ALCS Game 7: The End?

The Cleveland Indians broke my heart last night, although I knew it was coming since after game 5. This one hurt worse than in 1997. This one hurt worse than anything in my 24 years as a sports fan.

I believed in this team. I fell in love with this team. I knew since the beginning of the season that his team had what it took to win it all. I thought that nothing was going to stop us. After the World Series concludes, one of those teams will raise our trophy.

This was the year. This was the year that we had the lineup, the pitching, the perfect chemistry. We had it all and we didn’t get it done. What is the excuse now? Why do I feel so hopeless? Because no team for the rest of my life can be as prepared or built as well as this Indians team was. A team will never have a better shot at winning it all.

I’ll remember this Indians team for many things, many high moments. The team I followed pretty hard the year I started this blog. They got close, as close as you can get to the show without actually getting there. It hurts, it really does.

I knew we’d lose last night and in fact, I couldn’t even pain myself to watch any reaction about the game or the final 3 outs. I didn’t call any friends or family members that were Tribe fans today. I didn’t speak about it at my office. I turned the channel or radio each time there was talk about what happened. It really hurts that bad. I don’t want any more reaction. I want to disappear from the Major League Baseball season for a while, possibly until next spring.

I want to thank all our fans and readers for an awesome season. This blog has been a life-changing experience and I hope that some of my passion for the game leaks through into my writing and posts. That said, I’m taking a good amount of time off here at Diamond Hoggers. I don’t know when it will end but I will be back as soon as I feel inspired. Right now I’m at the opposite end of the meter.

ALCS Game 6: Crushed Cleveland Dreams

It was over really before it got started, as it was in game 5. Excitement was quickly replaced with urgency. Finally the reality of the situation had just set in. The Cleveland Indians have one game to save their entire season of work, and it’s a game 7 against the Red Sox at Fenway with their 100 million dollar guy on the mound.

When we were watching the ballgame, we had just finished saying that JD Drew was a career disappointment. That with just one big homerun that would result in a grand slam, he could redeem an entire season of killing rallies and not coming through in the clutch.

Then it happened.

Just like that, the Cleveland Indians are one game away from letting this series and season slip away from them. Go help them this evening.

[Box Score]

So I hear there is a game today

As you all know, tonight is game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Editor George and I have met up for a Diamond Hoggers meeting of the Chairmen of the Board. It’s going to be an important night of Cigars, Dewars, Dip, and end up at the Winking Lizard bar. The game of the century for the Indians is on tap, and the fate rests in the hands of Fausto Carmona.

If the Indians make the series tonight against Curt Schilling in Boston, I’ll go completely nuts and celebrate late into the morning hours….I really will.

Pictures to come from tonight. GO INDIANS!

Editor George & Ginger are coming to town!

Editor George and Ginger (a night on the town)
Tonight around midnght, when most of you are safely tucking yourselves into bed, or out howling at the moon; I’ll be picking up Editor George and his lovely girlfriend Ginger Chelsea. That’s right, you’re hearing it correct. Although we had a summer baseball trip planned to hit several stadiums of the midwest, it never happened. George’s flight got delayed until the weekend was nearly over, and then he never re-scheduled a flight. His reason? He is fed up with airlines. Do you think he’s fed up with airlines when his beloved little Ginger wants to fly out to Ohio for a wedding of her friend’s cousin’s friend whose uncle bla bla bla? Nope, he gets his ass up and books a flight.

The trip out here isn’t without it’s benefits. Editor George will be held captive all weekend at my Greyhawk Circle bungalo, without his precious girlfriend. I’m going to feed him all kinds of booze, skoal straight dips, and nasty stories. By the end of the weekend he should be back to normal.

