August 15, 2014

Acta Joins Alomar on Blue Jays’ Manager Candidate List

According to the Toronto Sun (with a hat tip to Paul Hoynes) the candidates to replace John Farrell as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays include Sandy Alomar Jr. and Manny Acta-

“And Manny Acta, who managed both the Washington Nationals and the Cleveland Indians, and also coached in Montreal. Acta was also in Washington when Brown was the scouting director, putting together the powerhouse which came within one out of reaching the National League Championship Series.

The second winter-book installment in the 13th running of the Blue Jays managerial stakes:

P | Name | Odds

1. Jim Tracy, 56, former Rockies manager 3-1

2. Sandy Alomar, Jr., 46, Indians, bench coach 3-1

3. Manny Acta, 43, former Indians, Nats manager 3-1

4. Don Wakamatsu, 49, Jays bench coach 5-1

5. Tim Wallach, 55, Dodgers third base coach 7-1

6. Demarlo Hale, 51, Orioles third base coach 10-1

7. Brad Ausmus, 43, Padres special assistant 12-1

8. Mike Maddux, 51, Rangers pitching coach 15-1

9. Cito Gaston, 68, former Jays manager 20-1

10. Ernie Whitt, 60, Baseball Canada manager 25-1″

[Related: We don't have a 1B, LF or DH but that's going to change.]

Sarbaugh Interviews for Job; Steve Smith and Bruce Fields Will Not Return

Paul Hoynes, the Plain Dealer’s long-time Cleveland Indians scribe, snuck some coaching staff details in his post about Matt LaPorta’s hip surgery on Friday. Here’s the latest on the staff unfolding alongside Terry Francona, Sandy Alomar and likely Brad Mills:

GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona are still interviewing candidates for the coaching staff.

Class AAA manager Mike Sarbaugh interviewed for the infield coach’s job earlier in the week. There’s an opening because Steve Smith took next season off to watch his son, Garrett, play his senior year in college.

Sarbaugh, 45, has been the Tribe’s Triple-A manager for the past three years. He led the Clippers to Triple-A championships in 2010 and 2011. He’s been in the organization for 23 years.

Tim Belcher, Indians pitching coach in 2010 and 2011, is not a candidate to return to that position. He stepped down for family reasons and those still remain.

Ruben Niebla ended the year as the interim pitching coach after replacing Scott Radinsky, who was fired.

The Indians are looking for a hitting coach because Bruce Fields was not rehired.

It appears that the announcements of Fields and Smith came earlier this week, but this appears to be new news about Sarbaugh, a logical choice unless another team nabs him, along with Belcher, who many expected to return in 2013.

[Related: Francona Hire is a Coup, but if Chris Antonetti Can’t Find Pitching, it Won’t Matter]

While We’re Waiting … NBA Flopping Rules, Varejao’s Trade Value, A Browns Super Bowl Upset

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

Who said Andy flops?! I didn’t … Maybe: “The NBA has new guidelines to outlaw flopping, and Cavaliers coach Byron Scott doesn’t seem to care. And why should he? ‘It doesn’t affect us,’ Scott said, smiling. ‘We don’t have any floppers. It doesn’t affect us one bit.’ Some around the league – well, actually, a lot of folks – might argue with Scott’s take. A lot of folks might tell you Cavs big man Anderson Varejao is the originator of faking fouls, that his ability to ‘sell’ charges on opponents to referees can be his biggest strength. Anyone who’s seen Varejao in action knows he does, in fact, make a pretty strong case. He leans into the offensive player a little, waits for the man he’s guarding to dip his shoulder, then crashes back-first to the court with wild hair whirling and arms flapping.” [Sam Amico/Fox Sports Ohio] [Read more...]

Perez Speaks, Perez Implodes, Pronk Slams, Donald Wins It In The 12th

The Indians had just two games left entering last night’s tilt. You know how on those day games before a team hits the road for a long trip, they usually swing the bats as if they can’t wait to get out of town? Well both the Indians and the White Sox spent last night playing like it was one of those times. “Getaway Day At-bats” littered this game.

The Sox starter Jake Peavy dominated an Indians lineup that looked like they didn’t want any part of playing in this one. Other than Shin-Soo Choo’s solo homer in the fourth and a Jason Kipnis seventh inning walk, Peavy was perfect. The former NL Cy Young winner knifed through the Tribe with ease. On the other side was Justin Masterson, who was making the last start of his worst season as a pro. He avoided his 16th loss by matching Peavy pitch for pitch. He went six, giving up just one run on four hits. The outing saved him from an ERA above five. In fact, the game was tied at one heading into the ninth inning. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting … Belichick’s Browns, Tyler Zeller’s Blog, Indians as Next Orioles?

