Marson Works Daily To Help Tribe and Prove Himself
By Mike Brandyberry
On Twitter, fans and Cleveland Indians players have likened Lou Marson to the levels of Chuck Norris. Fans and players often tweet amazing accomplishments from Marson in a superhuman style.
His most superhuman feat might be his ability to catch four straight games in Baltimore with temperatures above 90 degrees each day. Despite the high temperatures, Marson never took an IV; he caught every inning of the series hydrating himself on just water and Gatorade. Before the four-game stretch started, Marson thought he might catch the entire series.
That thought became a reality when Tribe catcher Carlos Santana was pulled in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game in New York with mid-back tightness, Marson’s workload for the weekend became a bit busier.
“I kinda had a feeling I would, but it’s a good opportunity for me, so I’m gonna keep it going,” Marson said.
Marson caught Friday’s game in 100-degree heat, then returned to catch Saturday afternoon, with less than 24 hours to rest. Normally catchers receive the day off when a day game follows a night game. But with Santana shelved, Marson took to the field again.
He had a career day Saturday afternoon, going 4-for-5, with a double, triple and a RBI. Marson had two chances to hit for the cycle, but Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg walked him in the eighth inning. In the ninth inning, Marson had one last chance to hit a home run to complete the cycle, but laced a base hit off Matt Lindstron to score Jose Lopez and help solidify the Tribe’s 11-5 victory.
Marson didn’t know he had a chance to hit for the cycle until pitcher Derek Lowe told him during a pitching change. Lowe tried to challenge the humble, yet tough man of the team.
“He told me after my double,” Marson said. “He came out and gave me some water and told me to swing for the fence the next time up. He said, ‘If you don’t swing for the fence next time…’ and I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘Have you ever heard of a cycle?’ And that’s when I knew.”
Marson’s offense has picked up with some increased playing time. He played in only three games in April and connected for only two hits in the first two months. But Santana’s concussion in late May and now his back injury have allowed Marson to see more playing time.
“Any time you play and know you are going to be in the lineup, it’s definitely a plus,” Marson said. “I’m just in there trying to have consistent at-bats. I have a plan and stick to it. I don’t want to talk about it or think about it. I just want to do my thing when I get in there.”
What fans don’t realize is the role Marson plays with the pitching staff and the work he does behind the scenes when he is not playing. At times he catches bullpens before the game for pitchers to stay fresh and get ready for game action. When he decides to put in the extra work depends some on his playing time.
“I guess it depends how much I’m not playing,” Marson said. “If I’m not playing a lot, I’ll catch some sides and get some stuff done so I don’t embarrass myself. I watch video and talk to the pitchers.”
His work does not go unnoticed, and his offensive spark to the Tribe lineup in Baltimore helped the team win three of four games in the series.
“It helps Lou and it helps the team,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We need contributions from everybody. That’s what bench players are all about. When you get your opportunity, you contribute. When somebody goes down for three, four days or a week, you step in and hold the fort.”
However, Marson does not consider himself just a bench player. If given the chance, Marson feels he can catch every day in the Major Leagues. Marson doesn’t want to take Santana’s job as much as he thinks it is possible they can each co-exist as starters.
“I think I can play every day. He can play other positions,” Marson said. “So I’m gonna try to do everything I can do to catch every day. I’m young; I just turned 26. I feel like I can play every day, so I’m going to do everything I can to get in there.”
Helping lead the Tribe to a successful weekend in the summer heat has to only help his chances. Even Chuck Norris would be envious.
Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty Images