Today’s game was probably the first Indians game I missed all season. Even if I can’t be near a television or a radio, I usually stream the radio or television broadcast over my phone. Unfortunately, we went on an early trip to see the Redwood trees in Muir Woods and my phone’s battery was already struggling by the time the game started at noon. I read about the game and watched some replays, so I’ll share some thoughts on it. What I wanted to focus on in this post was how I spent my evening – attending the Athletics-Marlins game at the Oakland Coliseum.
You may be asking yourself, “What in the world does Marlins-Athletics have to do with the Cleveland Indians.” Aside from the handful of former Indians I saw tonight (Coco Crisp, Craig Breslow), there’s actually more in common between the two than you may think. Florida and Oakland are two teams that got off to strong starts this season, and have just been dreadful recently (sounds somewhat familiar). They both have new managers (Bob Geren was fired in Oakland and Edwin Rodriguez resigned in Florida) while the Indians have a new hitting coach (Bruce Fields) after John Nunnally was fired. Oakland and Florida both struggle to draw fans, while the same can often be said about the Indians.
What struck me the most was the atmosphere and the fans’ attitudes – I honestly felt at times like I was sitting in Progressive Field (although Cleveland’s park is much nicer). There’s a small group of hardcore fans that bang on drums and wave an inflatable Godzilla in honor of Hideki Matsui. This reminded me of John Adams and his drum in Cleveland, and the dedicated fans that tend to join him in the bleachers. The fans around me were spirited and knowledgeable, and were about to tear their hair out over the Athletics’ offense. The Marlins and Athletics each had 5 hits; even though the Marlins won 3-0 (Oakland also made two errors in this game).
There was a point when the group of guys behind me started to flip out every time an A’s batter grounded out, or popped up to end a rally. By the end of the game, one of them angrily exclaimed “That’s it, I’m done. I’m not coming back until they learn how to hit.” I think I said the same exact phrase about 30 times this past weekend (yet I go back, I always go back). It was nice to find a group of people to commiserate with, even if we live across the country from each other and root for different teams.
Now, about today’s game – it seems that once again Carlos Carrasco was impressive. He appears to build more confidence as he goes along, and is quite a nice contribution to the starting rotation. I must say, Carrasco and Josh Tomlin have both been very pleasant surprises for me so far this season. You probably saw that Tomlin just tied the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive starts of five or more innings at 28. Who know that he could be so good offensively as well? (2-2 with an RBI on Tuesday).
I’ve always liked the intangibles that Orlando Cabrera brings to the Indians; he’s a strong veteran presence and seems to be a good leader to the young players. I’ve been less pleased with his offensive and defensive performances; today he earns a reprieve from any criticism though (actually, today’s game may earn him a full week off from my complaining). I hate to burst the bubble somewhat – even though the Indians managed to score six runs today, it seems like they could’ve really broken this one open at several different points. They put multiple runners on base in all but one inning, yet were still 6-21 with runners in scoring position. This was still worlds better than the games I saw in San Francisco last weekend; baby steps forward I guess!
The Indians are off on Thursday, before they head to Cincinnati for the second half of the Battle of Ohio. Let’s cross our fingers/knock on wood/etc. that they can keep up their winning ways against the Reds!