In preparation for our co-editor coming to town, I’ve purchased supplies. Dip (of course), a Heineken Light mini-keg (for the girls), enough Miller Lite that you won’t shit right for weeks, Cuban cigars (Cohiba mang’), and some high end Gentleman’s Jack along with some Chivas Scotch. If we don’t burn the place down by tomorrow night, we’ll be watching the Cleveland Indians bring home a championship, and we can listen to Editor George’s conspiracy theories on why Joe Torre is no longer Yankees manager.
Stay tuned for some photos……

ALCS Game 5: Boston 7, Cleveland 1

One couldn’t figure that this series would really only go 5 games could they? Well I did. I thought last night that destiny was going to overpower anything that the Red Sox could throw at the Indians and their fired up crowd at Jacobs Field. In the end, Josh Beckett was too much. Beckett fanned a postseason career high 11 Indians last night and allowed only 1 run over 8 innings, and none after the first frame to improve to 5-0 all time in the postseason season with an ERA just over 1.00.

I can’t write it up and make it poetic. I can’t paint a picture on this that makes it majestic. The Indians lost an opportunity to have one of the greatest victories in the history of the franchise. Their ace was on the hill and they had a chance to beat the game’s finest postseason/big game pitcher and they failed. If they are meant in destiny by the baseball Gods to win the pennant, they’ll have to do it as they’ve done their previous 5, celebrating on the oppositions field on the road.

The good news is they can make it the finest saturday night of the entire season tomorrow night. It will be a joyous and celebratory event at my house. Fausto Carmona can become a legend at age 23. The Indians are going to write a new chapter in their history book, but the mystery is what will it say?

[Box Score]

ALCS Game 5: The Once and Future Mighty Indians

The Cleveland Indians tonight have a chance to rewrite all that is good in baseball. This is what teams play games, seasons, careers for. This is the reason they lace it up, the one’s that love the game anyways. This is what ties a million dollar world-class athlete to his boyhood dreams after all the lights have gone out each night in the big city that he plays. The dream of playing in the World Series. Some are playing for their jobs and as Jake Taylor says in Major League, “some of you won’t be back next year.”

This is some players’ only chance to make it to the World Series. It could be all of this team’s only chance. Fates and careers will be decided tonight. There is no grander stage. There is no better drama in movie theatres. This is when the dreams are while you are awake. The Cleveland Indians up I-71 are playing for a chance to go to the World Series tonight. By tomorrow morning we might very well be talking about the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. We might be hearing about the party that went late into the night and into the wee morning hours as the rest of us go to work.

This is our team, our Indians. This is the blue collar team who wins ugly and represents it’s city well. These guys are tight knit, and they play hard every night. They’ve gotten this far. One last step remains to make this season a memorable one and to win their 3rd pennant in 12 years.

Legends have been carved on this stage. You think back through the years to the images of other teams celebrating on this stage and wondering what it will be like to wake up one morning and have your team playing for it all. This is the Indians chance to carve that history and be that team. There is no turning back now.

Hold on baseball fans. 27 outs from now, the Cleveland Indians just might be in the World Series.

Breaking News: Joe Torre rejects Yankees $5 million offer

The Joe Torre era in New York is over. Today, Torre rejected a $5 million dollar, 1 year contract from Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner. Torre had flown to Legends Field in Tampa, the spring home of the Yankees for an unplanned meeting with the Yankees front office hubs.

Ultimately, Torre should take some of the heat–but at the same time he was working with expired milk on the roster for a while. He wasn’t given the replenished young players to go out and win, but tired and over the prime veterans who were overpriced and tough to trade due to their high dollar contracts.

Torre will be remembered for his 4 World Championships and the #6 he wore on his back, which in the future will probably be retired by Yankees management. It was a fine run, and now that it’s over baseball must most likely say goodbye to one of it’s greatest managers of the modern era, if not ever.

In other news, Colorado is your NL Champion

So yeah, the Colorado Rockies have advanced to the World Series. It seems like no one cared about this NLCS series to begin with, but the Rockies are damn good. Winning 21 of 22? I’ve never heard of such shit. Whoever they meet in the World Series has to be a bit wary of this group. There is just something about them.

