It is time to give the Cleveland Baseball team their due (reluctantly)

I was watching the local major league baseball team a few days ago – at least I thought I was but wasn’t entirely sure until I saw Jose Ramirez – and it occurred to me how far off I was with my gloom and doom prediction for this baseball season.

To be sure, they have had so many debilitating injuries this year with an already shaky roster, that the wheels indeed may soon come off this year’s baseball party bus, but all the same, it will be difficult to fault the organization for that.

I was thinking about last year’s opening day lineup, and I recall not being especially enamored with that group, but when compared to this year’s collection of questionable talent, last year’s talent level approached the ’95 Tribe.

Actually, 3 of the 8 position players returned, which unto itself was surprising; then again, I’m approaching the age where some days I wake up wondering if Rocky Colavito would be in right field that day, so take my comments for what you will.

The 3 retreads from last year were Roberto Perez, Cesar Hernandez, and – perhaps you’ve heard of this guy – Jose Ramirez (3B). It probably says something right there that they brought back 3 guys when only one (see if you can guess who) is what one might describe as a keeper.

Not to disparage Perez, who is a heck of a catcher, but his hitting prowess is right up there with Mario Mendoza’s (don’t ask). And Cesar Hernandez (2B) has exceeded my expectations as well, but that’s not difficult when my expectations from him were something like zero to begin with.

From there, we moved from Carlos Santana to Yu Chang at first base. When Carlos was cold, he couldn’t hit a tee-ball off the stand. But when he was hot, he could carry the team for a couple of weeks. Chang still has something to prove … like, uh, everything. 

Anyway, that takes us to shortstop, where the Indians hoped Andres Giminez would make Tribe fans forget about Francisco Lindor. Actually, the way Lindor has performed so far this year, forgetting about Frankie isn’t a problem. Fans would much rather forget about Giminez. Certainly, the way Giminez has performed so far this year has NOT prompted any comparisons to Omar Vizquel. Not even any with Frank Duffy (don’t ask).

Jordan Luplow began this year in center field, after starting 2020 in left. I had high hopes for this guy, but he’s not making anyone forget Jake Bauers. ‘Nuff said.

Eddie Rosario is in left field, and he is not embarrassing himself at the plate, but he can offset that with his (in-)ability to play the outfield. He’s the classic fill-in who is clearly a rental until they can find someone (anyone?) better.

The last outfielder is Josh Naylor, who was (incredibly) becoming a young star before his season was ended by a freak injury. He’s definitely a keeper, and here’s hoping he returns to form without any ill effects from his injury.

Just about every starting pitcher outside of Shane Beiber has been injured this year, and somehow they are still treading water.

It’s a tribute to Terry Francona and the rest of the organization. Clearly, they are doing something right.  

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:32 AM, 07.06.2021