Sports From The Korndog Stand

Just another WordPress.com site

Phillies Suffer Bauer Outage

with one comment

Bauer 2

Trevor Bauer warming up before his first start at Progressive Field

When Trevor Bauer made his debut with the Cleveland Indians on April 6th against the Tampa Bay Rays he was less than stellar. In five innings he allowed three earned runs on only two hits. However, he walked seven hitters, four of which came consecutively to open the first inning. He received no run support as the Indians were shutout 6-0, earning Bauer the loss in his first start for the Tribe. He was subsequently shipped back to the Columbus Clippers for more work in the minors.

Last night the 22-year-old from UCLA was recalled to make another spot start. This time he made his Progressive Field debut against a tough Philadelphia Phillies lineup. Thanks to a good twitter friend, I had the pleasure of being in attendance for the game with a bird’s eye view of the action.

Bauer

Bauer was the textbook definition of effectively wild. Though once again he only lasted five innings, walked six hitters, and only threw his pitches for strikes at a 59 percent clip, he was able to keep the Phillies off the scoreboard and allowed the Tribe bats to support him en route to a 6-0 final score and his first victory as an Indian.

I arrived at the Jake just in time to see the long toss session I heard so much about. Trevor Bauer stretched himself all the way to the First Energy sign in right centerfield around the 375 foot mark. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway, throwing from the left field corner, needed a cutoff man to play “pickle in the middle” and complete his return throws.

Bauer long tossBauer long toss 2

Bauer flirted with danger in four of his five innings on the hill. He was rarely ahead in the count. Many of his pitches were all over the place, often times wild high. Like his first start against Tampa Bay, he was not very efficient. However, he threw strikes when he needed to.

Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a walk, but was promptly thrown out trying to take second by Yan Gomes. Michael Young struck on the following pitch. Ryan Howard, one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, struck out looking to end the first after a walk to Chase Utley.

With a runner on third in the third inning, Bauer caught Michael Young looking for his second strikeout to preserve a 1-0 lead.

The Phillies posed another scoring threat with two runners on with two outs in the fourth inning. With his pitch count rising, Bauer got himself out of the jam again, striking out Carlos Ruiz for the second time.

In Bauer’s final frame he walked the first two hitters but walked the tight rope and retired the next three hitters, leaving the game to a standing ovation.

Watching live in person, it was clear Trevor Bauer still has control issues to work out. However, most of the pitches he missed on appeared to be fastballs. His off-speed stuff was downright nasty. To counter the six walks, Bauer struck out five and allowed only one hit to a lineup that boasted four all-stars, two MVPs, and one potential future star.

Today Bauer was shipped back to Columbus, where he holds a 2.50 earned run average and 24 strikeouts compared to only six walks in 18 innings. While those numbers show that he is dominating the International League, one could make the argument after his erratic pitching in two starts for Cleveland that he still needs more seasoning. On the other side of the coin, after his effective wildness against Philadelphia, others would suggest that he stay with the Indians and take his lumps in the Majors.

This early in the season the former may be the better decision. That would allow the Indians to see exactly what they have in their current starters at the Major League level while allowing Bauer more time to gain more confidence as a whole pitcher.

The suggestion has been made that the ping ponging between the two levels may hurt the youngster’s confidence. However, Bauer is extremely intelligent and understands what the organization is trying to do.

Whatever the case may be, after watching his first start at home live in person last night, it seems once he gets his control down, Trevor Bauer’s hype as a future star could very well come to fruition and the Cleveland Indians will pay dividends.

Advertisements

Written by apokorny

May 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Another Old-Timer in the Clubhouse

leave a comment »

giambi

On February 9 the Cleveland Indians signed 42-year-old free agent slugger Jason Giambi to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Since the last few years have been seen as the twilight of his career, especially since he was nearly named the new manager of the Colorado Rockies, not many people in Cleveland expected Giambi to make the Opening Day roster.

