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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 5/10
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
The Indians were swept by the hapless Royals....but Buff seems more interested in talking politics, poetry and calculus. With all due respect to Lebron James, who can blame him after what we "witnessed" these past few games?

 Lots to cover today, let's get right to it!

1) Why, that's right neighborly of ya!

It's interesting to see how the concept of "honor" travels through literature.  In Beowulf, for example, everyone remembers Beowulf ripping off Grendel's arms, but the real point of the poem comes at the end with Beowulf's mortal wounding at the hands (as it were) of the dragon.  It's symbolic of the poet's lament for the death of the days of honor and glory that came before.

Of course, it's possible to take this a bit too far: when Byrhtnoth, alderman of Essex, allows the Vikings to wade single-file across the ford in the Battle of Maldon, he clearly crosses the line from "honorable, confident, proud warrior" to "Captain Poor Judgement."  Look, I'd have been a lousy Anglo-Saxon.  I freely admit this.  But there's no way I'm letting a sizeable lot of heavily-armed Norsemen traipse single-file while I stand around waiting for them to get ready.  Honor, my ass: had I been the alderman of Essex, I would have shot the living hell out of the Vikings with every arrow I could fashion, or maybe tell them they could come across and then hit them with everything I had when they were half over.  The poem written for me would have been along the lines of "Brave, Brave Sir Robin" from the Holy Grail.  And as the poem lamented my cowardly tactics, I would drink mead and laugh heartily, which is more than Byrhtnoth got to do with his poem, because poems really don't convey all that much meaning to guys with no heads.  Dumb move.

2) Would you use that in a sentence?

I remember a "discussion" (I say "discussion" because it really consisted of the two of us expounding our points with little regard for the other guy's points) I had years ago about the legacy of Ronald Reagan and SDI and the labelling of the Soviet Union as the Evil Empire.  I noted that the terminology was a bit hyperbolic, but the other fellow stated plainly that the USSR was, in fact, Evil.  To him, it was an institution that intentionally caused harm to other people, took things away from people without real compensation, and consolidated its power at the expense of the weal of the populace. It was a nice point, I had to admit.  Except that it also fit the definition of just about every capitalist entity I could think of.  I mean, isn't that pretty much what happens in a mature market, something approximating a zero-sum game?  There just aren't that many more people in the U.S. who haven't tried a soft drink: you have to take the market share from somewhere.  And by the very nature of making a profit, the employees as a whole aren't compensated for the efforts at the level they contribute to the effort.  Yet I don't know how many hard-core Reaganites would call Coca-Cola "Evil."  Wal-Mart, sure, but that's kind of a no-brainer. 

Anyway, SDI may have been a waste of money, but at least it worked poorly.

3) A question of efficiency 

Everyone does the calculus problem that shows why 12-ounce beverage cans are the dimensions they are.  No, it's not so they'll fit in the cup holders in your car.  Nice try.  No, it's because to maximize the volume of the cylindrical can while minimizing the surface are ( i.e., the amount of material used to make the can), the height has be twice the diameter of the top of the can.  A spherical can could be even better a this, but there are packing issues that come into play, not to mention putting a pop top on it and just flat-out looking ridiculous, like every beverage was an Orangina or something. 

But look: I see 16-ounce cans now, and they have these ridiculous little "half-cans" with 6 or 8 ounces in them, and they violate the principle.  So minimizing the packaging material is no longer the big deal it once was.  With recycling of aluminum and increased efficiency in mining bauxite, it just doesn't bloody matter any more.  So why not just go whole hog and make cans that are rectangular prisms ( i.e., boxes)?  The packing space saved alone would be a boon for shipping and storing the little goobers, and let's face it: it would look cool.  Yeah!  Why does no one else think of these things?

I think the ... 

What's that?  You want to talk about the GAME?  Why on EARTH would I want to do THAT?  The game SUCKED. 

Oh, all right. 

1) Why, that's right neighborly of ya! 

We scored three runs in the top of the first: this was important, because Jeremy Affeldt made us look ridiculous last time out.  With momentum on our side we can ... oh, wait, Jake gave up a run.  Anyway, we can take the ... oh, wait, Jake gave up a couple more runs.  Well, certainly as the team that ... oh, wait, Jake gave up a couple more runs.  Now we're down 5-3. 

