Indians

Eric Wedge Speaks About 2009

wedgeIn what was likely one of the toughest two-year periods for any manager, former Tribe skipper Eric Wedge invited Fort Wayne’s Ben Smith into his Richfield, Ohio home to discuss the downward spiral that took place since being one game out of the World Series in 2007.

From the trades to the backroom issues, Wedge discussed most but hinted towards the rest. 

“I know what happened the last couple of years,” he says, as Merle Haggard plays softly in the background. “I don’t broadcast it just out of respect to everybody that’s involved. Plus, you can’t really talk about that, because then it makes it look like you’re making excuses. And that’s the last thing I want to do.”

Clinging to things like his 2007 Manager of the Year Award and the scorecard from his 500th win, Wedge also can’t help but think about all of the things that led to where he is today.  At home.  Drinking coffee.  Watching baseball on the television like every one of us.

But that team that was one game away.  The one where “Champagne tastes just as good on the road.”  The one that had two 19-game winners on the mound?

“You’ve got to keep in mind, it was a different team (at the end),” he says. “A lot of the players I’d been around the last six or seven years were all traded or gone.  Once we traded everybody, we didn’t have a whole lot of ammo to go out there with,” Wedge says, as Merle Haggard gives way to Randy Travis in the background. “So, yeah, I sensed what was going to happen. Most realistic change is the manager. I understood that.”

Wedge was a manager that was among the top of the league in terms of tenure.  He was also a manager that seemingly had more peaks and valleys in his season-to-season mark than any of the others.  A front office that rested on their collective laurels in the offseason heading into 2008.  The same front office that would then have a fire sale of anything that even remotely reminded fans of the “good” times.

But Wedge was in no way without his own faults.  Not getting along with an admitted malcontent in Brandon Phillips.  Leaving Cliff Lee off of the 2007 postseason roster.  His refusal to do small things like bunt even when the situation was of the most opportunistic. 

“But I’m the same guy I was two years ago. Nothing’s changed. After the season was over last year, I had more people tell me it was my greatest managerial year I’d ever had. It’s ironic that 80 games later you’re at your worst.”

But he also did things well.  If not, he would not be having players that he once coached come back to visit.

After that last game in Fenway, Martinez stuck his head into the cramped visitors’ clubhouse to say hi, then sat down and talked for two hours. 

“Those things are special,” Wedge says.

Wedge appeared to conclude the interview by stating his desires to join the management ranks once again.  His players liked playing for him, and he’s young.  He has admitted to already receiving calls to be an assistant coach for more than one team, but may hold out for the chance to be the  man once again. 

While opinions will vary on if Wedge will – or even should – get another chance, one thing is for sure: Anyone who is looking at Wedge will have a guy that has been through the best and worst of times.  In the meantime, Wedge will have Merle Haggard, Randy Travis and Johnny Cash to bridge the gap.

Wedge hoping for another chance [Journal Gazette]

  • nullster

    WEDGE WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER MANAGER JOB SO HELP ME GOD… BOOK IT

    /Isis’d

    Okay now that that is out of the way, he will definitely get looks in the next year as a manager with experience whose players will say good things about him (other than Milton Bradley and Brandon Phillips). You never say never in baseball.

  • Seth

    I am definitely disappointed in the way that the last two years (especially after getting my hopes up so high before each season) of Indians baseball played out, but the blame doesn’t rest soley on Wedge’s shoulders.

    The guy always has been and continues to be nothing but a class act. I wish Wedgie well and hope that he does get another chance to prove that he should be a Major League manager. Just not with the Indians…

  • Tribal

    Wedge was a great fit for the teams he had, and without some of the big trades, we’d still have a contender. In a perfect world, we would keep all of our home-grown talent, and Wedge would still be our manager. But when stuff hits the fan, players go, and the team needs a new direction, a change is definitely necessary.

    Props to Wedgie for always taking the high road. Class act. I hope he gets another chance to teach ’em how to grind.

  • Boomhauer

    Wedge was to blame for the team starting so slowly and being out of contention, which led to guys being traded. If the Tribe had been within 5 games of 1st in late July, do you think they would have traded Lee and Martinez? 2007 was the only year he had the team ready coming out of spring training.

  • Omar13Vizquel

    Yeah, he shouldn’t use the fact of the players getting traded as an excuse. They were traded because of slow starts. Full stop.

  • Ben

    You can always look back and want to change history but if he would have put Cliff Lee on the 07 postseason roster people would have flipped out in this city. He might be the best pitcher in the game right now but he barley won the 5th starter in spring of 08.

  • Isis

    Hey Nullster, are you retarded are just slow?

    Come with your own thoughts and back them up, that’s how it works. But since you remembered my take on Wedge, I’ll repeat it: Wedge will NEVER get another MLB manager’s job, book it. He served in Cleveland only because Shapiro wanted a lackey, just as he now has in Acta.

    Come with your own stuff for once……….your attempt at pre-empting is WEAK.

  • Isis

    Nullster-thanks for the milk-spewing laugh in regards to your basesless statement that Wedge will get looks next year due to his “experience”. Observe.

  • Isis

    Sure, another market is going to put that platoon freak utility player luvin’ nureotic twitcher in front of their media. The guy twitches and rolls his eyes and nose so much he should be tested for ticks. Perhaps Mark Shapiro will provide a reference?

  • Isis

    Nullster-next time, come with facts. Tell us how many winning seasons Wedge managed in his seven year tenure? Talk to us about his April starts. Tell us about his personality. Then, tell us what job he’s in line for next year.

    At best, he’ll serve as a coach on somebody’s staff-he’ll do what he’s told. He’s certainly not considered leadership material by legitimate MLB teams-even Jeff “stiff” Datz just got hired by the Orioles as bench coach. Talk to us AFTER Wedge gets a gig.

  • Alex

    Isis, did you really need to post 4 replies to one person? We all know what you think. We also know that lots of sports-related managers with bad records get second chances with other teams and, despite what you may say, most major league clubs do not, in fact, listen to what you have to say.

  • Hey Isis- that Manager of the Year award might actually go a long way in some GM’s minds. You know, we hired Acta. What would make you think that Wedge would never get another shot? Come on, MLB recycles managers and you know it.

  • kingdiesel

    keep grinding eric.

  • jackofalltrades

    For all of Wedge’s faults, let’s not count leaving Cliff off the 2007 postseason roster.

    That is complete revisionist history.

    Let’s remember that it wasn’t Jake and Pauly that didn’t get it done in the postseason. It was our two 19-game winners that failed against Boston. Jake won a game in the postseason, pitching well enough to win in ALCS Game 7 and Pauly got two wins in two playoff outings.

    Wedge was fired, rightfully so, for not developing some of the younger players, changing his lineups ad nauseum, and his teams notoriously being slow starters. I’m sure there’s more that you guys can come up with, but let’s not confuse Cliff Lee 2008/2009 with the one who couldn’t get anybody out in 2007

  • Dirtywax

    Just for old time’s sake:

    F$^# the Dolans.