However, Tribe manager Terry Francona is on record saying he likes Giambi’s leadership ability. As a result, the former American League Most Valuable Player is on the team to at least start the season. The question is, other than leadership, how much more production can we expect out of him?

The Cleveland Indians have a trend in my lifetime of signing or trading for stars of the past whose best days were behind them, dating back to when I was a child.

The first instance I clearly remember occurring was in 1990 when they signed 36-year-old Keith Hernandez from the New York Mets. Hernandez was a former MVP, five-time all-star, and 10-time gold glover in his career. Little did I know as a naïve seven-year old that he also suffered debilitating injuries in the years prior to when the Tribe signed him and he was a shell of his former self.

Hernandez was the primary first baseman on that team until rookie Carlos Baerga was ready to be promoted to take over third base and slide Brook Jacoby over to the other corner. Hernandez played in only 43 games for the Indians that season, hitting only .200 with one home run and eight RBIs. He retired after the season. The Indians finished 77-85.

For the next few seasons the Indians emphasized a youth movement, straying away from players past their primes like Hernandez. The next time they did this was 1994 when they signed Eddie Murray.

Like Hernandez, Murray was a star in the late 1970s and all throughout the 80s. Unlike Hernandez, however, the former Rookie of the Year and eight-time all-star was called upon to be a veteran piece to their young lineup. Instead of playing the field, Murray was the primary designated hitter. He proved he still had some gas left in his 37-year-old tank.

Murray played two and a half seasons with the Tribe, hitting .281 with 50 home runs and 203 runs batted in over 309 games as a middle of the order hitter on the Indians’ first American League champion team since 1954.

Since the lightning in a bottle captured with Murray, the Indians went on to sign other past stars that were, like Hernandez, were very forgettable.

Dave Winfield, like Murray was a former multi-time all-star and MVP candidate in the late 70s and during the 80s. In 1993 he was still a productive hitter. When the Indians picked him up two years at later age 43 his tank had run out. Winfield played only 43 games for the Indians in 1995, hitting only .191 with two homers and four RBIs. He did pick himself up one last American League championship ring as part of that World Series team before retiring at the end of the season.

The Indians went back to the senior citizens center in 1997 when they called upon 35-year-old Kevin Mitchell for an aging veteran presence on their last World Series team. On a team full of hitters in their prime, Mitchell was not needed in the lineup, as he played in only 20 games. Like Winfield, he did collect one last league championship ring before his retirement.

The next season was Cecil Fielder’s turn. Though he was only 34 at the time, he was still overweight and lost in another crowded lineup of hitters. He was clearly past his prime and stepped up to the plate in only 14 games in 1998.

The following season, in the midst of their fifth straight playoff run, the Indians traded for Harold Baines. At 40-years-old, Baines was showing he could still hit at a Major League level. With the Indians he hit .271 with 22 RBIs in 28 games and even hit .357 in four playoff games that season. However, he was granted free agency by that offseason, he went back to Baltimore, was traded to the White Sox where he began his career, and retired two years later.

In 2001 the Indians found another version of Eddie Murray in Ellis Burks. At 36-years-old, Burks could still hit a ton and as the primary designated hitter, did not need to do much else. In a little over two years with the Tribe, Burks hit for a .287 average with 66 homeruns and 193 runs batted in. However, his first year with the club was the last that they saw any success. A 3-2 loss in the division series to the Seattle Mariners that October saw the end of the dominant Cleveland Indians dynasty over the American League Central that spanned seven years. They dipped below .500 the next season for the first time since 1993 and have yet to recapture any sustained success.

Since Burks, the Cleveland Indians have not gone to the well with many trades or signings of aging, past their prime hitting stars, save for bringing back Kenny Lofton for their playoff run in 2007 and Jim Thome in 2011. In 2005 Juan Gonzalez saw one at-bat in which he strained his hamstring running out a ground ball and called it quits later in the season. But that was all.

