-Congrats to Adam Dunn on his 400th career home run. An opposite field shot that landed in the Kauffman Stadium fountain; I find it fitting that this milestone blast came on a Saturday night. Adam Dunn is a Saturday night type of guy. I remember so many of the 400 Dunner. Right down to your first.
-The Pittsburgh Pirates survived 19 innings of baseball on getaway day in St. Louis to beat the Cardinals 6-3 today. As the game wore on, I had a thought. I decided that these two teams were playing for much more than just a single ‘W’ in the standings. The loser of this game could not possibly recover, and the winner would survive to fight another day. I think this is the nail in the Cardinals coffin, truly.
-The Cincinnati Reds pulled a little more magic from their hat on Sunday, winning in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs. The Reds took 3 of 4 over the weekend. It’s just one of those rare years for the Cincinnati Reds. Everything is turning to gold. Xavier Paul? Ryan Ludwick? Todd Frazier? It’s all flowing for the Redlegs right now, and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.
-The only Grady Sizemore mention on any baseball blog today. Sizemore’s status? Yup, still hurt.
-Bryce Harper homered today, his 12th. Your Harper home run post coming momentarily.
So I guess this means that we’ll have to do another Grady Sizemore farewell post when he finally does leave Cleveland. For what it’s worth we still have a sneaking suspicion that Sizemore doesn’t re-sign with the Indians and goes elsewhere to have a really nice season and rejuvenate his career. Because that’s how things go for Cleveland.
Grady Sizemore should be another strong reminder that the players we root for no matter how amazing they may seem to us–will only temporary diversions in our lives following sports.
A lot of people think the Sizemore era ended this past Monday when the Indians declined to pick up the outfielder’s 2012 option. If that was the official ending, the unofficial ending came many, many moons before. The beginning of the end came May 30th, 2009 against the Yankees in Cleveland. He homered that day off C.C. Sabathia. Let us remember that he had the Indians just a game from the World Series in 2007 after having the series of a lifetime against these same Yankees in the ALDS. Life was good then for Sizemore and Cleveland fans. It seemed then it would have no end.
But after that May 30th day, Sizemore would start to miss significant chunks of time and it would seem his 27 year old body would begin to fail him. At the beginning of September he had season ending surgery on his left elbow. He would play just 33 games the following season–needing micro-fracture surgery on his left knee.
This past season, Sizemore tore up his opposite right knee and had more micro-fracture surgery and added another hernia surgery. Instead of piling up the award hardware, Sizemore’s body became like the childhood board-game ‘Operation’.
If you visited Jacobs Field in Cleveland from 2005 to 2008 and looked out in center field just before your eyes met the picnic area, you would see him. This player was on the cover of Sports Illustrated–and called one of the great players of our generation on that same cover.
The story didn’t have a happy ending and seemed to flame out long before we ever expected like so many figures in sports that have gone before us with seemingly no end in sight. But let’s not forget the four years of stardom and talent that Sizemore gave the fans of this game. For a short time, he was was one of the brightest stars the game had to offer.
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.