July 30, 2012

Every Spring my neighbor carefully plants bunches of colorful pansies in her yard. They always look fresh and inviting after a harsh winter but as the relentless heat of Summer arrives she fights a daily struggle to maintain with water, more water and fervent entreaties to the plant gods and the Weatherman.

Alas, by the end of July or mid August the pansies wilt regardless of what she does or how much she hopes. Frustrated and emotionally spent, she concedes defeat to Nature but faithfully plants again the next year. With pansies, as in Life, some things just don’t work out as hoped and others are simply what they are. Nature (plants’ and our own) can be treacherous at times.

Speaking of Pansies

Perhaps the last ten days best sum up the Frustration that is the 2012 Cleveland Indians. They may also sum up the practical end of the season. With a tough August schedule (Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and A’s) the Indians simply can not afford such heartless, lackluster baseball. If Antonetti needs an excuse, he has it now.

The Tribe lost 3 of 4 at home to stopgap young starters for the Orioles, rebounded to win 2 of 3 from Verlander and the powerful Tigers then absolutely, utterly tanked against the lowly Twins. The Indians now trail the White Sox by 5.5 games and drift precariously in 7th place in the two team Wild Card Race.

The Indians have scored 3 runs or less in 48 of 103 games this season. Other recent numbers confirm the sad, wilted story:

Oriole Starter                         v Tribe                           v Rest of League

Gonzalez                                1-0, 2.70                               1-2, 4.27             Rookie, 3rd career start

Tillman                                   1-0, 1.35                               2-1, 1.80

Britton                                    1-0, 0.00                               0-0, 9.31

Hunter                                    0-1, 3.86                               4-4, 5.75

Twins Starter

Deduno                                   1-0, 1.28                                1-0, 3.94           4th start

Duensing                               1-0, 1.50                                 1-6, 4.86            prior start 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R

Totals                            5-1, 1.73                               9-13, 4.72

The Immortal Seth McClung

Remember the 2005 season? The Indians battled hard with the Red Sox for the Wild Card spot going into the final week but stumbled home, losing 6 of their last 7 to miss the playoffs (the Tribe even lost to KC 5-4 when Grady of all people lost a routine fly in the sun).

Two of those losses were to Tampa Bay (66-91) and one in particular to Seth McClung by the score of 1-0. In what seems like the Indians’ perpetual purgatory of Groundhog Day, the Rays nipped Cliff Lee for a run in the top of the 8th. Ben Broussard led off the bottom of the inning with a 2B but the never advanced another foot. Aaron Boone twice failed to get a bunt down and grounded out, Casey Blake could not get the ball out of the infield and Grady popped up to end the inning. In the 9th Coco Crisp led off with a single but Jhonny Perlata grounded into a DP and Hafner tapped out.

In a crucial game the Tribe managed but 5 hits and scored zero runs. Afterward the team talked reverently about McClung and his breaking ball as if he was Warren Spahn and Boone said he could count on one hand the number of times he failed to execute a bunt like that. The Indians always have such impeccable timing.

To add further insult, Indians castoff Danys Baez finished the game for his 41st save. McClung was 4-11, 7.69 against the AL that year but 3-0, 1.77 against the Indians. He ended his career 26-34, 5.46 in parts of 6 seasons.

Nothing has really changed in 7 years, has it? No wonder attendance is low and STO’s ratings are down 24%.

The Indians will make a mini-run and tease us again, they always do. But when they inevitably fall just a little bit short and we face offseason laments of “What if  . . .”, recall the wilted pansies of late July. And remember Seth McClung.



So, Indians fans, who do you believe? Cast your vote.

— “I was an accomplice to my own frustrations.”           Peter Shaffer, Screenwriter, Amadeus

— “It is hardly possible to build anything if
frustration, bitterness and a mood of
helplessness prevail.”                                                  Lech Walesa

— “Frustration, although quite painful at times,
is very positive and an essential part
of success.”                                                                 Bo Bennett, Motivational Speaker


  • joey says:

    in my opinion,the front office dropped the ball yet again.although i have no problem with them taking a chance on grady this past off season,being if he is healthy.hes a top 10 all around outfielder in the game.and really i dont care about the jimenez trade last season,being white,and pomeranz kinda stink.plus the fact that r draft results since john hart left r nothing to write home about.chances r that trade is a wash.what im upset about is they couldve signed either cespedes or willingham for whats considerd cheap in mlb standards,but they were affraid to pull the trigger.they couldve signed either one of those two to play everyday,and still had grady as a insurance policy.what also upsets me is that r minor league system stinks.our front office continues to make bad decisions.maybe they make bad decisions cuz ownership wont anty up the much needed funds,but the cheapskate tampa rays continue to draft well and be competitive in the A.L. east.jeez imagine if we were in the east.we might only have 40 wins this season.something drastic needs to change with this orginazation.me my family and friends r done spending money on the same ol same ol!

  • Will McIlroy says:

    Choo was quoted in the PD as saying the Indians play well for a time and then fade every year (“I feel like it’s the same situation every time.”). Most fans feel the same.

    Antonetti needs to chose his path and then be forceful and creative. No more band aids and platoons.

  • Jay says:

    Frustration is fine but the Indians have not been able to move past it since 1948.