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

A quick preview of tonight’s NFL Films show: “In 2011, NFL Films launched its remarkable A Football Life series with a two-part study of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The next episode, which focuses on the ’95 Browns, should more accurately be regarded as a Belichick prequel. The study of the 1995 Cleveland Browns, which debuts Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network, spends more time focusing on the legacy of the coach than the fate of the franchise. Yes, there’s plenty about the final days in Cleveland of the team that became the Ravens. But there’s more about the manner in which Belichick influenced a generation of men who reached tremendous heights (admittedly with varying degrees of success) elsewhere.” [Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk] [Read more...]

Jim Duquette: It’s Francona’s Job to Lose

The MLB season ends Wednesday. Sandy Alomar, former Indians All-Star and interim manager, is scheduled to interview for the Cleveland full-time job on Thursday.

Then, on Friday, the biggest name in managing free agency will momentarily leave his cushy ESPN position to interview for the Tribe job. Terry Francona, also a former Indian and two-time World Series champ with the Boston Red Sox, is listed as the easy front-runner for the job, according to Sirius/XM analyst and former GM Jim Duqette:

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more and more rumors as the week winds down, but this seems to be the most definitive claim from a baseball analyst so far.

The Indians (67-93) play against the Chicago White Sox again tonight at 7 pm at Progressive Field.

[Related: Eating Fran-Crow-Na and Sandy's First Win]

While We’re Waiting … Dion Waiters Time, Close Browns Losses, Francona’s Fit with Tribe

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

Five key question about the Cavs heading into training camp, beginning with the rookie from Syracuse: “1. How will Dion Waiters fit? Waiters was drafted (No. 4 overall) with the idea that he’ll start at shooting guard right away and help replace the loss of Antawn Jamison’s 17.2 points per game. Can Waiters do it? That remains to be seen, and we won’t really know until a week or two after camp. But say this much – the kid isn’t lacking confidence. Nor is he above being humble, as Waiters openly admitted on media day he learned from his lack of conditioning at summer league. Either way, a quick contribution is vital.” [Sam Amico/Fox Sports Ohio] [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2012-09-19 – Craig and TD talk Tribe and Browns

Pay no attention to the opening comment that I haven’t done a podcast opener sound clip yet. I threw one together very quickly. It will work as a placeholder for now until and unless I come up with something better. It was good to get TD in to talk a bit. TD is never at a loss for words, so this one ran to just about 30 minutes today.

Show topics:

  • Matt LaPorta blowing the game against the Twins last night
  • Manny Acta and Sandy Alomar
  • Tom Heckert and his job security
  • Brandon Weeden’s second start
  • Mike Holmgren vs. Joe Banner
  • The Core 4 – Bubba Ventrone, Jason Trusnik, Nick Sorenson, and Blake Costanzo

Enjoy and tell a friend!

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Comparing Manny Acta to Colt McCoy

Manny Acta is a great guy, but is he good enough to not consider his replacement?

The Cleveland Indians are a disaster. Whenever a team im/explodes this much it is difficult to figure out who to blame other than everyone. That seems to be the case. Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti are getting plenty of the blame for names like Ubaldo, Hafner, and Sizemore. The sale of the Cleveland Browns has made the despising of the Dolans a sexier pass-time than it has been since the Eric Wedge days. Of course the manager hasn’t escaped criticism either. Fans’ pet peeves about Manny Acta’s unwillingness to argue calls have become amplified with each subsequent loss. Manny Acta is just a part of the problem, but he also hasn’t made the best of a bad situation and is game to be fired just like everyone else. It got me thinking last night that in many ways, Manny Acta is just like Colt McCoy.

Manny Acta was given Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon. Colt McCoy was given a still-injured Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya. Manny Acta has Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore while Colt McCoy had Tony Pashos and Peyton Hillis. Colt McCoy broke camp a year ago with Brian Robiskie as a big part of his offensive game-plan. Manny Acta has been given Aaron Cunningham and Brent Lillibridge. To say that Colt McCoy got a fair shake would be like saying Manny Acta should have been able to win the division with this bunch of guys.

Just like Colt McCoy though, Manny Acta’s future in Cleveland needs to be considered this off-season. While he was handed a raw deal of sorts, it still stands to reason that he isn’t good enough to bet on going forward. Could he do better with more bullets in his gun? Sure, but so could anyone. [Read more...]

Will We Ever See Sandy Alomar Jr, Bench Coach?

When former Tribe catcher and current first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. was promoted to bench coach after last season, everyone in Cleveland was excited. Shortly after that announcement was made, Sandy became a candidate for the Chicago White Sox managerial opening. When out of nowhere, Robin Ventura was hired with zero coaching experience, it seemed like a headscratching hire. But hey, Sandy wasn’t going anywhere and he could learn from a seat right next to the head man himself, Manny Acta.

