Indians, WWW

The Indians’ offseason, and saying goodbye to Carrie Fisher and George Michael: While We’re Waiting…

Happy Wednesday, WFNY. We’re officially at the mid-way of Holiday Week. Unfortunately, it appears that 2016 had to take a few more folks from us, but before we get into the somber, let’s talk summer.

The Indians in the catbird seat…

With the Cleveland Indians making their big free agent move last Thursday, when Edwin Encarnacion agreed to a three-year, $60 Million contract with the club, Team President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff can now relax on making any big moves to supplement their outfield. With a lineup that simply replaced first baseman Mike Napoli with a better player in Encarnacion, and with Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar set to return to the Indians rotation, and with Andrew Miller set to pitch his first full season in Cleveland, and with the potential of Michael Brantley returning in some form, and with solid prospects in Bradley Zimmer, Greg Allen and Yandy Diaz ready to make an impact in 2017, the Indians are clearly in the catbird seat both in their division, and with regards to making any future moves.

If you look at their current roster make up, their 25-man will likely look something like this:

Starting Pitchers: Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin (5)

Relief Pitchers: Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Perci Garner, Ryan Merritt (7)

Catcher: Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez (2)

Infield: Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Yandy Diaz (6)

Outfield: Michael Brantley, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer, Abraham Almonte (5)

[edit–added Ryan Merritt to the relievers section, and fixed the adding]

Now, we know the variances of this line-up. It’s likely that Terry Francona will want a seventh reliever, so worrying about who the sixth guy is, when they’ll likely be a seventh guy is silly. Francona will be moving arms up and down throughout the year like normal, and could really blow things up with that new 10-day DL.

It’s also possible that Michael Brantley isn’t healthy enough to take up a spot on the roster, if you’re to believe your heart, and Jonah Keri’s recent statements regarding the outfielder’s shoulder health. It’s equally possible that if Brantley is ready, a guy like Yandy Diaz would be expendable, but the Indians would definitively need another utility infielder, which could make a player like Tyler Naquin (still with three options left) or even Abraham Almonte (one option left) as guys that could find themselves in Columbus. Why Diaz is interesting is because of his infield/outfield flexibility.

My point is less on specific moves the Indians will likely make between today and the beginning of the season, but more on the fact that they have plenty of really good internal moves they can make.

We all know that their outfield needs help, but the Indians can actually buy the type of time that’s needed to see if a guy like Bradley Zimmer can overcome his strikeout issues and make the club earlier rather than later. They can see if Greg Allen’s meteoric rise through the system continues, before bringing him up to become a full-time option in center. Edwin Encarnacion buys them that time, if you’re to believe that the rest of the line-up stays true to 2016, and there’s no reason to think otherwise.

I’m not big on projections, but Steamer still has Jose Ramirez as a 3.4 WAR player, Francisco Lindor as a 4.8 WAR player, Edwin Encarnacion as a 2.2 WAR player, Carlos Santana as a 2.5 WAR players, and Jason Kipnis as a 2.8 WAR player. Each of these projections are lower than their previous year, but in general Steamer (and most projection services) predicts regression. Even if this is true, those numbers showcase the type of core that should prove to be the best in the A.L. Central once again, and likely in the entire American League.

The outfield will have a full season of Abraham Almonte, as well as Brandon Guyer, which should fill in any outfield regression we see from players already out there in Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin (Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan provides some interesting commentary on why Naquin may prove to be a bit of a mirage).

In a very general sense, this buys time for the outfield to sort itself out by the July trading deadline, in which we know the Indians will be buyers, if they have to be. As I’ve mentioned, ad nauseam, the Indians have every player they planned to deal in the Jonathan Lucroy deal (please don’t deal Greg Allen…PLEASE!!), and have some interesting Major League options they could offer up as well. But the time table is theirs.

They don’t have to do a thing, and they can still not only get to the World Series, but have a chance to win it.

Which allows the Indians’ front office brain trust to let teams come to them. That’s a nice situation to be in for a small market team that generally has to sign four, five and six million dollar players to fill in major holes.

The Miller trade and the Encarnacion deal prove that the Indians aren’t playing small market baseball anymore, and it will be interesting to see if a deal falls into their laps prior to the beginning of the season.

Here’s the WFNY Podcast No. 570, in which Mike Hattery discuss Encarnacion:

May the force be with you, Carrie Fisher…

If you’re my age, than Carrie Fisher was your first love, it’s really that simple. If you didn’t fall for her in her flowing white dress and hair buns in Star Wars, or her form-fitting Hoth bodysuit, vest and braids in Empire Strikes Back, then you were absolutely floored when she donned her gold slave bikini in Return of the Jedi.

I’m not trying to objectify Carrie Fisher here, because while the clothes (and lack thereof) and her beauty were certainly alluring for the 6-to-13 year old version of myself from 1977’s release of Star Wars, through the 1983 release of Return of the Jedi, it was her sarcasm, and a dark wit that was so different from any film character I had ever seen before, that launched off the screen.