But wait!  We come back and tie the game at 5!  We're showin' some character now!  Why, I can ... oh, wait, Jake gave up another run.  Okay, enough of that, we'll bring in Mota to slam the door, and ... oh, wait, Gil gave up a couple more runs.  Damn, we're down three and running out of time.  Down meekly in the seventh, this is going to be ... 

But wait!  We come back and score three runs to tie it up, the tying run on a balk!  Man, the nerves are getting to them now!  We'll just have to ... oh, wait, Gil gave up a couple more runs. 

The Lord provideth, the Lord taketh away.  The Indians, on the other hand, simply giveth away. 

2) Can you use that in a sentence? 

Ever been to a spelling bee?  You know, where when you don't actually know what the hell "subcutaneous" or "donnybrook" or "phlegm" look like and you stall for time by asking for the definition?  And then you still have no clue, so you ask if it's Latin or Greek or Old Finnish?  And now, sweating profusely, forgetting to tell your knees how to work, you ask it be used in a sentence? 

Well, the word is "relief pitching."  Here's your sentence: "How about getting some fucking relief pitching?"  The Indians are still hemming and hawing.  It's from the Old English, meaning, "fucking relief pitching."  I'd like some.  Verily, yes. 

3) A question of efficiency

Here's the thing about Mota: you look at the seventh inning and you think, "Okay, 1-2-3, 2 Ks, he's in a groove."  At that point, it's a no-brainer to bring him back out for the eighth.  Hey, he's your setup man, right?  Sure, he gave up the triple to KERRY ROBINSON, a man cast aside for So Taguchi and Stubby Clapp, but starting an inning, with no one on base, it's a pretty safe bet, no? No.

And here's why: the Indians half of the eighth took about nine hours to play, and here are Mota's pitch sequences in the sixth and seventh:

Ball, foul, ball, triple
Strike, ball, ball, fly out
Strike, ball, ball, strike, strike
Ball, strike, ball, strike, strike
Ball, fly out

Two strikeouts are good, any way you slice it.  But the path to them is pretty circuitous: it could be argued that the triple was caused by having to throw a 2-1 pitch with men on base (to KERRY ROBINSON!  Never go 2-1 to KERRY ROBINSON!).  Any sign of control problems, and Mota's in danger of having to groove one just to prove he can throw a strike. 

Which is pretty much the story of the eighth inning that polished us off.  Would Cabrera have shut them out in the eighth?  Would we have scored again?  Who knows?  But sending Mota back out there was a pretty questionable call, especially now that Ferd's come back from the dead (ERA in single digits!). 

4) Ducks in the gallery 

I give Inertia Man credit for sending Sizemore and Michaels with Paul Bako back there: needing to generate some offense and use the runners more efficiently, we stole two bases.  Gives Detroit something to think about (although with Ivan Rodriguez ... maybe not so much). 

5) Does the moon look blue to you? 

Ramon Vazquez got a hit!  And it drove in a run!  And he scored on a balk, which is always cool!  I declare May 10th to be Ramon Vazquez Day!  Next year, I hope to help him celebrate it at the Beefalo-Columbus game. 

6) Invoking the Thumper Rule

Remember the advice given to Thumper the rabbit in the movie, "Bambi," by his mother?  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 

Thus we address Jake Westbrook's starting performance. 

7) Ah, yes, I remember it well 

Scott Elarton: 10 FB, 3 GB, 4 XBH.  That's our boy! 

8) Great moments in managerial head-scratching 

Going into the top of the eighth, we are down three runs.  Three.  (This is important: three)  So when Casey Blake (in the five hole) draws a walk, and Ben "Four Hundred" Broussard singles him to second, we have two men on and nobody out.  Two.  (That's important: two)

Naturally, Ron Belliard bunts.

Now, I've read the spin that Belliard was attempting to bunt for a hit.  Does Belliard do this a lot?  Has Belliard ever done this, ever before, ever?  I'm not buyin' it.  He bunted.  He sacrificed the runners to second and third. Now, don't get me wrong: I am not knee-jerk against putting two runners in scoring position.  I am leery of doing this in front of a hitter who is a de facto pitcher batting, but I am not against it, as long as those two runs tie the game.

Two, being less than three, would not have tied the game.


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