A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Manny Acta

It's the first day of classes, and I always start off telling my students that they can A out of the class (leave when they have an A for the class - even if it's a couple of days early), but no student who has ever tried to "A out" has actually achieved it - at least of thoese students telling me that they're going to do it. Usually, I tell them that they're eligible to make it happen, and then, it happens, but alas...
In real life, Lebron James predicted that they Heat would win 8 championships, but unfortunately, they lost the first one last night to the Mavericks: 105-95. Thus, just like a guy who once missed 9 of the first 11 classes, neither one did what was predicted.
Nobody predicted that the Indians would be in first place as they've been for the early part of this season. It just happened. While they phoned in the past few weeks, a period that ended with a Yankee sweep (after the Yankees had their hats handed to them by the Red Sox the previous 3 games), they have been largely overachieving, and for that, Cleveland shouldn't be throwing themselves into Lake Erie just yet.
My yearly preview of choice (Athalon) expressed their season in terms of good news and bad news. The good was that they "aren't likely to finish in 4th place once again." However, the bad news was that they "appear headed for last place in the American League Central - one spot below the seemingly always rebuilding Royals. The Indians are too young and have too many questions to be considered anything but a doormat."
Despite being 1-9 in their last 10, they are still 34-29 (33-20 was just a crazy start). They're still in first as the Tigers lost yesterday, too. And while they have one more game against the Yankees, this one is against AJ Burnett, who quite frankly has been lousy as of late, so if the Tribe can just jump all over him quickly with an Asdrubal Cabrerra punch, we can see good things.
But that said, doing something like Fausto Carmona plunking Mark Teixera after all of the Red Sox pitchers used the Yankees for target practice (and the Big Papi plunk back) isn't going to reverse the course of this sinking ship. What is going to help is having Shin Soo Choo hit something other than the bottle. The Indians also need Carlos Santana making hits again.
Justin Masterson had aspirations and hopes, and he can still restore them as can Josh Tomlin and Mitch Talbot. And while we believe in Fausto Carmona less than Zach Greinke (the name says it all - who did he sell his soul to in order to move out from under the weight of that Big Papi home run on July 31, 2006?), we have to believe that there is potential for him to be better than the worst of the regular Indians pitchers at this point.
So for Manny Acta to do nothing right now when it comes to defending his team against the Yankees is just wrong. Bill Veeck put it best: "Hating the Yankees isn't part of my act. It is one of those exquisite times when life and art are in perfect conjunction." We agree, and for the fact that they're a halfass mirage of what they used to be (something the Red Sox have been making quite clear in all of their games together this year except one), it's time to stop pretending that this longball and Jeter's quest for 3,000 is making them contenders. The gig is over, and it was nice while it lasted, but now that a way over-performing Bartolo Colon is out, how long can Granderson and Teixera achieve all for the nothing on that roster?
But in the end, it's about wanting to be winners if the option is there. If you're going to contend in September instead of pretend in May, then rise up and want it.
If not, go home. Besides, the Cuyahoga Valley is pretty this time of year.

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