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Good Stuff From Hoynes ...

Unread postby swerb » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:56 am

http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/plaindea ... xml&coll=2

Winter Haven, Fla. -- This won't make the kind of headlines the fractured friendship of New York Yankees teammates Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter did, but the same thing could be happening at Chain of Lakes Park between one-time buddies Travis Hafner and Casey Blake.

Rodriguez opened spring training in Tampa, Fla., by saying Jeter and he -- once as close as brothers -- have grown apart. Jeter said he was not aware of any rift and tried to change the subject.

This was big news in New York. The back pages of the tabloids were full of the feud between the two superstars, but the rift between Hafner and Blake might run deeper. OK, maybe it's not as serious as that. Actually, it's not serious at all.

Still, the two have several points of contention, but let's start with Blake's iPod.

"He's got the worst taste in music," Hafner said, laughing. "I rode to the park with him Monday and he brought his iPod. I'm looking through it and it's like, OK, this is a good artist.' Then you flip on the songs and you've never heard any of those songs by that artist."

Blake, when told of those comments, acted insulted.

"I've given him a ride to the park every day since we've been here because he's too cheap to rent a car," Blake said.

"He's the only guy I know who calls you up and asks for a ride and then tells you what time we're leaving. I say 7 a.m. He says make it 7:30 a.m."

As for the music crack, Blake said, "That's unbelievable. I want to know what his musical roots are? Living up in Sykeston, N.D., what kind of musical diversity did he have?"

Hafner, who said his car is being shipped to Winter Haven, stayed on the attack.

"Most of the time, good bands will have good songs that everybody knows," Hafner said. "Those aren't the songs Casey has. I don't know where he finds his music. I've never of heard of these songs. He's the only one that knows the words and he sings along. It makes for a painful trip."

Blake was stunned when told of Hafner's comments.

"Pronk will know an artist and he'll know their best song and that's it," Blake said. "He's looking through my iPod and ragging on me. He's wondering why I don't have certain songs. Bruce Springsteen is my favorite artist. He's probably thinking why don't I have "Born in the USA"? I have a lot of his old stuff. "[Tenth] Avenue Freeze-Out," "Badlands," stuff that he's never heard of.

"He's probably mad because I didn't have Rammstein on there. That's the kind of songs he comes up with."

Blake thinks Hafner may secretly be jealous of him.

"The thing is, I was always a role model for him, an idol of his," said Blake, without a trace of modesty. "I was at Wichita State, powerhouse Wichita State, and he was at lowly Cowley County Community College about an hour away from Wichita. I was kind of an idol of his."

How much of an idol is questionable.

"I started wearing camouflage shorts to the ballpark last year and pretty soon, Casey was wearing the same thing," Hafner said.

Blake did have one compliment for Hafner.

"Getting married this winter, fashionwise, was the best thing that ever happened to him," Blake said. "Any stylish clothes he has, his wife bought. If he comes to the park dressed nice, I'll say, 'Obviously you did not pick that out.'

"I was tired of seeing that holey 15-year-old Cowley National Championship T-shirt. If it wasn't for the freebies he got from some of his wrestling buddies, he wouldn't have a wardrobe."

Rodriguez and Jeter's friendship seems beyond repair, but Blake and Hafner still may have a chance.

"I'd probably rather listen to his bad music than his bad jokes," Hafner said. "It's pick your poison.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:03 am

I have a good hunch Hafner is going nowhere and will be extended long-term very soon. Love this guy. And, I don't care what other fans say, I like Blake. I'd be fine with extending him and keeping him here after the 2008 season.
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Unread postby pup » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:11 am

I have a good hunch Hafner is going nowhere and will be extended long-term very soon


As long as it is not at the expense of CC, fine.

I like Blake


I like John Macdonald, doesn't mean I want him in my lineup everyday though. Casey Blake is great if he is your 10th position player. Playing in a ultra utility role, fine. As a starting first baseman, though, ugggggh.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:21 am

Casey Blake is fine as your 7th or 8th guy in a lineup.
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Unread postby pup » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:28 am

Not as a first baseman, or everyday right fielder.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:54 am

Consigliere wrote:Casey Blake is fine as your 7th or 8th guy in a lineup.


Cmon, this guy was a career journeyman til he got somewhere the talent was low enough to play. Casey Blake is a stiff. I dont care what crap you try and say, he's flat out terrible. I would only want him as a utility guy off the bench. Its about time we stop accepting talent like this.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:09 am

Again, the "All-Star ar every position" mentality rears its ugly head.

Look, we aren't going to have studs at every position. Blake is a .265ish, 25 homer, 70 RBI guy in the league. THat is above the league average. He is hardly terrible. The guy is not great by any means, but his versatility and bat is not bad at all in the bottom 3rd of your order. Look around the league and compare him to some of the other guys in other teams bottom 3rd.....he is as productive and more than most of them.

Again, as your 7th, 8th or 9th lineup option, I am perfectly happy with him on this team. Now, if you are leaning on him as one of your top 4 lineup producers, then you have problems. YMMV.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:13 am

Im not asking for an all-star, but Blake is a career journeyman like it or not. Saying to look around the league is pathetic. So basicly what you are saying is if every other team stocks up with junk, I should be ok the tribe follows suite? Baseball is the most diluted sport in America right now.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:25 am

How is Blake junk? What, because he annoys you or the year he had in 2005?