But as more time has elapsed, Sandy’s name continued to pop up for just about every open manager’s job available. Its flattering to him, but not so great for Tribe fans who view Sandy the same way they do Mike Hargrove – an Indian to the core. Always remember though Tribe fans, Grover went on to manage elsewhere after he was let go here.

According to the PD’s Paul Hoynes, Alomar Jr. will be interviewing with the Boston Red Sox today and with the Chicago Cubs tomorrow for their current managerial vacancies. Current Texas Pitching Coach Mike Maddux will also be interviewing with the Cubs this week.  [Read more...]

Indians Announce Jim Thome Statue to be Built in Center Field Heritage Park

As I noted earlier, last night was a amazing evening at Progressive Field.  What happened on the field was magical, but it was already a special night before the game even started.

On Jim Thome Night, the Indians brought back some of Gentleman Jim’s old teammates.  Mike Hargrove, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Paul Sorrento, and Chad Ogea all joined Thome and members of the Indians organization on the field prior to the game to celebrate his 600th home run.  But the ceremony took an unexpected turn for the fans when Tom Hamilton announced that the Indians had commissioned a statue of Thome to be built in center field in Heritage Park.  The plan is to place the statue at the spot where Thome’s 511 foot home run landed in July of 1999.

It came as a surprise to Thome as well: [Read more...]

Tribe Adds Mike Hargrove as “Special Advisor,” Chief Nostalgia Officer

Select fans have been clamoring for Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome or even Manny Ramirez to have another run as a member of the Cleveland Indians.  While the Indians front office won’t be committing player dollars to any of the aforementioned, they were willing to harness a little nostalgia today with the addition of Mike Hargrove as a special advisor to their staff.

When not filming commercials for local car dealerships, Hargrove’s chief responsibilities will be in the form of aid in baseball, broadcast and business operations. Hargrove spent 22 years in an Indians uniform as a Player, Coach and Manager, but will forever be known as the skipper of the era which many still cling to today.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to once again be a Cleveland Indian and am very much looking forward to helping any way that I can,” said Hargrove earlier today.  “Even when I was away and managing other teams I always had an interest in what was happening with the Indians. All I can really say is that it is good to be home.” [Read more...]

Former Indians Alomar, Blyleven Enter MLB Hall of Fame

In baseball news from earlier in the week, former Cleveland Indians stars Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven earned enough votes for entry into the MLB Hall of Fame. Both earned the required votes for the hall despite very different track records of success over the years with the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Despite their  success with the Indians over the years, neither will be wearing the Cleveland cap in their hall of fame plaques. They both selected their championship teams with Alomar selecting the Toronto Blue Jays and Blyleven entering with the Minnesota Twins.

But for both players, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal had stories to share in an article from Sunday’s paper about their legacy as stars for the good and the bad.

[Read more...]

The Once and Future Grady

I think it’s pretty easy to forget how truly great Grady Sizemore was before he got hurt.  For one, it feels like it’s been so long since he’s been healthy: for nearly all of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Grady was either on the DL or should have been.  It’s pretty clear that his health cost him major parts of the last two seasons.  On top of that, he had a really nice year in 2008, but the team imploded around him as Hafner fell off a cliff and CC was traded away.  So in some ways, we haven’t really seen Grady since 2007.

But even more than that, a good deal of Sizemore’s greatness always flew under the radar anyway.  His value was so evenly distributed among his defense, his bat, and his baserunning that people often overlooked how much he was contributing.  [Read more...]

Manny Acta’s Stock Price Up Slightly

I don’t know who the Indians could have hired this off-season that would have excited the Tribe faithful.  Many thought Bobby Valentine was the right hire.  Some of the nostalgic types were in favor of getting Mike Hargrove back in here.  It isn’t like hiring Hargrove would have brought back a young Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, and Albert Belle though.  After the Indians ultimately hired Manny Acta, I think the fans would have been more livid if they hadn’t all been so passive about this team after watching it gutted the season prior.

When TD discussed the story back in October, he was trying to be realistic about it.  Yes, Acta had some miserable times in Washington, but he didn’t do that in a vacuum.  There was (is?) a terrible franchise culture in Washington that contributed to the steady decline of the Nationals.  This included a “skimming” scandal involving bonus money for Latin American players.  Then again, as Tribe fans do we really care about excuses for poor performances in other places?  We would rather have been able to talk about a manager with some kind of track record of success.  Even still, the hiring of Manny Acta seemed to many Tribe fans like another cheap, smug move by a failing front office that seemed to think it is smarter than the rest of the world. [Read more...]

Could Fausto Carmona be Back?