Looking at this history, it is quite clear Jason Giambi was not called upon to provide like Eddie Murray and Ellis Burks did. Rather, he is a veteran presence in the clubhouse much like Dave Winfield, Kevin Mitchell, and Cecil Fielder. There is a potential he could produce in a part-time role like Harold Baines did at his age, but that remains to be seen. The difference is the others played for teams with proven playoff caliber lineups. While the 2013 Indians have definite potential, it is a team with much turnover. For however long Giambi is on this team, he will be a valuable mentor and player-coach type to back up Terry Francona as he leads this young team into the 2013 season.

Credit for photo: www.espn.com

Post-Super Bowl Thoughts

with one comment

super-bowl-47-pick

Most people watch the Super Bowl because they are sports fans and love football. Others watch just to see the halftime show or the commercials. Then there are thousands of Clevelanders who watched Super Bowl XLVII in hopes of seeing the Baltimore Ravens get beat by the San Francisco 49ers, badly. Unfortunately for those people, they did not get their wish.

I was only 12 years old when Art Modell announced he was moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. The announcement came after the team made the playoffs the previous season and seemed destined for further success in the near future.

Born in 1983 I did live through the Browns’ glory years of the decade. However, I have not one memory of them. I do not recall ever seeing “The Drive,” “The Fumble,” or any of the big plays which made Bernie Kosar so beloved in Cleveland or John Elway hated by Cleveland. I do recall hearing “Bernie, Bernie” to the tune of “Louie, Louie” when I was a child. But that is all I remember.

Still I was devastated when the Browns were moved from Cleveland because the previous season was the only memory of winning football I had and wanted more.

From that point on most Clevelanders looked at the team which became the Baltimore Ravens with nothing but disdain. I freely admit I was not one of those people. To me the Browns still existed. Most of the players remained on the team. In my 13 year old mind they were still the Browns, just in a new city with a new name and colors.

People called me crazy and others would not speak to me. But the fact is while it hurt to lose my team, I only had a few years of memories of Cleveland Browns football. So I probably was not as devastated as those who do remember those great teams of the 80s, and especially those who were alive for the 1964 NFL championship team.

I cheered the Baltimore Ravens players for the next three seasons until the Browns returned to Cleveland and even a couple seasons afterward. I sided with the Ravens when they won Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. Clevelanders, including my own family, could not understand why I would back a team that was stolen from us by Art Modell. That was just my point. Ownership withstanding, I cheered for the players that had no control over who their owner was or where the team was being moved.

To this day I still do not have any issues with the Baltimore Ravens. I do not cheer for them every week like I used to for those three seasons the Browns were gone, but the hatred for them simply is not there. I do not cheer against them unless they play against the Browns. Unfortunately most others in Cleveland have not joined me in this line of thinking.

Art Modell gave up ownership of the Baltimore Ravens almost nine years ago. He passed away three days prior to the 2012-13 season opener. Yet, most of Cleveland’s hatred of the man and the Ravens franchise by association still exists and probably always will.

When the Ravens won its second Super Bowl last night, defeating the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31 after a shocking Superdome power outage and fending off a comeback sparked by young Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the hatred continued to pour over social media. Clevelanders once again cursed the departed soul of Art Modell and displayed remarks about Cleveland being tortured.

What these people fail to understand is the Baltimore Ravens are only what the Browns could have been, not should have been. When people say it should have been the Browns instead of the Ravens winning the Super Bowl in 2001 and last night, there is only an inkling of truth to those statements.

The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens are completely different franchises. Obviously history would not have taken the same course as it has the last 18 years because the Baltimore Ravens would not exist in the same way they do today, if at all. Furthermore, even if the Browns drafted Ray Lewis like the Ravens did in 1996, it is foolish to believe the team would have played out the ensuing seasons in the same way as the Ravens. The history of the league itself would also be completely different if move had not taken place.

