Posts By Laurel Wilder
The season is drawing to a close, and the Lake County Captains are quietly battling their way through their last few weeks of play. The scrappy team, made up of many faces new to the full professional team, has reached the dog days of summer, and has just under four weeks left to secure a spot in the Midwest League playoffs. With the Midwest League using first and second half standings independently to determine playoff spots, the Captains have to use the end of this season to pull up their record and secure a spot in the playoffs, if possible.
As of Wednesday morning, August 12, the Captains are currently sixth in the Midwest League Eastern Division with a 20-23 record. They sit 6.5 games back of the Eastern Division leader, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, who are 27-17 in the second half. Of the Eastern Division’s first half playoff clinchers, the Lansing Lugnuts and the Great Lakes Loons, only the Lugnuts can be found to have a better second half record than the Captains; the Lugnuts are third in the Eastern Division currently, and are 24-20, while the Loons have found their way to the bottom of the division with an 18-26 record. To clinch a playoff spot in the second half, the Captains must also bypass the South Bend Cubs (21-23), the Bowling Green Hot Rods (21-23), and the West Michigan Whitecaps (24-19) to place in at least second place for the second half.
He’s 19 years old and in his first professional season with the Cleveland Indians after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft. He’s knocked in a team-high 18 home runs for the Lake County Captains in 79 games this season. He’s hitting .253 and posts a. .830 OPS. He was recently named the Midwest League Player of the Week for July 27-August 2, as he hit .381 in six games, with four home runs, nine RBI, two doubles, nine runs, six walks, and a slugging percentage of 1.048.
Yet, Bobby Bradley thinks he could still do more.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Indians have said goodbye to two of the nicest players on their team. Sure, personality does not a great ball player make, but it’s still said to see well-liked players go. However, the remainder of this season and the unfolding of seasons to come will show if the moves made this will have a significant affect on the Indians organization.
Perhaps a look back at some of the more successful recent trades will boost optimism that the rest of this season, and future seasons, as well, could benefit from what happens at the end of July.
Despite having taken part in trades that were less-than-ideal at the time (no one can argue that it was easy to stomach the loss of Victor Martinez in exchange for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price in 2009, especially since Masterson is now gone and Hagadone is dealing with yet another elbow injury), the Indians have also been part of trades that currently provide excitement for Cleveland fans, and give hope to the organization.
Lake County Captains to Host Bernie Kosar, “Super Joe” Charboneau, at Annual Cleveland Sports History Night on SaturdayJuly 30, 2015 | Laurel Wilder
On Saturday, the Lake County Captains will host one of their biggest promotions of the year, their annual Cleveland Sports History Night. Once a night every year, the Captains fill the ballpark with major sports figures from Cleveland’s past and promotions surrounding Cleveland sports, including the highly sought-after Jobu bobblehead.
Last year, fans lined up as early as 9:00 a.m. to claim the coveted promotional item that paid homage to Pedro Cerano’s worshipped spiritual leader from the movie “Major League.” This year, the first 1,500 fans will receive a Captains-themed Jobu bobblehead at the main gate only. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. If fans was to guarantee a Jobu bobblehead, they cna purchase a VIP package for $55 that also includes a ticket to the game, early entry for celebrity autographs, and a limited edition Jobu t-shirt from Cleveland-based clothing company KeepCalmCleveland.com. There are a limited number of VIP packages available, and those interested can call the Captains at 440.954.9467.
Tonight, Progressive Field gets what it has been long missing – a statue and commemoration to one of the team’s most noteworthy players, and an American League pioneer. Larry Doby will join the figures of Bob Feller and Jim Thome at the ballpark, greeting fans as they enter for the game.
That Doby has not yet been rewarded with a statue has been a travesty for many fans, as the American League’s first African American player is an accomplishment that many felt should have been awarded before the club’s home run leader, Jim Thome, was recognized.
During his recent rehab stint with the Lake County Captains, Nick Swisher said that, more than anything, he enjoyed being part of a team again.
“Even if it’s not my team, it’s still part of a team,” Swisher said Monday night after his first appearance with the Captains. “When you’re banged up and going through this rehab process, you don’t really feel like part of anything. You kind of just feel like you’re in the way. It’s a big step in the right direction for me.”