Jason Stark has a good read about just how unlikely a run this was.

Reds want to make Dunn a Cincinnati fixture for years to come

The Cincinnati Reds calmed my fears a bit this week. Adam Dunn’s $13 million dollar option is going to be picked up for 2008, and there’s talk that he is going to be given a long term extension to remain a red for the rest of the decade, allowing the franchise to build around him.

Once again, this move shows me owner Bob Castellini is committed to making this franchise a winner. You don’t let players like Dunn who come along once in a lifetime go. Dunn has been a good member of the team, staying out of trouble and playing hard every night. He’s also the only man in baseball who has homered 40 or more times in 4 straight seasons.

“It’s very difficult to replace that kind of offense,” Castellini said. “And I think Adam is ready to step up and be a leader on this team.”

Castellini and Dunn had lunch just before the season ended. There was a meeting of the minds.

“Adam definitely wants to be here, and he wants to win,” Castellini said.

This is the best Cincinnati Reds news I have gotten in a long, long time. With a core of Dunn, Harang, Hamilton, Bailey, Arroyo, Phillips and some good acquisitions, this team could be the next make of the Colorado Rockies. Why not the Reds?

Read More:

Dusty-ball coming to Cincinnati

Dusty Baker has been named the new manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Reds owner Bob Castellini is happy to anounce that Baker will be the man to lead this Reds team into a new era, one that hopefully brings playoff appearances and a trip to the franchise’s first World Series since 1990.

I have to say that Castellini’s commitment to making this team a winner is very encouraging. I can’t tell you how much it means that he brings in a big time manager that can possibly take this team to the next level, something that no one has been able to do in the past decade.
I thought the Reds would once again name the interim manager Pete Mackinin as the full time guy as they had done with Jack Mckeon, Dave Miley, and Jerry Narron. I was pleasantly wrong and surprised.

While many people around baseball; namely Cubs and Giants fans; want to discredit the managerial skills of Dusty Baker, I believe he has as good of a chance as any manager of turning this team around. He often worked with a strapped payroll similar to the one in Cincinnati when he was in San Francisco. He and Brian Sabean constantly had those teams in contention and I expect the same type of success here in Cincinnati.

To Clinch, Indians need Sizemore to star


They were talking on ESPN radio this morning about how the Red Sox are a team full of stars and how outside of maybe Victor Martinez, the Cleveland Indians lack that superstar guy like the Red Sox have several of. I couldn’t disagree more. The Red Sox may have established superstars who get attention from the national media cock-gobblers, but the Indians are not without their stars. A win over the Red Sox will only take a step to further establish these guys like the teams of the 90’s were. To these guys like Colin Cowherd who make such statements about my Indians, I ask: is Fausto Carmona, C.C. Sabathia, and Travis Hafner chop liver? Most of all, he’s really forgetting about one guy.Grady Sizemore is a legitimate superstar. He’s been an All-Star two seasons in a row now, and he’s gotten some huge hits here in the postseason. Other than game 2 in the ALCS, Sizemore has been hitless in this series, including the last two games in Cleveland. To get past Josh Beckett and the Red Sox in game 5, and advance to their first World Series in 10 years, the Indians need a big game from their face player.

If Sizemore can hit another homerun to lead off the game as he did in game 4 in the Bronx in the ALDS, or get a big hit early in the game off Beckett, he can rattle the Red Sox and get some huge momentum going for the Indians. This is pretty much common sense, but I’m circling Sizemore as my player to watch in this game. He’s more than due and is seeming to set a trend that when the spotlight shines bright, he steps up. He has a flair for the dramatics and a big game maturity beyond his 25 years of age.

I’ve waited since Sizemore burst on the scene to see what he’d do in the postseason. Now that he’s got his shot to showcase these skills on baseball’s grandest of stages, I am becoming increasingly greedy. I want to see Grady get World Series experience. It is the final step for him becoming one of the league’s premiere players. If he can ‘have a day’ tomorrow night, the Indians are going to the World Series and John Mellencamp will be blaring on the Jacobs Field loud speakers after 27 outs.