Yes, the Cleveland Browns were stolen from us right when it appeared the team was heading in the direction for sustained success. Yes, there is a chance they could have at least made it to the Super Bowl if not won by now if the original franchise remained in Cleveland. But there is no guarantee. That is how I am able to watch the Baltimore Ravens play with success and win Super Bowls without any sense of feeling like a tortured Cleveland football fan.

While I can understand the feelings of such fans, I always wonder how much longer they will continue to torture themselves. Will it be when the Browns finally turn into a successful team? Call me crazy again, but I have my doubts. Even if or when the Browns do win a Super Bowl in the future, many Clevelanders will still resent the Ravens because they “should have been us” with their wins many years before. The hatred for Art Modell, long after his death will still exist.

As renowned Cleveland chef Michael Symon said on his Facebook page today, “living in the past will never help the future.” Sage words to live by.

Image from http://www.handicapperspicks.com

Written by apokorny

February 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Tribe Fest Review

with one comment

Tribe Fest

A winter event the Cleveland Indians have held in the past which I enjoyed was Tribe On Tour. Several players, the manager, broadcasters, mascots, and the Fun Bunch made their way to a few different malls across northeast Ohio to sign autographs, allow for photographs, and answer questions from interested fans.

This year the organization announced it would not be holding the mall tour. Instead, the Indians introduced Tribe Fest, a more elaborate version of Tribe On Tour held in the basement area of Progressive (Jacobs) Field.

Though I enjoyed the mall tour, mainly because it was free as opposed to a $10 charge, Tribe Fest sounded much better in theory for a few reasons. First, Tribe On Tour was only held at each venue for only a few hours while Tribe Fest was slated to run for an entire afternoon into the early evening.

Secondly, the main attraction for Tribe On Tour was the autograph session with the players. As a result, in addition to the short amount of time, fans had to arrive two hours before the event began to ensure a good spot in line and a timely exit.

Finally, there was only so much a mall event had to offer. Holding the event at Progressive Field appeared to solve all of the problems I just mentioned. Tribe Fest boasted autograph sessions which ran for the entire duration of the event, photograph opportunities, baseball skills clinics for children to attend, and full access for self-guided tours of the Indians clubhouse. Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus conducted interviews with players, alumni Mudcat Grant and Tito Francona, and Chris Antonetti. The team barber even gave interested fans their own personalized haircuts.

I purchased tickets for myself and one of my friends to attend the Sunday session of Tribe Fest. Despite hearing and reading reports over social media that the Saturday event was overly crowded and horrendously unorganized, I kept the faith that Tribe Fest would still be worth my time and money.

After seeing pictures on twitter of a lengthy line outside Gate A before they were opened, my friend and I made sure to arrive more than a half hour early. Unfortunately with Sunday came an extreme drop in temperature, making for a very frigid wait. Luckily those in charge of the event made the decision to have mercy on those of us who arrived early and allowed us to enter a warmer tunnel until the noon start time.

As Tribe Fest began it was clear the problems from the day before were addressed. Tickets were handed out for each autograph session as opposed to fans in attendance flocking to the area. Upon arriving to the autograph area, staff members stood by, directing attendees to a designated line. Also, to avoid terribly long lines, players listed in back to back sessions on the program were included in two sessions in an effort to prevent fans from missing their favorite players.

At first glance everything seemed well organized. My friend and I quickly made our way through the first autograph session with Nick Hagadone, Corey Kluber, and Lonnie Chisenhall, who was a last second replacement for Carlos Santana, who chose to move to another session.

Next we moved on to the clubhouse tour, which was an impressive sight. I came to find out why Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano get along so well.

Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano are locker neighbors.

Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano are locker neighbors.

Thanks to my friend who holds a Key Bank card, we were allowed access to the KeyBank Lounge (the visitor’s clubhouse), which provided food and other autograph sessions, first with rookie pitcher Cody Allen and next with Jason Kipnis. I was relieved to find out Kipnis would be signing in the Key Lounge because his group session was scheduled for the same time as the Tribe Fest Tweetup, held in the Terrace Club, which I was set to attend. Kipnis is one of my favorite players and, after missing out on his autograph at Tribe On Tour last year, I was determined to get the chance to finally meet him at Tribe Fest.

