How great is this? Last week I started off the glance by declaring my optimism regarding the Indians, despite the thorough butt-kicking administered to them on opening day. I talked about how Carmona didn't look too bad to me despite the ridiculous amount of runs he gave up. I mentioned the offense scoring a boatload of runs and Travis Hafner looking more like Pronk than he has in a long time.
I was encouraged. Hopeful even.
Did I actually believe it? Of course I didn't. You would have never gotten me to admit it, but no way. After all, I'm not an idiot.*
I didn't think that the Indians would have another 90 loss season. I really didn't. But, I didn't think they actually had much of a chance either.
Yet, here we are. The Indians are 7-2 and coming off their 2nd consecutive series sweep. And don't give me any baloney about how it doesn't count if you sweep the Mariners. It does too. Especially on the road.* And the first sweep certainly counts. I don't care how slow of a start the Red Sox are having. They're the freakin' Red Sox. And boy, doesn't it feel great to sweep the Red Sox?
*Even if we did miss King Felix in the series. It still counts.**
**It does too.
What I'm trying to say is this: Maybe I was actually right. I'd be lying if I said that I believed all of that mularky I was shoveling last week. I hoped*, but I don't think I actually believed. I always hope. Of course I do. I'm from Cleveland. But, I rarely believe.
*We are merchants of hope, remember?
I believe now. That was fast. The Indians haven't lost a game since then. They are 7-2 and atop the AL Central. They have the 2nd best record in MLB (behind the Rangers who, btw, played in the World Series last year) and are doing in by playing good, exciting baseball.
This is not smoke and mirrors. The starters are doing well, but they aren't out-pitching their talent level. At least not by much. The bullpen looks great. Tony Sipp is unhitable right now and Chris Perez, although a little more exciting than I'd prefer, has 4 saves already. The offense is scoring runs in every conceivable fashion and everyone is contributing. Even Matt LaPorta.
Now, guys like that pederast Hannahan (who already has 2 home runs) probably aren't going to OPS .891 for the season, but we don't need him to. If Supermanahan falters, Jason Donald will be back from his injury, ready to step in.
Oh, and Lonnie Chisenhall is a month away from fulfilling his service time obligation...err...his AAA assignment to make sure he isn't rushed. And don't' forget about Kipnis, unless you think Cord Phelps who hit a couple home runs yesterday should get the first shot.
And Drew Pomeranz started his professional career by striking out 9 batters in just over 5 innings yesterday.
This organization is young, but they are deep, and they are talented. And it's exciting as hell. I haven't been this excited about the Indians since I sat in right field on October 16, 2007 and watched as Paul Byrd was somehow able to stymie the Red Sox in game 4 of the ALCS.
It may not be for another year. This may be 1994 again. But that's how I feel about this team. They are fun to watch, and I'm going to be doing a lot of that this summer.
Like I said, I'm not an idiot*. I understand MLB, what it takes to compete, and the inherent difficulties that an unfair system thrusts upon an team that plays in a market like Cleveland. Like Paul Cousineau wrote yesterday, we are probably already watching the rapid descent of the Tampa Bay Rays and it feels like their ascent just began.
Unless you are one of a small handful of lucky organizations, MLB is a game of windows. Occasionally they open for you, but when they are open they immediately begin to shut again. If you are a good organization, and are run by smart men who don't panic, your windows may open slightly more often. I'm in the minority around here, but I believe that the Indians are one such organization.
And that sound you just heard...that was a window opening.
An Awkward Glance At The Tribe
This week, the Tribe will conclude their short west coast road trip with 3 games in Anaheim starting tonight. After getting Thursday off, they return home for a weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The absolutely best news for the Indians on this trip is that they will miss Jared Weaver who fanned an ungodly 15 Blue Jays last night. Right now, the guy is looking like a Cy Young pitcher. He's going so good that I wouldn't be surprised if Bud Selig is spending a majority of his day trying to figure out a way to just award him to the Yankees.
The Angels have started off 5-4 and are no pushover. The Angels will never be a pushover. Road wins are hard enough to come by, and sweeps are even more rare. It's foolish to think that the Indians will complete a third straight sweep and go 6 for 6 on the west coast*. But they are playing so good right now that it isn't unreasonable to think they can take 2/3 before the return home to the shores of Lake Erie.
On Friday, the Tribe opens up a 3 game home series* against the Baltimore Orioles, who at 6-3 are in front of an upside down AL East. This series will feature the return of former Indians #1 draft pick Jeremy Guthrie who is at the top of the Orioles rotation and pitching well.