As I was sitting in a dark theater yesterday afternoon, set to watch Rogue One, my phone started exploding with texts right after the movie started at 12:30. Somehow, finding out that Carrie Fisher had passed away while I was sitting at a Star Wars movie that sets up the original trilogy, helped add levity to the news, that another one of my pop culture touchestones had passed away. As I showed the texts to my kids sitting next to me, and in particular, my daughter, her tears cemented the long-lasting legacy that Carrie Fisher, and really, Star Wars has on all of us Generation X kids that grew up loving the movie.

For my son and daughter, they were saddened at a loss of a character that I had brought into their lives by force feeding them the original trilogy, and who Fisher herself had brought back to life in last year’s Star Wars: A Force Awakens, and will once again in Star Wars: Episode 8 (her scenes were all completed already)

For myself and many others who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, gone is our first sex symbol, and the first strong female character in a movie that was more than just how she looked and what she wore, but how she acted.

I couldn’t really say it any better than Kevin Smith, who wrote the most poignant and dead-on tribute to Carrie Fisher yesterday on Instagram.

“…whose spirt-like The Force-will be with us always. Goodnight, Sweet Princess…”

George Michael’s Last Christmas

I was a rock and roll kid growing up. If you walked passed my house, you’d likely find me outside shooting hoops or playing wall ball while listening to AC/DC, Queen, Guns & Roses or the David Lee Roth incarnation of Van Halen.

But you couldn’t get out of the 80’s without listening to the pop side of things. It just wasn’t possible. The 80’s were filled with perhaps the greatest pop era of all-time, with Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna often topping the charts. Sometimes lost in that shuffle was George Michael, for several much more complicated reasons than just his music.

While at the time, I would have never admitted to it, Michael’s first album, Faith, was one of my favorites. The 80’s were an odd time, but for Michael to throw out the single, “I Want Your Sex” as the first release was a bold statement, even then. The song was chastised by all who were sanctimonious, and Michael had to preface the video promoting monogamous relationships.

“Faith” was another pop-driven rockabilly song that had everything you could possibly want in a pop song, including the visuals of George Michael doing his best Elvis Presley impression.

If you were dating, and breaking up (I plead the fifth), “One More Try” or “Father Figure” likely was on your play-list, but regardless, Michael dominated the charts in late 1987 and 1988, and was easily the biggest star of that year. Remember, this was the era of Michael Jackson and Madonna, and the fact that Michael carved out an entire year of dominance really says it all.

And holy hell did I love his hair. I may or may not have worked really hard to get my hair to look like his “Faith” look, along with the five o’clock shadow, ripped jeans and leather jacket.

Michael left the United States market after a run-in with his record company, Sony, and while mired in controversy over the years for a variety of things, his music career maintained its strength outside of the U.S. While Michael hasn’t been relevant as a performer for years here. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call him a superstar everywhere else.

What may have been lost in all of Michael’s pop persona and controversy was the fact that he really could sing, and for one blazing year in the 80’s, George Michael had left the bubble gum pop of Wham, and had become the biggest pop star in the world. Another touchstone gone far too soon.

Here’s George Michael at what he’s always considered his best performance of all time, performing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” at the Freddy Mercury Tribute in 1992.

I’m also going to include Michael’s practice session video, which is worth the watch, simply for the fact that David Bowie was caught watching the performance from the sidelines.

  • JNeids

    Jim (or anyone else for that matter), curious to know what you would do regarding Episode IX. Recast, a la Dumbledore? Cut her out of the movie, a la Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Hunger Games? Or go full-blown CGI?

  • mgbode

    Graceful exit is the only option IMO

  • RGB
  • Hopwin

    Does anyone have a write-up on what Jonah said about Brantley? Other than that podcast I cannot find that he has put anything anywhere in writing about this.

  • Harv

    saved me a comment. In this audio Keri sounds so certain about Brantley, but not sure how reliable he is when he implies this is career-threatening and way more serious than Antonetti has implied.

  • Hopwin

    Weird that literally no one else in baseball is talking about this too. Jonah Keri doesn’t seem like the type of guy that would have an insider with the Tribe (or any other team for that matter).

  • Without knowing what they are doing with her in Episode 8, it’s really hard for me to weigh in on this. If it’s me, and it’s possible, I would do everything in my power to set up Kylo Ren as the biggest heel in the history of Star Wars. They need their Darth Vader, and Ren is honestly set up beautifully to be that heel. How? Have him kill Luke and Leia in 8. Of course, with Luke and Leia signed up for 9, that’s clearly not the case.

    I don’t hate the CGI, as nearly everyone else does, but I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, bring her back as a CGI character in 9, unless it’s something quick, that can lead off the movie with her death, or her leaving, and having the ship she’s in destroyed…or something like that.