Kipnis

The Tweetup, attended by those who RSVP’d by email earlier in the week, was host to a Town Hall gathering atmosphere. Mark Shapiro and Terry Francona addressed the crowd while fielding questions from the fans. Excellent insight was provided. In addition I saw many familiar faces from the social media spectrum and matched some new people to the twitter names as well. Overall the two men in charge of the team appeared to leave those who attended the Tweetup with a positive outlook.

ShapiroFrancona

From this writer’s perspective, Tribe Fest was a complete success. There was something for every one of the fans to enjoy at their own pace. I did not get to experience everything the event had to offer. However, that was of little concern to me.

Because I did not attend Saturday’s event, I am not personally aware of the problems that were reported by those who did. But from what I gathered from those I met who were there on Saturday, it was a distinct improvement. There were attendees who still felt the event on Sunday was too crowded. However, large crowds have never been a problem to me.

I am thankful to the Cleveland Indians organization for holding Tribe Fest instead of the mall tour that I attended the last two years. It was well worth the $10 price of admission and I hope it lasts for many years to come.

A Championship Caliber Lineup

with one comment

The last time the Cleveland Indians were anywhere near the level of the New York Yankees was in 2007. That year was the Tribe’s last winning season, let alone postseason berth. They had just defeated the Yankees 3-1 in the American League Divisional Series.

Since then the Indians have gone down the complete opposite path as their counterpart. They began a rebuilding project while the Yankees spent millions of dollars on Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett en route to their first World Series victory since 2000.

So why am I talking about the Indians and the Yankees in the same writing? Because with the Indians’ rebuilding project and latest array of moves to build a new lineup for the upcoming season, I am reminded of the last time the New York Yankees had something that resembled a true dynasty.

As I mentioned, 2009 was the first time the Yankees won a World Series in nine years. What I did not mention was 2000 was the last of three straight World championships and fourth in five years for the Bronx Bombers. The ironic part is those three championship teams were hardly bombers.

Many teams aspire to have at least two “bash brothers,” the term the late 80s Oakland A’s coined for Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. These are players with extreme power, capable of hitting 30 or more homers each season. Some teams even try to litter their lineups with them. But as the Texas Rangers have proven in the last three seasons, lineups filled with power hitters do not necessarily win championships.

The New York Yankees, on the other hand, won their four World Series titles in the 90s and 2000 with a different strategy.

None of those four teams had a hitter in its lineup eclipse 30 home runs. Bernie Williams had the highest home run total in that span with exactly 30 in 2000.

Furthermore, none of those four championship teams had a player steal more than 31 bases, accomplished by Chuck Knoblauch in 1998.

So how did the Yankees win four World Series titles in a five year span without a monster basher or someone with blinding speed? A healthy balance would be the answer.

For starters, at least half of the players in every lineup hit for high average. In 1996, all but one player in the Yankees’ lineup hit .292 or higher.

Secondly, while those lineups were not littered with power hitters, almost every single player hit at least ten homers. In 1998 and ‘99 seven every day hitters totaled more than 17 round trippers. In 2000, six players hit 15 or more.

Finally, each of those teams had at least two players steal 14 or more bases. The ’98 championship team had five players do so. However, the highest total on the ’96 team was 17 by Bernie Williams.

What do the Cleveland Indians have to do with this New York Yankees World Series dynasty? In 2007, the last time the team was a contender, the lineup resembled those Yankees.

First of all, six of the nine regular batters hit for a respectable .270 average or higher. Victor Martinez was the leading hitter on the team with a .301 average.

Secondly, six of the regulars hit at least 18 home runs. Five hit 21 or more. However, again Victor Martinez was the leader with 25.

Finally, only one person in the lineup stole more than 14 bases. Grady Sizemore topped out at 33.