Bottom line, he is slightly above the mean when looking at baseball players. There is no debating that. His batting average, HRs, RBIs, etc are all slightly above the major league mean. Considering a guy who averages around .265-.270, 23-25 HRs, and 65-75 RBIs a year as junk is ridiculous if you ask me.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:32 am

He doesnt annoy me at all. I would really like him as a platoon type guy. I just hate him being a starter. His defense is suspect and he is the farthest thing from clutch I have ever seen. Ever notice he hits when theres no pressure? But put him in a game winning situation and his brown-eye couldnt release a BB, he puckers.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:48 am

Actually, Blake is considered one of the best defensive RFers in the league. His problems at 3B were his throwing. As for the clutch issue, I agree he had issues with it in 2005. But, he put up a .810 OPS with RISP, and .957 with RISP and two outs last year. That's pretty good.
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Unread postby swerb » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:53 am

Casey Blake is the classic case of a guy who if you just look at his end of the year stats, seems fine.

Sure, Blake's stats are average or slightly above.

If you actually watch the games, and see this guy turn to mush at the plate from the 7th inning on, or with RISP, you get more a feel for Blake's true value as a player.

It's one of the things that annoys me about the internet age and the stat overload that has followed. 20 years ago, everyone and their mother knows Blake is a mamaluke. But because he hit 25 HRs a couple times, all of the sudden he's "above average", and people tend to ignore every other aspect of his game.

Trot and Garko are both guys I like alot better than Casey. Hopefully the pair can relegate Blake to the utility role he deserves to be in. And hopefully Wedge will actually do it, and not give this guy 550 ABs just cause he likes him and hes a good clubhouse guy.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:55 am

But, he put up a .810 OPS with RISP, and .957 with RISP and two outs last year. That's pretty good.



You are missing my point. He doesnt put those stats up in Game winning situations. Those stats are meaningless if they are up 4 runs in the 8th inning. He doesnt perform well hitting or fielding when the games on the line.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:17 pm

Swerb wrote:If you actually watch the games, and see this guy turn to mush at the plate from the 7th inning on, or with RISP, you get more a feel for Blake's true value as a player.


Blake in 2004:
RISP: .254 avg, .723 OPS
RISP and two outs: .281 avg, .773 OPS

Blake in 2005:
RISP: .171 avg, .491 OPS
RISP and two outs: .085 avg, .245 OPS

Blake in 2006:
RISP: .261 avg, .810 OPS
RISP and two outs: .281 avg, .957 OPS

Blake was horrific in 2005, and this is what a lot of people turn back to. He was just plain awful that year. But, the years that bookend that he was solid in such situations. It is well documented that Blake was having personal problems that affected him in 2005....at least to some degree.

I don't expect Blake do perform great in those situations. Usually, the elite guys do well, but most everyone else sees their performance drop in key situations where their production takes a dip. It is the way the game is. It is like the pitching in the playoffs.....when the chips are on the table the games start to mean something, offensive performance usually dips across the board.

But, oh well. Hey, I like Blake and am fine with him being a part of this team for many years to come. To each his own I guess.
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Unread postby furls » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:19 pm

My problem with Casey Blake is that he is a good 7th or 8th bat on a team, but unfortunately he plays positions where you should be 1-6 Bat. Let's face it, your corner outfielders and first basemen are supposed to be about offense first defense second.

This is the same principle that says that if V-Mart cannot become a good defensive catcher than he is not really a huge asset anymore. A catcher with his stats at the plate is phenomenal a first baseman with his bat is average.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:23 pm

It is well documented that Blake was having personal problems that affected him in 2005....at least to some degree


Jason Kidd is handling it well. Im so sick and tired of excuses. Maybe he really isnt that good. Personally, Id rather see Crowe get some PT than Blake. The one thing that does favor Blake is that pitchers actually give him something to hit. Im just not sure if they will be able to hide him anymore. If Im playing against the tribe, I make Blake beat me, not Victor/Hafner/so on.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:33 pm

Dozen wrote:
Maybe he really isnt that good. Personally, Id rather see Crowe get some PT than Blake..


I actually hope this happens down the road, and would be fine with it. FOr now, though, until one of the kids are ready from the farm system I am fine with Blake filling in the gaps on the field so to speak.
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Unread postby Dozen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:39 pm

But, oh well. Hey, I like Blake and am fine with him being a part of this team for many years to come. To each his own I guess.


I actually hope this happens down the road, and would be fine with it. FOr now, though, until one of the kids are ready from the farm system I am fine with Blake filling in the gaps on the field so to speak.


Leaving yourself some room? :lol:

I guess Im just not a Blake fan HOWEVER I will root for him as long as he wears a tribe uniform. Damn this organization for making me cheer for stiffs.
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Unread postby consigliere » Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:07 pm

No, I just am fine with him being here now and for many years after this season. If there comes a time when one of the kids is ready to replace him, I am more than happy with moving Blake at that time to another role or even possibly letting him go if need be. But, until a prospect emerges and is ready for an everyday gig, I'll take Blake as filler for however long it takes.
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Unread postby jb » Sat Feb 24, 2007 12:15 pm

Consigliere wrote:I have a good hunch Hafner is going nowhere and will be extended long-term very soon.


Tony, don't do that to yourself.
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