Is this thing on?

A play-by-play guy trying to survive in a mid-major world

Steve Pearce is called up

Minutes after Friday’s loss at Scranton Steve Pearce was informed that he was flying to Denver to join the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It wasn’t hard to figure out that something was up when Pearce was moved from 1B to RF just minutes before Thursday’s game vs. Gwinnett.  The move to the outfield pushes Pearce to the big leagues, but don’t for one minute believe he likes the move from first base.  He was in the outfield for all of spring training, but near the end the Pirates told him would only be at 1B and that was the case until Thursday.  Pearce had not shagged in the outfield or put on his outfielder glove until Thursday.  So when I saw him in right I immediately knew that he was the next player to get a promotion.  Steve and his teammates knew what was up when they saw the move.  

Our travel attire calls for slacks and a dress shirt.  Pearce came prepared by wearing his suit jacket on the trip.  You see a suit jacket is required in the Majors and in the back of Pearce’s mind he knew the call was coming and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.  I wish him all the best to and I hope he is in the Pirates line-up each and every day.  Someone let Andrew McCutchen know that he’ll need to shade more towards right and put on his track shoes because he may need to cover some of Pearce’s space in right field.  Once the word was out that Pearce was getting the call the rest of the Indians wanted to know what move the Pirates made.  Everyone knew that no one was hurt and that the Bucs would have to make a move.  Pittsburgh designated OF Craig Monroe for assignment and he is not only removed from the 25 man roster, but the 40 man roster as well.  So as of today there is a spot that can be filled by OF Garrett Jones (.293/10HR/42RBI/.333OBP) or RHP Chris Bootcheck (1-2/10SV/30IP/44K) or RHP Mike Koplove (1-3/6SV/0.91ERA/1.04WHIP).  Anyone of those guys can be added and the Pirates will not have to remove anyone who is currently on the 40 man roster.

The loss of Pearce leaves a huge hole in the Indians line-up.  Already this month the Tribe has lost McCutchen (a deserved promotion), Neil Walker (currently on DL), and Pearce.  (Add up the numbers and the Tribe has lost 31% of their hits, 31% of their runs scored, 44% of their home runs, and 35% of their runs batted in.)  The main issue the Indians are facing is there isn’t anyone at Double-A who can move to Indy and make an impact.  With OF/1B Larry Broadway in a walking boot and the loss of Pearce the Indians will have only ONE position player available on the bench.  Now, I think the Tribe can get away with this while playing Scranton, but come Tuesday when we will be playing by National League rules the Indians will need a player.  Or we will continue to see pitchers wearing spikes and getting pinch-hit at-bats.  I’m sure someone will move from Double-A, but if there is an available vet don’t be surprised if there is a deal similar to the one last week that brought Chris Snelling to the Pirates for future considerations.  The real lack of minor league depth is another reason why players like Nate McLouth are dealt and I expect more deals to happen.

The excitement of the Pearce promotion put a cap to a pretty good day.  For the first time since the late 60’s the Indians boarded a private chartered plane.  The last road trip brought us the debut of the sleeper bus and this road trip features a charter.

SWB 005.jpgInstead of the usual 5 am wake-up call and connecting flights, the Indians boarded a bus at 9:15 am and drove right up to their plane that would take team directly to Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  Every one of the players (with the exception of one who will remain nameless…let’s just say he isn’t a very good flyer and his screams with each little bump were a bit unnerving) loved the charter and it really is making this trip special.  A huge thank you to the Indians front office for thinking outside the box and putting the team on a private plane. 

This eight game road trip has us in Scranton through Monday and then a four game series begins on Tuesday at Lehigh Valley.  Scranton reminds me a little of South Bend, Indiana.  I lived in the Bend for parts of ’98, ’00, and  ’01. South Bend is only 90 miles from Chicago and it is an easy drive.  Benders love Notre Dame, but they also love their Chicago sports and from time to time act like they are from the big city.  That’s the impression I get when I come to Scranton.  It’s only 128 miles to the Bronx and you can reach New York City in less than two hours.  Needless to say there are a TON of New York Yankees fans here and several different eateries that offer some great New York options.  This is one of my favorites…

SWB 004.jpgSal’s always has great specials and the conversation is this joint is top notch.  Yesterday the US Open was on their 19 inch television and these to old codgers were cheering on Phil and Tiger like they were in the galleries.  Of course any golfer who hit a wayward shot would be hammered by the guys and they would share a story about some of their wildest golf shots.  Scranton is nicknamed “The Electric City” and has moved into the pop culture thanks the NBC’s “The Office.”  Overall this is one of my favorite cities because of the people, the food, and our hotel.   

I’ll have more on the hotel, but let me warn you that I have THREE different ghost stories to share with you.  I’m not going to put any names to the stories, but this hotel has a history of ghosts and a current member of the Indians SWEARS he was touched by a ghost a couple of years back.  More on that later…here’s hoping we play tonight.  The weather calls for a ton of rain and the field can’t take much more.  Scranton had games on Wednesday and Thursday washed out and the field was a bit sloppy last night.  It has been raining all day, but hopefully it will stop sometime before 7:05. 

8:30 UPDATE:    

I am currently sitting in the haunted hotel.  Tonight’s game was postponed due to rain.  The Yankees front office made the decision this afternoon at 3:45…a good 3 hours before the scheduled first pitch. 

SWB 008.jpgIn this picture you can see the umpires gathering in centerfield.  They were checking out the playing surface and with the forecast and loose grass this game was banged very early.  Right now it is pouring and the more rain we get tonight makes it less likely we play tomorrow.  The surface at PNC Field has taken too much rain this week and the outfield is a swamp.  I say it’s 50-50 we play tomorrow’s scheduled double-header.  Game one is set for 1:05 pm. 

So tonight I’m relaxing in the room and I think I’ll watch Charlie Morton and the Pirates.  Recently promoted Steve Pearce is not in the Bucs line-up and skipper John Russell says the plan is to have Pearce some of the bench and not immediately move into the line-up.  That sounds about right…call up a 26 year-old that has a better bat than your current RF and let him sit so all the confidence he picked up this month can vanish while he gets 10 at-bats over the next week.  Maybe his lack of time in the outfield is the reason for not being in the line-up and over the next handful of days Pearce will gain some level of comfort and then get some consistent at-bats. 

The Indians didn’t add anyone to the roster today and we will have to wait to see if we get someone to take Pearce’s roster spot.  Hopefully I’ll have some pictures from tomorrows game and not of the PNC Field tarp.



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