If ever the Indians' 2008 season needed to be presented in a nice, tidy package for the world to examine, look no further than the 2 hour, 44 minute gift that was bestowed upon Tribe fans last night in Chicago. In one game, in the middle of July, we were treated to a game that served as a microcosm for the season that put to rest any questions that could have remained in anyone's head regarding where 2008 is headed. Lest you forget (or have attempted to erase last night from your synapses) the Tribe starting pitcher was brilliant, going eight strong innings giving up one run while the feeble offense, unable to put any rally together, had knotted the game at 1-1 with their favorite tool, the solo HR. After the offense was able to put another solo shot over the fence in the 10th, the bullpen laid waste to the game by allowing the opposition to tie the game with one swing (and with two out) ... then win the game on consecutive hits. Haven't I seen this show before? And, as Brodzoski (The Close) strode off the mound to the Indians' dugout, any thought of some magical run through the beginning of July and their AL Central opponents to force themselves back into the discussion had passed. Hope doesn't live in the Indians' dugout anymore, having been given the ultimatum by their manager that these 8 games were essentially their season, and they've dropped the first two to drop to 11 ½ back in the Central. Guys...it's over. Let the retooling begin and let the auctioneer's gavel that should be arriving to the Tribe offices this morning with a note on the package "ATTN: MARK SHAPIRO" serve as a not-so-subtle way to say that he better have his auctioneer's voice tuned up for the next four weeks: CanIgetayoungsluggerreadytostepintothelineupforthisCyYoungAwardwinningpitcher?
DoIseeaJamesLoneyormaybeanAndreEthierhowaboutaChadBillingsley? ReidBrignacandJeffNeimann? ReplaceNeimannwithDavidPriceanditsadeal. Backovertothemanontherightoftheroomwiththemustache...whatsthat? MattKempandJonathonBroxton? Sold! Moving on to the next item up for bid... CanIgetsomebitesonthemanwitha.406battingaveragewithrunnersinscoringpositionandwith47RBI? Hesasuperversatileplayerwhocanstepinforyourplayoffteamandbeyoursuperutilitymanforthestretchrun.
Whatarewelookingathere? Won'tcostyoumuchmorethanadecntAAplayertogethimandaplayoff-testedveteran... And so it goes - because the floor has been opened and the bidding has begun.