*That means they will be sporting their cream colored weekend uniform which I have always loved. And, they will be wearing their new red caps, which I seem to be in the minority in loving, but love none the less. There is virtually nothing that I don't love about this team right now.**
**That's not true. I don't love Chad Durbin right now. I'm not giving up on him...yet, but It's lying to say that I love him. I do love Tony Sipp, though. That's legit. I love that guy.
Although I think that the Orioles success is just an illusion* and will not last, I cannot deny that they are playing good ball right now, and as such, I must concede that the Tribe will probably drop a game next weekend. You will know exactly which game if I decide to make it downtown for one of them.
*Yes, an illusion. Not a trick. A trick is something that whore does for money...or crack.
Tribe wins both series and ends the week 4-2 for an overall record of 11-4.
And that, my friends would be knockers.
But enough about that. On to the important stuff.
Since you will usually get my Tribe thoughts at the top of the column, I'm planning on devoting this space to the pursuit of nicknames. The focus will be mainly on the Tribe, and specifically on players on the 40 man roster. However, I am not averse to including opposing player, or even players from other sports, if the nickname warrants inclusion in the list.
I'll go over the rules again. I am the decider. What I say goes. That's about it for rules.
Here's the list as it stand now. It is subject to change. It is ALWAYS subject to change.
Michael Brantley Asdrubal Cabrera -Droobs (Society)
Shin-Soo Choo -Big League Choo or BLC (Steve Buffum)
Carlos Santana -The Axe Man (Owen)
Travis Hafner -Pronk (Society) Orlando Cabrera -Orly (Steve Buffum)
Matt LaPorta -Connie (Owen) Travis Buck
Shelley Duncan -Sloth (Society)
Jack Hannahan -That Pederast (Fletch) / Supermanahan (Jordan Bastian)
Adam Everett -Dapper Gent (Mike Kramer)
Grady Sizemore -Cup-a-Joe (Mike Kramer)
Lou Marson -Tofu Lou (Steve Buffum)
Fausto Carmona -The Bug Tamer (Owen)
Josh Tomlin -Toots McGillicutty (Mike Kramer)
Mitch Talbot -Flapjacks McGoo (Mike Kramer)
Chris Perez -Kenny Powers (Society) / Dr. Cock and Balls (Owen)
Tony Sipp Chad Durbin -Chaz Badoinkadoink (Mike Kramer)
Vinnie Pestano Justin Germano
Frank Herrmann -Homer (Owen)
Kelvin De La Cruz Jeanmar Gomez Nick Hagadone David Huff Josh Judy -Judge (Mike Kramer) Corey Kluber Zach McAllister Hector Rondon Joe Smith -Marquez Smiff (Steve Buffum) Jess Todd
Ezequiel Carrera Trevor Crowe -Fungus (Steve Buffum)
Owen emailed me with a handful of nicknames. As you can see he made the list about half a dozen times and as a result is probably a bit of a quasi celebrity amongst his friends and (most importantly) members of the opposite sex. So send your suggestions and you to could be super cool. (If you want your last name included I will do that. There will be no protecting the anonymity of the innocent in the Glance.)
I'm not head over heels about the Axe Man for Santana. It makes me think of Axe Body spray, which makes me think of complete douche bags. But, in the absence of alternatives, the Axe Man it is. At least for the week.
Owen did offer many explanations for nicknames, which I will be taking into consideration. But, I think a good nickname should need to be explained, so don't expect me to include those in the column, unless of course they are especially hilarious.
I had Orlando Cabrera as "Flapjacks OC" last week. This week he is "Orly" the reason for this is simple. Steve Buffum prefers "Orly." Steve Buffum is smarter, funnier, a better writer, and quite possibly taller than me. It would be ridiculous to call Cabrera anything but "Orly" in light of this.
So flapjacks jumps right over to Mitch Talbot.
If you think you have a good nickname, go ahead and email me. I got one last week and some of those suggestions are now on the list, for the time being.
*If you want credit for a nickname you have to include your name. If I have attributed a nickname to someone other than who came up with it, let me know. I will research your claim for damn near 5-10 seconds before deciding if a change is in order.
**As you will see, the nicknames don't have to make a lick of sense. I'm quite taken with nonsensical nicknames that don't actually mean anything or have any type of connection to a player. The funnier they sound, the better.
***Someone will have the word "flapjacks" in their nickname. This is an absolute certainty.
****I'm partial to nonsense. (No Way!)
*****If you think the list sucks, do something about it. Send me an email.
******Just don't expect a reply right away. I'm really horrible at that stuff.
That's all for now.