That Indians team was one win away from the World Series, in which it would have been a heavy favorite to win it all. While heavy blame is placed on Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia for laying eggs in their final playoff outings, equal blame could be placed on the lineup for not doing its part. I know the phrase “pitching wins championships” very well. In fact I am a firm believer in it. But it also helps to have a strong, balanced lineup to counteract opposing pitching.

While that lineup resembled the Yankees’ four championship teams, it was not nearly the caliber of it. What was missing from the Indians? A strong, experienced core. The four Yankee teams all had the same core in Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and Paul O’Neill. They were also managed by Joe Torre.

The core of the 2007 Indians team, comprised of Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, and Jhonny Peralta had not played together as long as the Yankee counterparts. Furthermore, manager Eric Wedge was also very inexperienced.

Which brings me to the present. The Cleveland Indians have the youngest team in the Major Leagues. But with its youth it also appears to be building a strong core. Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, and until Francisco Lindor arrives, Asdrubal Cabrera make up that core. This postseason the front office has added veterans Mark Reynolds, Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, and Mike Aviles to the team along with new, experienced manager Terry Francona to help the core.

In this new and improved Indians lineup I see the potential to resemble the New York Yankee lineups that won four World Series titles in five years. There is no visible extreme power to date. Mark Reynolds is capable of hitting more than 40 homers, but has not done so in four years. Nick Swisher’s career high is 35 seven years ago. Since then he has not hit 30, even playing with a short porch at Yankee Stadium. However, each of the regulars in the lineup, mainly the core I mentioned, are capable of hitting at least 10 homers.

The Indians teams of late have also not been known for their blinding speed. The fastest player on this new team is clearly recently added Drew Stubbs, who has stolen at least 30 bases in the last three seasons. It is well known in those seasons he has had issues reaching base. But perhaps a change of scenery will do him good and he will improve his play at the plate. Jason Kipnis stole 31 bases to lead the team this past season. Though his career high is only 12, I firmly believe Michael Brantley, with his ability to get on base, has the potential to swipe at least 30 bases himself each season. Mike Aviles has also stolen at least 10 bases in a season four times in his career.

The problem with the lineup that I will now mention is the ability to hit for a consistently high average. In recent years Asdrubal Cabrera has been an all-star caliber hitting shortstop to start the season, then tailed in the second half due to poor conditioning.

Carlos Santana, in his first two full seasons, struggled at the beginning but caught fire late. This past season his struggle could be attributed to a concussion he suffered early in the year.

Jason Kipnis, like Cabrera, was an all-star caliber hitter for much of the first half but also slumped badly for most of the second half. He has all the tools to make an excellent three hitter, though much of his success was found in the two hole.

The Indians appear to be full speed ahead with Lonnie Chisenhall as the full-time third baseman. He has not set the world on fire in his short stints in the Major League. But the talent and potential is there. Now it seems we will finally get to see what he is capable of with consistent plate appearances.

Michael Brantley, other than Shin-Soo Choo, who was dealt to Cincinnati, was the team’s most consistent hitter. Despite his struggles in this spot, I truly feel like Brantley has finally gained the confidence to be the team’s leadoff hitter.

What I am saying is when I look at the young core plus the newly added pieces, I see enormous potential. Like the Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s, it does not appear to boast explosive power or mind blowing speed. It does suggest that it has the capability of producing high batting averages, on-base percentages, and runs; all statistics it has sorely lacked the last few years.

With Terry Francona, a manager with two World Series rings, at the helm, he can mold this young squad together with the veterans that were added into something special.

I am not saying it will happen this coming season. In fact, I would be pleasantly surprised if it did. I am saying with experience and an opportunity to gel under a new, highly esteemed manager, a bright future lies ahead for the Cleveland Indians team.

How does this new lineup look for Opening Day?

