-time minor league player of the year with the Pads, with 1 year of experience (and a ROY candidate) in the bigs already. In doing so, the Indians DIDN'T give up a regular, every day player, and received a player that has been considered a lock to be a star in this league. He proved to be on the right curve last year.

Andrew Brown was more or less a throw in in the deal. He was the infamous player to be named later in the Milton Bradley deal with the Dodgers a couple of years ago. He was also out of options. As good as he may be down the line, he didn't figure into the Tribe's plans. He was a bit of sugar on the deal to ensure it would happen.

This makes the Indians pretty damn young. Their infield at times, with Garko (25), Peralta (24), Barfield (23) and Marte (23), won't field a player over 25. This is exciting for the future, if not a bit scary for the here and now. But it will be a good infield if Peralta wakes up. It will be a very good infield if these guys develop as quickly as most think.

So to the people that think the Tribe's cupboard is bare for a trade now that K2 is gone, well, you may be right. The thing is, however, that the Indians didn't have to pay to get a quality 2nd baseman. The money is still there to snag a player or two in the free agent pool. And I think they have their eye on a couple of players that will pay HUGE dividends next year.

My personal preferences? 2 guys. One who you will agree with, and another that you'll probably be left scratching your head about.

I firmly believe that the Indians will be a player in trying to acquire Carlos Lee. I absolutely love Lee. Here's a guy that hit .300 last year, with 37 dingers and 116 rbi's. Here's a guy who stole 20 bases last year (yeah, he really did). Here's a guy who is good in the clubhouse, and doesn't strike out a whole lot. A power hitter with less than 80 K's in over 600 at bats. He will command a big payday, but the Indians can afford it...if they REALLY want to win. You would be looking at 11-12 million a year. It's time to spend the cash.

The closer I want should come cheap. He's a high risk, high reward guy, but a guy that should come cheap. I'm talking about Scott Williamson. Yes, the Scott Williamson that came with a 5+ ERA last year, and hasn't been very good since his Tommy John surgery. I think he's ready to step back into a closer role. Of course, he's done nothing to show it over the past couple of years. But just maybe, his arm isn't 100% over the past 2 years because of the surgery. Just maybe, he's just now starting to feel 100%. Just maybe, we can get our closer for a small amount. Who knows at this point.

My point here is that we have our second baseman. Carlos Lee makes our offense as good as their is in baseball. A gamble LIKE Scott Williamson or someone as cheap, could shore up the closer position.

A gamble like that could make the Indians the team to beat next year.

Papa Cass has some good coverage of the deal. I'm not sure we agree 100%, but something tells me we will by the end of all the moves.

Tony Lastoria seems to be thinking many of the same things I am however. This, of course, makes me doubt Tony's good judgment a whole lot. Just kidding Tony, I think...

Wait 'til Next Year, Again brings their typical positive light on the subject of the deal. I love the blog, but it is increasingly painful to have fellow Cleveland fans fall into the pantheon of people that almost root for the worst. That being said, I love that blog.

The Diatribe is darn right spot on as always. The bottom line here is that this is the best damned Tribe blog on the internet.

If you want more scoop...CLICK THE DAMN LINKS!

This is freakin' awesome news Tribe fans, and I'm telling you right now, Barfield is going to be a star. Just wait and see. I can tell you this. I sure don't want to be the pitcher that has to face Sizemore, Barfield, Pronk, VMart and hopefully, Carlos Lee.

Wow, I can almost smell the Wor...

NO...not going there yet.

Til Next Time Tribe fans.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

The History of America's Pastime--1901-1902

The Great Honus WagnerMy first entry into the history of the game, and I'm going to focus on the game starting in 1901 for 2 reasons.

1. Well, it's the turn of a new century,


2. It's when the American League announced to the world that they weren't a minor league any more buy purchasing a slew of national league players.

No, there would be no world series that year, as the National League refused to play the winner of the American League. But, it's the first time there was a league that was competing financially with the Nationals, and not going under.

Well, let's make it 3 reasons...the American League Cleveland franchise started this year...and the beginning of a lot of pain.


Jack ChesbroIn 1901, The Brooklyn Superbas had come off of 2 straight pennants. Unfortunately for the Superbas, they had lost several players to the upstart American League. They would drop to third place in the league. The Pirates hadn't lost any player of consequence, and with the great Honus Wagner moving to Shortstop, the Pirates ran away with the Pennant. Jack Chesbro and Deacon Phillippe led the pitchers with 21 and 22 wins respectively, and Jesse Tannehill was their #3 and came in with 18 wins. The Pirates won 90 games that year, and finished the year with a 7 game lead over the Philadephia Phillies.

The AL burst onto the scene with 8 teams: The Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Blues, Washington Senators, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia A's, Detroit Tigers, Boston Americans and the Chicago White Stockings. The Americans seemed to have the pennant wrapped up with starter Cy Young winning 33 games and player/manager Jimmy Collins (both stolen from the NL). The White Sox, led by owner Charlie Comiskey, raided the Cubs for starter Clark Griffith. They also won the most games, with 83, and won the leagues' first pennant by four games over Boston.

Without a doubt though, the star of both leagues was Napoleon Lajoie, and it wasn't even close. Nap was a star for the Phillies prior to 1901, until he signed a major deal for the A's, which many thought was illegal. He would go on to win the triple crown, batting .422, with 14 dingers and 125 RBIs. He also led the league in doubles, hits, OBP, Runs, Slugging and triples.

The first AL game was a loss by the Cleveland Blues, 8-2 to the Chicago White Stockings.

Connie Mack took over the manager's of the Phillies this year. He wouldn't leave the job until 1951.

The modern infield-fly rule became fact.