The Top 10 Reasons Manny Ramirez raised his arms after his ALCS Homerun

10. In Manny’s World, hitting a baseball between the foul polls is a field goal.

9. It was a Red Sox gesture of surrender.

8. Manny was showing Indians pitchers the rib they were going to be throwing four seamers at all Spring Training.

7. Manny forgot where he was supposed to run.

6. Flashing back to when he was with the Indians, Manny was trying to start the wave.

5. Knowing he’d earned some TV face time, Ramirez was showing off his Whopee Goldberg homage ‘doo.

4. He wanted to get his hands above the level of the sea of fawning spoog that the TV announcers had been spurting his way all series long.

3. Manny is a classless jerk.

2. It was a signal directed at the Red Sox GM, meaning: “If you think my last contract was bad, the next one’s going to be freakin’ armed robbery baby!”

1. Manny isn’t too good at math and didn’t realize that two plus one wasn’t greater than seven.

I don’t know why, but we picture Manny Ramirez having the mentality of the Buffoon (Adam Sandler).

ALCS Game 4: Just a Moment Away

Check that Tribe fans. The Magic has been back. The Cleveland Indians are just one more postseason victory away from climbing back to the World Series for the first time since before I’d even kissed a woman.

Paul Byrd continued his smoke and mirrors attack, and the Indians found a way to get to Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in winning their third ALCS game in a row. The Tribe withstood a burst of fury from the Red Sox bats; as they became the first team to ever hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns in League Championship Series history.

Terry Francona looks a bit confused. When Mike Lowell popped out for the first out in the 9th inning tonight he looked shocked. After the game Peter Gammons could be seen talking to other media members on the Jacobs Field battle ground; waving his arms and shrugging his shoulders at how this little engine that could Indians team could take down his mighty Red Sox three games in a row.

It hasn’t been easy; this team just wins ugly as it has all season long. It took 11 innings and everything short of throwing the kitchen sink at the ‘sawks to even this series last saturday night. The stars haven’t shined for the Indians in this series: Grady Sizemore has 3 hits (all in game 2). Travis Hafner went hitless with 4 strikeouts tonight. Victor Martinez got his first hit from the right side of the plate all postseason tonight, and it was against Wakefield, a right-handed pitcher. Isn’t it fitting that a journeyman pitcher in Paul Byrd and a streaky #3 starter in Jake Westbrook have accounted for the wins from the Indians starters; and not the two loaded-arsenal Cy Young candidates Sabathia and Carmona. Isn’t it just typical of this team?

It won’t be easy. Josh Beckett in 8 career postseason starts has a 1.87 ERA. Teams in the postseason with Josh Beckett on the roster have won all 4 postseason series they’ve played. If the Indians are going to close this series down at home and pour out champagne at the Jake for their 42,000 champion starved teepee heads, they’ll have to beat the best.

The bottom line is that the Indians have put themselves in a position where Boston must now have a 3 game sweep against them to keep them from getting to the World Series. Boston will need to beat the best two starters the Indians have consecutively. Otherwise the Indians will enter the World Series as heavy favorites against a white hot Colorado Rockies team.

Whatever happens from here on out; the Indians have given their fans this year the ride of a lifetime. This sneaky-good team had it’s low points during the season when it caused some to question whether they could even hold off the Detroit Tigers. Now this group led by a skipper in Eric Wedge, who’s been on the hot seat all season long, finds themselves a win away from playing for it all near Halloween.

Many Indians fans will disagree with me. They’ll say that they want to be greedy and not relax, just end this thing right now in game 5. Something tells me there is no reason to worry or feel urgency anymore. Something tells me that this team will answer sometime very soon and deliver as they have in the face of odds all season long. If not in game 5, it will be game 6. To quote Chicago Cubs fans: “It’s Gonna Happen.”

[Box Score]