2013 Indians lineup

Written by apokorny

January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

A Lesson in Unprofessional Journalism

with 2 comments

If you got paid to watch and write about a game, would you enjoy it? Better yet, would you be grateful for the opportunity? These are questions I have been pondering ever since the dog days of August when the Cleveland Indians were mired in a terrible slump that effectively ruined their season.

During that fateful stretch of time one Tribe game went into extra innings after an already lengthy affair that lasted past 1a.m. When this occurred, several reporters were caught on twitter making jokes about the game continuing on much longer and how they could be subjected to anymore bad baseball. Others tweeted about how they could not wait until all the baseball talk on twitter would be silenced because football season had begun. Suffice to say, I and others I follow on the social media forum were not amused.

Lately on nights when I don’t have to get up early the next morning for work I find myself staying up late at night for different reasons. Sometimes I read news articles and other interesting stories I did not have time to during the day. Other times I watch random video clips for nostalgia purposes or catch up on my DVR recordings.

A relative once suggested I stay up so late because I am always afraid I will miss something if I turn off my computer and go to bed. I am extremely inclined to agree. Wednesday night was a perfect example of such a time where I would miss something big if I turned off my computer.

This is the big week of winter meetings in Major League Baseball. All eyes in Cleveland, well diehard baseball fans’ eyes anyway, are on the Indians, hoping they make some kind of trade or acquisition that would positively benefit the organization for at least the upcoming season. My twitter feed has been abuzz as many of my fellow diehard fans I follow and reporters in the business discuss rumors of these potential deals.

One such deal suggests the Indians trading two-time all-star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Arizona Diamondbacks and receiving two prospects from the Diamondbacks in return. Evidently this potential deal does not sit well with one particular Indians beat reporter.

According to this writer the rumored trade would be an epic failure because all the Indians would be receiving in return would be two high ranking prospects. Shortly after midnight Wednesday night, a young man I follow who covered the Indians farm system this past season and sees the value in young prospects stepped in to debate the writer, citing multiple examples in which a deal such as the proposed has benefited both sides. The latter failed to see the point, stating that the young journalist “loves him some prospects” while he loves “real players.”

The debate snowballed and turned into an ugly situation. The writer in question got into another argument with another person who I do not follow. He launched a tirade of unprovoked offensive tweets, using vulgar language and name calling.

While I have seen this happen many times on my twitter timeline, this was completely different than anything I had witnessed before. Here a writer of 15 years, known by any diehard Cleveland Indians fan with a twitter account, resorted to mudslinging on a public forum when someone stepped in and disagreed with what he had to say.

These young men did nothing to deserve the treatment they received. All they did was attempt to show the writer a different side to a story that he immediately dismissed. His behavior was extremely unprofessional for a man of his status. Furthermore, the man’s job title and the name of the organization he writes for is clearly stated in his twitter bio. Anyone who witnessed his outrageous tweets could report him to his employer as well as spread the news like wildfire throughout the community and make the organization look bad.

Finally, this outburst, coupled with the reactions I mentioned at the beginning of this writing of other Cleveland reporters, sparked a discussion among me and other amateur writers. We see this type of behavior and are appalled. These people are being paid to watch and report on a game that we all love and respect. We would do their job for nothing. Yet they sit back and criticize and complain when they are “forced” to watch a game go into extra innings.

These people are living the dream young sports writers aspire to have. They know that and they take it for granted. Their egos become inflated when uneducated fans assume the truth from their reports and heap unwarranted praise. What the uneducated fans fail to realize is there is another perspective when it is not presented by reporters such as the one in question.

I understand the Cleveland Indians are a poorly run franchise and have been for several years now. No, they have not made any significant moves that would impact the team during the winter meetings despite being involved in many rumors. But that is no reason to assume the worst or completely dismiss any potential moves based on history. Rather, look at them from all sides and do some homework. Do your job.

That is what a true professional reporter does. He or she does the necessary research. If you want to complain, step away and let someone with a true passion for the game have an opportunity.

