Major League 4: Cleveland Exists!
Yes, it is too early to get all worked up and make predictions, but, this is the A.L. Central. The Royals only win for "nicest Sunday uniforms," and the Twins are indoor dogs still acclimating to life outdoors. It's a three-team race and even Jimmy the Greek could not give you a definite winner. So, you're tellin'' me there's a chance!? Yes Lloyd, I am.
Unlike successful Indians teams of the past, this current roster does not have any high-priced talent or egos that jump off the paper. I'm sure at one point Indians management said, " We forgot about Lowe and Hafner because they are only high-priced." Don't tell the Yankees this, but it is not a terrible tragedy to win with a collection of talent as opposed to superstars clogging the line-up with self-centered toilet tissue. Get the plunger, A-Rod.
The entire Indians batting order has provided small pieces of offense thus far, and players like Casey Kotchman are beginning to make it a trend, not a one-hit wonder. When the concept is team batting average, the pressure of a single person carrying the RBI keg is lifted. Travis Hafner looks like Shrek, sans the green paint, but he doesn't have the cartoon muscles required to carry the offensive output of the whole club. This was the idea in years past and why he struggled. It's not easy to swing a bat when there are 24 other guys on your shoulders with no talking donkey to provide comic relief. Hopefully, Joe Boo received his shipment of rum and the long ball numbers will mimic 2006 for Hafner.
The only questionable piece of the puzzle would be the pitching staff. Derek Lowe has decided to show he has talent to go with his price, but it would be a stretch to think the 38-year-old sinker-baller can keep up the barrage of ground ball outs later in the season. He may want to rub a little jalapeno in his nose and use it when the umps aren't looking. Jimenez was a winner against Seattle, tonight, but that's just the Mariners. Can Ubaldo and Masterson crank out wins against the Tigers as the summer heat rises in Progressive field? Do they hear 'Wild Thing," playing in the back of their minds like the rest of Cleveland? If the staff can get it together, and keep it together, the Indians have a real chance.
With a payroll in the bottom half of the MLB bank, and no expert giving the ole "snowballs chance," why not take a line from Jake Taylor, " And win the whole f&%#ing thing." The King left, but that is in the past. Save your matches and lighter fluid, Cleveland, you must now overthrow the prince - or help him change his hair color.