Sometimes it is hard to remember that Fausto Carmona isn’t quite yet 27 years old.  It is hard to remember because it is so easy to give up on him after the last two years.  Two years of ineffective pitching is an eternity for stats-obsessed baseball fans.  Between injuries and some mental blocks, it has been two long wasted years for Fausto Carmona.  During these past two years, Carmona has gone 13-19 with a 5.89 ERA.  The worst statistic being his average of 5.1 walks per nine innings.  For whatever number of reasons Carmona has had a difficult time attacking the strike zone with his amazing stuff.  If Manny Acta, Tim Belcher and Carmona’s personal catcher Mike Redmond can somehow get him to throw strikes, we might get to see the 23 year-old Carmona who won 19 games with a 3.06 ERA.

The old Fausto was on display against the Diamondbacks on Saturday.  Carmona pitched 7 scoreless innings while giving up 3 hits.  Most importantly, he had three strikeouts and no walks.  Of course it is only spring training.  Of course, the Diamondbacks lineup is a list of “Who’s that?” types of players as well. Still, over the course of seven innings have to do something right to keep getting guys out. [Read more...]

100 Wins for the Tribe

100 wins. One-hundred wins. I repeat it so I don’t forget it. I swear, for a person who was born in 1979 and started watching baseball for real in 1986, one-hundred wins never seemed like a remote possibility in Cleveland. Just three years after I started watching professional baseball as a youngster, I learned a lesson about just how horrible my favorite team had been over the years when the movie Major League came out. And yet after not getting to 0.500 in 1993, when Sandy Alomar was 27 and Jim Thome was 22, and scoring a 66-47 record in the strike shortened 1994 season, the Indians won an even one-hundred games in 1995. I know this shouldn’t be too far from our memories, but it is important to make sure it stays top of mind as we go through another rebuilding project.

The 1995 Indians took me and most of my generation from being wannabe fans into being absolute bona fide fanatics. A lot of people put all the onus of being a fanatic on the people who buy the seats and watch the games on TV. Only in places like Cleveland where we endure historic streaks of incapability do we realize that being a fanatic is more of a partnership than that.

After years and years of watching our team falter and refuse to live up to expectations, everything finally came together. The Indians won the central division by 30 games that year over the second place Kansas City Royals. Our Cleveland Indians had 14 more wins than the Boston Red Sox who were second best in the entire American League. The stats the Indians put up were hardly to be believed. [Read more...]

Junior Achievement Auction – Cleveland Sports Stuff

I have been involved with Junior Achievement for a little while now.  They do programs in the schools on a volunteer basis to help teach kids about elementary business and economics.  The JA volunteers are usually local business people who go out and teach classes once a week over the course of a few weeks.  At the end, the kids get an idea about how businesses and taxes and all that stuff works.  I taught a third grade class for two years and it was a lot of fun in addition to teaching the kids some stuff.

Anyway, Junior Achievement is having their auction right now to raise money and I noticed there were a lot of things that Cleveland sports fans might be interested in. [Read more...]

10 Most Beloved Cleveland Sports Athletes

Shaq is coming to town. He’s a pretty popular guy. I was inspired by the trade and our friends at the Ghosts of Wayne Fontes. The idea here is the most beloved Cleveland sports athletes of my time. Figure a starting point of 1980. (I was 8, and really that is about the earliest I remember following the scene closely.) These are not my favorites, just the ones that I think the city embraced the most. Hence the most beloved.  So here we go-

1. Bernie Kosar- If LeBron James signed a 6 year contract extension tomorrow he could leap-frog Bernie I believe. But Bernie was the real deal. He wanted to play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. It was his dream. He wasn’t a very graceful player, and he had terrible mechanics, but he was one of us. Much of that has come to light in the last few weeks with the attention he has gotten over his finances. Make no mistake- during the mid to late ’80s Cleveland was Bernie’s town. Songs were written. Boys were named for him. When he was unceremoniously dumped mid-season it cemented his place in our hearts. He never wanted to leave. He was run out of town by his coach.

2. LeBron James- Simply put the most talented athlete ever to wear Cleveland across his chest. [Read more...]

Sandy Alomar Jr. Entering Indians Hall of Fame

sandyalomar1It is a long way off, but on August 1st Sandy Alomar will be honored by the Cleveland Indians.  I couldn’t be happier as Sandy represents the greatest era of Indians baseball in my lifetime.  Sandy easily could have turned into another one of those Cleveland nightmare stories.  He was part of a trade that saw Joe Carter leave town.  That certainly could have spelled disaster for the franchise if Sandy Alomar and Carlos Baerga hadn’t worked out.  And even though Joe Carter went and won a World Series in Toronto in 1991 and the Indians with Sandy Alomar as one of their main anchors did not, it would be impossible to call the decade of Sandy Alomar in Cleveland any kind of failure.

From 1990 to the year 2000 Sandy Alomar played for the Tribe.  Over that time, Sandy had 944 hits, 92 homers and 453 RBI.  He had a 277 average as a member of the Indians.  More importantly, Sandy Alomar was a catcher with leadership abilities, a great attitude and heart for days. [Read more...]