Despite sharing only two games with the Low-A squad, Swisher worked with his new teammates more than just on the field. He treated them to a post-game dinner more worthy of the big leagues, giving them – literally – a taste of what it could be like to be in his shoes one day.
“What goes around comes around,” Swisher said of the spread to be served to the team. “You’ve got to repay them.”
Well Tribe fans, it’s officially the second half of the season. Gone are the days of, “it’s still early,” and looming closer is the end of the season and the much-sought-after playoff spot. The Indians are in a position to go a myriad of ways in the second half, depending on the maintained dominance of their starting pitching, a possible emergence of their offense, hopefully a redeeming bullpen, hopefully little to no more serious injuries, the trade deadline…. The list could go on and on.
Although frustrating that the Tribe’s success could hinge on such a high number of factors, it does give Tribe fans quite a number of things to look forward to as the season moves closer to it’s end. If you haven’t tuned in to the Tribe yet this year (and there’s a good chance you haven’t, as the Indians’ TV ratings are down 30 percent from last year), maybe one of these spots of interest will grab your attention for at least a handful of games in the second half. And, even if you aren’t watching, try to pay attention to some of these storylines that could shape the Tribe’s future:
Anthony Santander is a textbook example of why aggressive minor league promotions can often lead to struggles. The 20 year old, who was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 at 16, showed more than promise during his first year with the Indians organization. In the Arizona Rookie League, the outfielder made heads turn as he triple slashed .305/.381/.874 in 43 games. He knocked in 32 runs and amassed 47 hits, 15 doubles, one triple, and four home runs.
His performance earned the then-18 year old a promotion to Lake County for the following season, as he jumped over short-season play with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in favor of an immediate immersion into full-season professional baseball.
It’s already the midway point of the season, and the Indians, who were rumored to have a team strong enough to appear in the World Series at the beginning of the season, have sunk to a 41-44 record. A sweep this weekend against the Oakland Athletics would send them into the second half of the season with a .500 record, though their chances of making the playoffs in anything other than potentially a Wild Card spot are likely few and far between.
The Tribe was able to send one player into the All-Star game in second baseman Jason Kipnis as a reserve player after a tumultuous fan All-Star vote this season. Despite that lone showing, however, the Indians are not without their strengths as the season’s midway point comes and goes. Despite not being recognized with any All-Star accolades, the Indians starting rotation is, undoubtedly, one of, if not the, best in baseball. It’s the rest of their roster that needs some retooling and revaluation as the season moves into its second half.
The Tribe’s starting rotation has always been their strongest asset this season, and has recently notched a new point of distinction: the Indians are the first club in Major League history to have four starters collect 100+ strikeouts before the All-Star break.
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is honored to join the More Than a Fan Network in their Tribe Time Now podcasts this season. DTTWLN.com will be represented along with Everybody Hates Cleveland, Indians Baseball Insider, Burning River Baseball and …
The Fourth of July – the quintessential day of all things American; a celebration of our nation’s freedom, filled with hot dogs, fireworks, apple pie, family, and, of course, America’s pastime – baseball.
How did baseball grow to become America’s pastime, anyway? And, moreover, why has that moniker stuck? Surely, as times have progressed, Americans have become more interested in other sports – football, especially with the rise of college football, seems to have taken over as the favored sport among Americans, particularly young Americans. I mean, come on, baseball has even had to adopt new measures to make the game more user-friendly for the current generation – that is to say, it’s been decided that speeding up the game is a must, to make it easier on fans and observers.
However, through those changes and the rise of football, the NBA, even soccer in American culture, baseball is still heralded as America’s sport. Just why is that – and why has it always been?
Greg Allen was four or five when he started playing baseball, beginning with tee-ball as so many young boys do. Allen, however, was also four or five when he got the idea that baseball could be more than just a hobby.
“[That’s when] my dad will tell you I knew baseball would be more than a hobby,” Allen said. “I was watching Major League Baseball on TV and acting out the movements from a young age.”
The passion that he had for the game as a child has followed Allen through to his big league career. At 22, Allen is embarking on his second season with the Indians organization. He was drafted last year in the sixth round of the draft out of San Diego State University, when he had to make the decision to join a professional organization, or return to school to finish his degree.