There is next to nothing going on in Cleveland sports right now.
The Cavs are dead and buried, the Browns don't get it ripping for another six weeks and the Indians are in the process of losing three out of four to the Yankees this Memorial Day weekend in NYC to slip further behind the mediocre leaders of the AL Central.
This is the dead-zone of the Cleveland sports year.
So rather than a thousand words on all that let's just get right to the important stuff this week:
Lou Marson Update
There was an offensive explosion from Sweet Lou on Saturday in the Bronx. No one saw it coming (including a couple of stunned looking Yankee pitchers) but for one day Lou Marson was Thurman Munson. Marson doubled three times, drove in three runs and was the offenive impetus behind a wild Tribe comeback that erased 9-3 and 10-4 deficits as the Indians stunned the Yankees 13-11.
No one could have or would have predicted such a day from Marson, least of all me. CC Sabathia and Joba Chamberlain appeared dazed and confused not only while Marson was doubling three times (four if you count him going from three to six RBI on the season) but also even as late as Sunday in the dugout.
Marson is laughing at Tim Lincecum in his rear view mirror now. Not to mention he's increased his odds of reaching ten ribbies this season despite the fact that the Carlos Santana train is likely about ready to leave the station and the Santana tracks will be laid directly on the back of Sweet Lou.
Still, and I'm not exaggerating a great deal here, but on a day when Roy Halladay threw a perfect game I still was more shocked by Marson's Saturday.
Not Nearly as Amusing
I have my weekly fun at Lou Marson's expense but Saturday wasn't all comebacks and Lou Marson clutch doubles. There was a much scarier moment early in the game when Alex Rodriguez lined a pitch from Tribe starter David Huff back up the box with such velocity and force that Huff never had a chance to get his head out of the path of the baseball.
There was a sickening, high-speed collision of ball and bone with Huff dropping like a bag of sand face-down on the mound. The ball thankfully hit at enough of angle that it reached right center field and Rodriguez, horrified by what he had just seen and done, jogged into second base with his hands covering his head. Rodriguez, after time was called, immediately went to his knees on the field, still holding his head in hands, as Tribe medical personnel tended to to Huff.
Life changes just that fast and sometimes just that innocently. Huff was hospitalized but released late Saturday afternoon (apparently being discharged and leaving with his family just before A Rod arrived to check on him, by the way). It remains to be seen what, if any, lasting effects the line drive off his head has on Huff but whomever watched that at bat and that sequence of events can't help but thank God it didn't turn out a great deal differently for David Huff.
We might be used to seeing line drives all over the field end days for Huff, who's giving a ridiculous number of them by the way, but none of us was ready to see the Rodriguez line drive nearly end so much more.
Been a While
If you've ever played any team sport at a high level you understand the effect competition can have on a moment and on a team. I witnessed it again in Columbus this weekend when the Madison Mystics, winless during this spring season, played in the Starburst Soccer Spectacular. Again playing against incredible competition from multiple states the Mystics got their first taste of victory this spring on Saturday morning and they never tasted defeat the rest of the weekend.
The Mystics won the U9 Girls title, beating The Hilliard Football Club 4-2 in a game Sunday afternoon that rivaled any competition of any kind I've watched in years. It was one of those unexpected weekends that don't come around too often. And when the final whistle sounded Sunday and the Madison kids had defeated the bigger and more talented Hilliard team in front of all those Hilliard parents, Hilliard grandparents, Hilliard family and friends and Hilliard tournament officials and referees, well, words can't describe the scene on the Madison sideline.
It's what occasionally happens when a team that cares for one another deeply goes up against teams with bigger kids and bigger budgets. Foot skills and striking ability are important but never having to worry about who has your back is sometimes bigger. If you beat one Mystic there were two more right there to pick her up. If you knocked down a Mystic player there were ten more there to pick her up. Even through some rough losses it was that way and those of us who have played understand that sometimes getting knocked down and picked up, despite knowing it will happen, gets to be a bit much.
Sometimes that all adds up to a Ralphie Parker moment when he just beats the snot out of Scott Farkas in the school yard after getting tired of getting knocked around and picked back up.
Congratulations to Jordan, Mykala, Alyssa, Kaitlyn, Chloe, Adrianna, Emma, Dayton, Kacie, Sydnie, Maddie. Unbelievable effort and passion through the weekend. Even more inspiring is your loyalty and commitment to each other out there on the field. Through all of the difficulties of the last few months what you ladies accomplished this past weekend truly was spectacular.
It shouldn't have to be said and it probably doesn't, but take a moment today to thank those who serve and protect. Tip your cap or say a prayer to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to provide us with the freedom to safely watch ball games and soccer matches with our friends and loved ones.
The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.