An Awkward Glance Ahead At The Cavs
Well, the Cavs did it last week. As predicted in my Twe-cap, they stupidly won a few games and ended up in a tie for last place with the Minnesota Timberwoves in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes.
BUT, they did not tank. And this is important. I believe that karma looks unfavorably on tanking and your results will be affected . The Cavs should absolutely play out the string to the best of their ability, such as it is, ping pong balls be damned. That is our best chance to land the #1 pick this year.
I always get a big laugh when someone from Boston...scratch that, a Boston fan (they are so rarely actually from Boston.*) complains about the 2008 draft, as if it is some sort of birthright that they deserved Kevin Durant. Don't get me wrong; I don't get a laugh because Boston fans are funny. No, I get a laugh because after one of them complains about something "bad" that happened to Boston sports since the turn of the century, I punch them in the face. Really hard. It's hilarious. Try it.
Then they look all confused which is even more hilarious. They're like "Why'd ya hit me so wicked hawd" in their stupid fake accents. "Now my nose is bleedin' on my green jersey." I'm telling you, there's nothing better.
*They all have some BS excuse as to why they are a Red Sox fan. It usually has something to do with an uncle giving them an autographed ball signed by Chico Walker or some such nonsense. It's all crap. They are frontrunners. They are to be scorned. They should start a bowling team with NE Ohio Steelers fans.
But, the reason they didn't win the lottery is because of their unrepentant tank job that season. It was ridiculous. Karma did not approve.
Of course, there's only so much karma can do and with Kevin McHale still drawing oxygen and inexplicably drawing a paycheck as an NBA GM, it wasn't long before the sad sack Celtics had Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. You all know what happened next. So I repeat. The next time you hear a Boston fan complain about anything, take my advice and punch them directly in the face. If they are a kid, punch their dad in the face.
It is so satisfying.
Actor In My Movie
Dana Wheeler Nicholson
I really Like Friday Night Lights. I watched every episode, form its inception up until the final episode of season 3 way back in 2009. It was one of those weird things. It was at the beginning of April and it was the Indians Home opener. I remember it was on a Friday. I remember it was raining. The rain caused a delay. And it was delayed. And delayed. And I missed the show.
I missed the show, and somehow, inexplicably, I have never seen it since.
Isn't that crazy? I watched every episode up until then. I haven't seen one since. The only other time that has happened to me was ER, but that was on purpose. I used to love ER. I wouldn't miss it for anything. And this was before DVRs. Back then it took a large amount of commitment to make sure you never, ever missed an episode of something.
With ER, I just realized what a ridiculously crappy show I was watching. If you are a fan of ER you may remember the moment that they lost me. It was in the middle of season 4 or 5 probably. Dr Green (Goose) had been dating some other doctor for a good part of the season. Then, in one episode, she all of a sudden goes bananas and locks him in the cat scan room. Turns out she's not a doctor at all but an escaped mental patient.
Seriously. That's where they took it. Honest to God, I did not miss a single minute of the show up until that point, and I did not see a single minute of the show after it.
But that isn't what happened with Friday Night Lights. I'd seen every episode and loved every second. I even powered through the whole "Landry kills the rapist and dumps him in the creek and gets away with it" nonsense. Everybody makes mistakes (I'm talking about the writers here, not Landry).
But as much as I loved FNL, I loved my Indians more. And because of the long rain delay, I missed that episode. It happened to be the season finale. I always planned on getting the DVDs to watch that last episode, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
People who know me can attest, I'm a very lazy man. But I refuse to miss episodes and I won't jump ahead. I've missed two whole seasons because of that rain delay.
But anyway, that's not important*. What's important is that Dana Wheeler Nicholson played Tyra's mom in Friday Night Lights. Those of you who watched FNL know who I'm talking about. You're saying "Yeah, I know her. Yeah. She's kind of hot for an older chick. Yeah, I like her. She's kind of familiar too"
*Or maybe it's tremendously important. I can't decide. I often can't decide about those types of things.
Those of you who didn't watch FNL are unimportant and just have to trust me. That's what they're saying.
But, Friday Night Lights is not why Dana is in my movie. FNL is just the most likely thing that my readers would recognizer her in. Either that or Tombstone.
No, the reason that Dana Wheeler Nicholson is in my movie is because she is Gail Stanwyk. Wife to Alan Stanwyk. Love interest to Irwin Fletcher. She plays tennis. She knows the Underhills. She's married to a bigamist. She was pretty plowed at John Cocktoasten's wedding. And she's in my movie.