Nap Lajoie was the first player intentially walked with the bases loaded...EVER...

Honus Wagner stole home twice in a game...and it was the first time that had happened in a league game.

The Cleveland Blues (Bluebirds) finished 7th, 29 games out of first with a record of 54 wins and 82 losses. Not a strong beginning for the future Tribe...


In 1902, the Pirates dominated the league, setting a major league record with 103 wins. In the final game of the year, Cincinnati had tried to cancel the game, but Pittsburgh refused, won, and set the record. The Reds that day were seen smoking cigarettes on the field of play, to protest the Pirates playing the game. Jim Leyland would have been ecstatic. Honus Wagner was the star of the team, with offensive support from Ginger Beaumont and Tommy Leach. Jack Chesbro was again the leader on the hill.

The AL was a little more entertaining, Connie Mack had lost his star, Nap Lajoie, to the Cleveland Indians, to help the AL keep him after the Phillies sued to get their players back. In an amazing job, however, Philadelphia still managed to win the pennant, with players such as Topsy Hartsel, Harry Davis, Socks Seybold and Dave Fultz. Rube Waddell let the Phillies on the mound, with 24 wins.

Cy Young dominated the league for Boston, going 32-11, with 41 complete games.

The Brewers folded before the start of the season, opening the door for the St. Louis Browns to enter the league.

Honus Wagner again goes off, leading the NL in runs, RBI, doubles, Slugging and steals.

John McGraw takes over the New York Giants in the NL.

The Blues changed their name to the Cleveland Bronchos (No, not the Broncos. Did any Browns' fans shudder?) finish in fifth place, 14 games behind first place with a much improved 69-67 record.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Tribe Offseason: Take Two

This should be a quick hit, although there are a bunch of juicy rumors to get to. I don't like any of them, but some of you will, that is for sure. There are some big names being rumored, in trades and free agent signings.

Adam MillerKevin KouzmanoffThe Indians named Kevin Kouzmanoff and Adam Miller as their Minor League player (Lou Boudreau Award) and pitcher (Bob Feller Award) of the years, respectively. Both deserved it, as Kouzmanoff ended his year making an impact on the big club. It should be interesting to see what happens with K2 next season, with Marte at first, and apparently Ryan Garko at first. Will he be platooned, moved to the outfield, or traded for a veteran stick, closer or starter? Miller won his second Feller award. After winning the award in 2004 at 19, his first year in the minors, Miller's "sure-thing" status took a hit with an elbow injury the following year. Miller came back this year with electric stuff, and an offspead pitch to boot. At 21, Miller could be the ace of the Indians' staff for years. The future does look bright, and these two are at the head of the class.

Eric WedgeEric Wedge was recently named to the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Wedge, a 1986 graduate of Fort Wayne Northrop, was a first-team All-American in college at Wichita State and played in the major leagues with Boston and Colorado. He became a minor-league manager in 1998 and was named manager of the Cleveland Indians prior to the 2003 season. In four seasons, his teams have compiled a 319-329 record.
Now I don't know what kind of piss poor hall of fame they have there in Indy, but you have got to be kidding me. That would be like electing hall of fame football players just because they made training camp. Well, I guess membership has its priviledges. I know it's an accomplishment to become a major league manager, but he isn't even good enough to suck. I can see his quote now, "Thank you membership for electing me for treading water as a manager. I am truly honored by your special place in your heart for mediocrity."

Trevor CroweI was rooting through some Kinston stuff, and found this about the Kinston players playing in the Arizona Fall League. Take it for what it's worth. K2 and Crowe are going off. Anything past that is icing in my opinion. I still hold the belief that if Crowe can crack this lineup as a leadoff hitter, and move Grady to the 2 or 3 slot, the Tribe will be better for it. We'll just have to wait and see.

duh, I didn't know it was steroids...moronAlright, for those of you Indian fans that live in a cave, there are a couple thousand rumors involving a few different players. Let's start where the rumors started. I'll just take them all out in one fell post. The first rumor that was circulating was that the Tribe was about to make a deal for Gary Sheffield. Now, Sheff is/was a good player. Past that, you have a guy that makes Milton Bradley look like Kirby Puckett. He will immediately demand a 3 year, 17 mill a year deal. To me, not nearly enough bang for the buck, since he's a near guarantee to spend some time on the DL. Things even got more ridiculous, as it looked like there was a 3-player deal in the works with San Diego and the Yankees. Now, I don't know who was involved, but it's believed that the Yanks were wanting Lee and Shoppach from the Tribe. Cleveland would get Sheff, and who cares who the Pads would get. To me, that deal is a freakin' mistake. There's a reason why Sheff has played for every team in the major leagues. He's just not worth the hassle...especially with the contract issues, and the potential for injury.

Luis celebrating signing a deal to damn bigAnother rumor involves Cleveland going after Luis Gonzalez, the free agent formerly from the Arizona Diamondback. Gonzo is...well...was a great ballplayer. The problem is that he's spent a good part of the past few seasons on the DL, and just isn't the same player. He wouldn't make as much as Sheffield, but isn't half the player Sheff is at this point. Of course, if you can get a good locker room guy like Gonzo, at a fraction of what he should make, then you sign the guy.

Moises Alou, doesn't his name remind you of those towlettes you used to get at KFC to wipe off your hands?Finally, it seems as though Moises Alou is on the radar as well. The Plain Dealer reported that
The newspaper also reported that the Indians have expressed an interest in free-agent outfielder Moises Alou, figuring he could complement a lineup that includes left-handed batters Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner.
Again, it all depends on the money. He's a walking injury, so you need to make sure you know what you are getting.

All in all, at least we have a watch on. I think the Indians are going to make a move. I'm just relatively certain it's not going to be a good one.