I think I said something along the lines of “Screw the Indians” a few posts back. Probably also included in that rant that they really weren’t worth my time and hard earned money (of which I have none anyway), all that jazz. Well guess what? With an all too familiar shot of what may only be false hope, Terry Francona was announced as the new manager for the Tribe Monday morning. To say that I was thrilled would be an understatement, and you should be thrilled too, Cleveland.
The first thing that came to mind about Francona taking over the Indians is what Baltimore and the Fighting Showalters have accomplished in manager Buck Showalter’s short tenure there. There’s no doubt that the O’s have talent at the plate, and young talent at that (Machado, Wieters, Jones, etc.), but their pitching staff doesn’t include any big names that would jump out at you and scream playoff run. Still, they currently sit tied with the Yankees in their ALDS matchup heading into tomorrow’s game at Yankee Stadium. A manager’s influence on a ball club can’t always be understated. Add in the two World Series titles, the breaking of the Curse of the Bambino, and the fact that Tito just seems like an old fashioned baseball manager, this just feels good. Here’s a couple quotes that stood out to me as I listened to the introductory press conference yesterday in no particular order:
- “If you have a question about strategy that I can’t answer, shame on me. That’s up to me to answer that.”
- “I don’t want to be a rental manager. I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around.”
- ” Good teams run balls out, play the game right, know the signs & care about each other. We’ll do that here.”
- When asked about the fact that a high payroll doesn’t buy titles… “You’re darn right it doesn’t. It’ll make you an analyst!” (Quote of the year? I think definitely.)
- “When you ask me about pitching, you’ll hear me say that when you think you have enough pitching, you still need more.”
- “I cried a little bit when I told my Dad I was taking this job.”
- “2 main reasons I’m here today, Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti.”
The first thing I want to pick out of there is the last one mentioned. The fact that Francona thinks so highly of Shapiro and Antonetti is the exact reason that there is no reason for either of them to be fired. What is clear in the Indians organization is that the ownership, not the front office, is to blame for not putting their best foot forward in the payroll department. I get that it’s been since 2007 that we really competed, but let’s remember that Shapiro and Antonetti were here to build that team and deal with one of the cheapest ownership groups in sports. These guys are not the problem, they do their best with the budget they are given, and I don’t blame them for hardly anything.
Hearing Terry Francona say that he cried a little when he was telling his father about taking this job is (or at least should be) music to our ears as Tribe fans. It was evident listening to him yesterday that at this time, Cleveland is the only job that he really wants and that he has a personal connection to working to make this team better. Loved it.
The comment on high payrolls was priceless. You could say that I guffawed at that one a bit.
The future of Indians baseball is far from clear and sunny with a high of 75, but it sure looks a hell of a lot better with this man at the helm. Here’s a video recap of the press conference, courtesy of Indians.com and MLB.
Onto the next subject, which I will keep substantially shorter because it is substantially less exciting, the Browns are 0-5. I love the Browns as much as anyone, but that performance was downright discouraging. I may elaborate more later this week as we gear up for round 2 with the Bengals, but for now let’s be happy that Joe Haden returns on Sunday and that this happened early on:
Finally, the Cavs opened up their preseason schedule against Italian juggernaut Montepaschi Siena last night. They won 91-85, but here’s a look at the box score (Courtesy, NBA.com):
I think it’s safe to assume that we will eventually see Waiters in that spot in the back court next to Kyrie, but for their first game of the preseason, there isn’t much to complain about. I like the 7 boards from Zeller. It’s good to see that he’s already doing what we drafted him to do. The Cavs play a real live NBA team tonight when the Bucks come to town, so we’ll elaborate more on them as the preseason unfolds. Lot’s to be excited about.
I promised some Montepaschi Siena action in the title, and I’m about to feed you, baby birds. Best name on the Italian squad? Marco Carrareto. You’re welcome.
Another quick thing to point out before I close up shop for today is that a couple nights ago, Believing Since 1999 had another addition to the All-Twitter Team. STO’s own Katie Witham tweeted back at me after she had lamented being stranded in Charlotte. Pretty cool. Not only is Katie an excellent reporter, but she’s also a fantastic interviewer. If you have never seen some of her one-on-one interviews with some of the Indians, they’re thoroughly entertaining and well done. And guys, don’t get any ideas. She is unfortunately married.
Until next time, keep it real.