Written by apokorny

December 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Love of the Game

with one comment

My summer home away from home

My writings here at Sports From the Korndogg Stand have been few and far between lately. But I want my posts to mean something more than just another take on the same old topics everyone else in the sports universe are talking about right now. That is what my last few entries have done. This one will be no different.

With the Indians hitting another midseason dive just as they had last season, fans in Cleveland are once again ready to jump ship and turn their attention to football season, whether it be the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Browns. I, on the other hand, refuse to give in. This is not a slander against those fans that have lost hope in the Indians or may not love baseball as much as I do. Rather, it is a reflection on the people who passed down the love of the game and the Cleveland Indians to me.

A few weeks ago my uncle decided to take a walk down memory lane, dug up photos of my grandfather, Raymond Klafczynski, and posted them on Facebook. One of which was my inspiration for this writing, his high school baseball picture.

My grandfather’s skill for the game was recognized by the Chicago Cubs and he was offered a chance to tryout for the team. Unfortunately my great grandfather passed away when Ray was just a child. With his brother overseas, Ray made the decision to pass on the opportunity of a lifetime to be a family man and support his single mother.

My grandmother still speaks often of how she met my grandpa while he was playing in a neighborhood baseball league. Together they passed down the love of the game to their seven children, many of whom played the game as they grew up. It was only natural that my parents made sure I was a baseball fan.

Sadly, my grandfather passed away before he and I could see an Indians game together at the old Municipal Stadium. But that did not stop me from learning and loving baseball. I used to read my father’s old copies of Baseball Digest as a method of learning the players. I used them to create my own version of fantasy baseball. Yes, I was playing fantasy baseball in the early 1990s when the game was unheard of. My dad and uncle saw my vast knowledge of the game and took me under their wings as an adviser to their own fantasy baseball league.

Everyone I met tested me on my player knowledge and stood in awe as I rattled off players’ teams, positions, and jersey numbers before I was ten years old. I even managed to stump former Major League pitcher Chris Bosio, who was a friend of my aunt and uncle at the time.

One of my favorite games on Sporcle.com is Indians history such as this one: Opening Day Lineups: Indians, because I can name the starting lineups and most of the pitching rotations for the Cleveland Indians from 1990 through the team’s glory years. Though the teams of my early years were not synonymous with winning baseball, names like Brook Jacoby, Cory Snyder, Tom Candiotti, Greg Swindell, and Doug Jones will remain in my memory forever because they were here when I got my start as a fan. One of my fondest memories as a child was walking onto the field of Municipal Stadium with my sister and hearing speeches from former Tribe pitcher Jesse Orosco, infielder Carlos Baerga, and catcher Sandy Alomar.

I have seen countless Indians games in my life between both the old Municipal Stadium and Jacobs/Progressive Field. I was at the second game in 1994 when Jacobs Field opened, rooting the Indians to victory in the freezing cold. I joined my father and brother for their first game at the Jake as the Indians battled back and forth in a slugfest against the Baltimore Orioles. We all sat in amazement when Albert Belle blasted a walkoff homer that nearly reached our seats. I attended game three of the 1997 World Series with my aunt, also in the freezing cold. I broke remote controls after slamming them on the floor in heartbreak after the Indians lost the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

Many of my cousins, my sister, and my brother inherited at least some of my grandfather’s talent for baseball. I have watched them all excel at the game. I have supported them as they played in their respective leagues. While I came up short in that area, I have been reassured that my love of the game is undeniable.

Regardless of how good, or bad depending on the perspective, the Cleveland Indians are each season, they are my first love. I continue to support them, contenders or not. I return to “my home at the Jake” many times a season. Sports radio stations in Cleveland discuss the Browns ad nauseum throughout the year because Cleveland is “a football town.” But for me, from April through October nothing else exists to me in sports but baseball.

I have one man to thank for that love of the game. Thank you, Grandpa Ray Klafczynski for passing on your passion for baseball and the Indians to your children, especially my mother, who passed it on to me.

Written by apokorny

July 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized