The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for August 3rd, 2006

Wedge listens, Indians score

Posted by disappointmentzone on 3 August 2006

If you would have looked at the Indians starting lineup before the game against Boston on Thursday night you probably wouldn’t have thought much of it. Boone got the start at third base, Hollandsworth got the start in left field, Choo the start in right, Inglett at second base, Luna at short. Not exactly the 1939 Yankees.

But had you looked a bit closer–looked beyond the names and to the order in which they appeared–an interesting pattern would have emerged.

Sizemore–left handed
Inglett–left handed
Hafner–left handed
Martinez–switch hitter
Blake–right handed
Hollandsworth–left handed
Choo–left handed
Luna–right handed
Boone–right handed.

And if you had looked a bit deeper into the splits of these players an even more telling patter would have emerged.

Sizemore–hits RHP best
Inglett–hits RHP best
Hafner–hits RHP well
Martinez–hits RHP well
Blake–hits RHP best
Hollandsworth–hits RHP best
Choo–hits RHP best
Luna–hits LHP best
Boone–hits LHP best

John Beckett, RHP, started for Boston. His line? 6 IP, 11 hits, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 K, 3 HR.

All the damage–six of the seven runs–came in the sixth inning when, after Sizemore grounded out to start the inning, seven consecutive batters reached base with a hit, including a two-run homer from Hafner and a grand slam from Choo. All told the Indians had 12 hits and two walks. This includes Sizemore, who’s hitting .350/.434/.611 against RHP this season, going 0-5. Everyone else had at least one hit, including Inglett and Blake, who each had two hits, and Hafner, who went 3-3 with a walk. The Indians loaded the bases again in the seventh inning but failed to score when Blake grounded into a double play. And who were the men on base? Inglett, Hafner, and Martinez, who all reached base safely after Sizemore led off the inning recording an out.

The Disappointment Zone has seen a seven-fold increase in daily visitor traffic over the last two weeks, but even with that level of modest popularity I never would have thought that Eric Wedge would have not only visited the site, but would have also considered and then implimented my suggestion to platoon the lineup. Good work, Mr. Wedge.

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More on Reghi, commentators in general

Posted by disappointmentzone on 3 August 2006

Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote his column today about the Cavs unfairly (or so it seems) firing Michael Reghi, who had been the play-by-play man for Cavs games on FSN Ohio. I think Pluto captures the unfortunate timing (for Reghi) of the decision and suspicious Detroit-ification that has happened to the Cavs since Detroit native Dan Gilbert bought the franchise. If anything, it’s a good read. [Thanks Hornless Rhino for the tip]

One thing should be noted. Michael Reghi grew up in Detroit. For of his professional career he’s worked mostly in Ohio (Toledo and Cleveland) and he’s been with the Cavs for the last 12 years. If a set of circumstances would allow for loyalty to a basketball team to be cultivated as an adult, certainly working closely with one team and one city for so long are those circumstances. But fandom is usually forged at a young age and it probably isn’t a stretch to think that some small portion of Reghi still pulls for the Pistons.

Now, I have no problem with this. Reghi was a professional and part of being a professional is knowing how to separate one’s personal life from one’s professional life. If every night Reghi went home, fired up his TiVo, and watched the FSN Detroit broadcast of the Pistons while rooting wildly and passionately, as long as it didn’t affect his on-air broadcasts of Cavs games I would have no problem with it.

Which is not to say that other fans wouldn’t have a problem. Reghi was effective as the voice of the Cavs in part because he summoned what sounded like great affection and genuine interest in the team and the outcome of each game. This, in turn, made Reghi into a figure whose life, perhaps more than anybody except the players, rode the crest of the team’s success, reaching magnificent heights in victory and unthinkably deep valleys in defeat (I’m thinking of the post-Price, pre-James years). How could he not pull for a team under such circumstances? Reghi was successful because he was able to capture and express how a lot of fans felt, both in the moment (his long, mostly ridiculous attempts at rendering verbally a LBJ breakaway dunk) and in general (his sunny optimism before each game always lent credence to the optimism fans felt prior to each game). He never sounded glib or insincere.

But that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t insincere, or that he life didn’t follow the rollercoaster of the team. All along Reghi could have been a Pistons fan doing a great performance of a Cavs fan. But would this change anything? Probably only in hindsight. If one day everyone found out that Reghi actually rooted for the Pistons I think his legacy as the voice of the Cavs would be tarnished. If we never found out which team he pulled for–Pistons, Cavs, or otherwise–we would all assume it was the Cavs, and we’d be happy.

I think being a play-by-play man for a team (and not for ESPN or TNT) involves a pact–implicitly or explicit–between the play-by-play man and the fan that the play-by-play man is actually a fan himself. This is why teams often hire old stars to do the color commentary. We assume they are fans as well, and their level of commitment to the team is in proportion to their level of superstardom. This is a primary reason why Austin Carr is allowed to do color commentary in Cleveland. If he weren’t a star the Cavs would find an articulate, thoughtful, interesting former player to do color commentary for the local broadcasts on WUAB (there is still hope for Steve Williams on FSN Ohio). So of the two men working the broadcast, one is typecast as a person with a personal rooting interest in the home team (the former player) and the other does what he can to create the appearance–sincere or not–that he also pulls for the home team.

Which is the problem with bringing in a guy from Detroit to replace Reghi. Those people who thought Reghi rooted for the Cavs are going to assume–fairly, I would add–that McLeod, who has spent the last 22 years as a broadcaster in Detroit, is Pistons fan. It can be no other way. The first time McLeod says anything these fans are going to feel the pinch of disingenuousness. Which is a problem. If the new guy were coming in from Boise, Idaho, fans would feel less apprehension. Bringing a guy from the town of the team’s biggest rivals was not a smart decision irrespective of whether firing Michael Reghi was.

UPDATE: In an interesting twist, McLeod is actually from Strongsville, Ohio. He’s like the photo-negative image of Reghi.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, flotsam and Jetsam | 3 Comments »

Worst bullpen in league actually sinks father down

Posted by disappointmentzone on 3 August 2006

If you don’t know what happened in last night’s Indians-Sox game then don’t read any futher.

But for those who watched it or listened to it or read about it in the paper this morning…

That may very well have been Fausto Carmona’s Rick Ankiel moment. Carmona strikes out the first two batters. Then hits the next two batters (Mirabelli, Gonzalez), almost hits the third batter–Kevin Youkilis–in the head on ball four, almost hits the fourth batter–Mark Loretta–before Loretta cranks a double that would, without the Green Monster, be a grand slam in most stadiums.

So in his last three appearances Carmona has 1) given up four runs in a tied game, 2) given up a walkoff three-run homer to David Ortiz, and 3) completely collapsed on the mound.

Last night’s performance would only be more damaging would be if it were the playoffs (Ankiel’s meltdown was in game one of the NLDS) or a meaningful game with playoff implications.

And one of the primary reasons an August game against the Red Sox doesn’t have playoff implications for the Indians is because the bullpen is horrid.

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