    I honestly hope to hell that this creates a massive hole in nine, because Fisher was a force in these movies, and while Ford had the scene stealing moments in A Force Awakens, I am really looking forward to how she finds her footing (Hamill too, but c’mon, Fisher could act…Hamill…) in this next movie…that moxie is awesome. If they’ve given her any sort of weight, however they handle 9 will add a whole lot more drama to the movie…providing this trio of movies a really satisfying climax, between Rey and Ren…

    I think Fisher’s passing will add a Ledger-like backdrop to eight…so if they follow the original trilogy’s scope, as I think they’ll try to do, it could make this version of Empire Strikes Back a solid entry…

  • I don’t think there’s a write-up, is there? I am conflicted with Keri’s comments, if I’m to be honest. They were somewhat flippant, but he added the “am I breaking something,” thing there at the end of it. I think what he’s done is put a hefty worry on top of my already hefty worry, if that makes sense…

  • Harv

    Wonder how EE’s arrival will affect the performance of Carlos, who seems like the sensitive sort. He has every reason to think that the org that raised him won’t pony up or may even deal him if they think he’s not interested in home-town discounts.

    The Tribe’s current run and flexibility is a direst result of their success in drafting/developing. After that laughable inability to produce a position player for a decade, they now have viable candidates floating up and doing well when they get to town. Just seems like their entire org is stable, on the same page and humming, from Antonetti down to the scouts. Kids at entry level are learning the “Indians Way,” and rising through the system before getting major positions within or being recruited by other orgs. The Tribe is … the Steelers?

    Ok, I know I’ll get crushed for this. Admittedly, I like Star Wars but never worshiped it. Carrie Fisher was an actress reading someone else’s words under another’s direction. She didn’t tour and reprise the role, like a musical act. Everything she did is locked, loaded and digitalized, precisely as before and available. So I don’t get the outpouring for an actor for a single long-ago role, as if something ongoing has been lost. Maybe because I’ve lost a number of real people I was actually close with, this pretending we lost a personal something rings false. Or maybe I’m annoyed that her outing a fellow actor for a decades-ago affair seemed done for the sole purpose of promoting sales in her recent globe-trotting book tour. I must be missing something.

  • Hopwin

    8 is already filmed. Could be wrong but too late to go back and redo it, especially with Carrie’s passing.

  • jeff

    just a heads up, you have (6) listed for the number of outfielders when you only have five names

  • Thanks Jeff…

  • Nah, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’ve lost plenty in my life too, so the weight of conversations like this are always far below real life, as in, my day never really changes, and we go about our day in the same way as always…when actors and sports heroes pass away. When my grandparents died, or my aunt and uncle within three months of each other, or students of mine, or a best friend…I honestly can’t sit down and write about it, it’s too hard.

    To me, certain famous people make you think of times in your life, and while some people live and die with celebrity, the good many of us don’t. When Rowdy Roddy Piper died, I immediately thought of a great friend of mine that used to walk around in a kilt, cutting promos in my neighborhood. When Arnold Palmer died, I remember meeting my father-in-law, eight years before meeting my wife. When George Michael died, I remember sitting in my room for hours listening to One More Try, because one of my best friends had committed suicide.

    As to Fisher “outing” Harrison Ford? Meh. If you don’t care about her death, why care about Ford? It’s hollywood. It’s what Hollywood does, and Ford himself was one of the first talking about how close they were after he found out about her passing. Is what it is.

    Respect the opinion though.

  • Oh…and George Michael’s hair. I loved George Michael’s hair.

  • 8 is filmed, but still being put together, and a year out. Like the last film, call backs are likely, and who knows what they do to spin the end of the movie, or if they even have to. Who knows what the plot is like, and how it ends BEFORE Fisher’s death. It may already be set up for something. I’m sure more will come out once folks pass the mourning stage.

  • Harv

    oh, I don’t give a fig about Ford, just thought the outing was solely for money/attention and reflected poorly on her as a person as she happily recounted it in every interview on her worldwide tour. I get the nostalgic associations; the most awful treacly tune can bring me right back to a vivid, fabulous teenage moment. I didn’t word my thoughts clearly. What I meant was that the post-mortem adoration extols her as a person and role model. Praise George Lucas, man. Yes, I get she’s the symbol, but she was a mediocre actor … and I’m digging myself deeper because I hate star worship in all its forms.

    George Michael had epic hair. Saw a Wham! video yesterday and those short shorts were Tiger Beat porn.

  • Mark Hamill was straight trash acting in that film, and there are an abundance of Lucas films in which the actors were clearly far superior to Lucas. His vision was astounding, but if you believe most of the reports, and Lucas himself, a lot of that character was developed by Fisher herself. One of the things that folks don’t know about her as her career continued was that she was a script doctor in both films she was in, and films her friends were working on. I want to say on all of Lucas’s original scripts, you can see Fisher’s handwriting all over them.

    Plus, I thought she was hot. I love the feisty.

    My kids and I have decided that Michael’s Wham hair is a no-go. I said the same thing then too…because of those damn weird shorts, and wordy shirts. But man, his look once he went solo was stellar. #2 fade…high and frosted on the top.

    Uhhhh…not that I do that…or did that…

  • Harv

    Nice try, sucking me into a convo about the depth of the ability of an 19 year old who had no other roles of note (ok, she was fine in “When Harry Met Sally,” but that was a quarter century ago).

  • RGB

    C’mon, Corvette Summer was cinematic gold.

  • jeff

    You’re welcome.

    Interesting that you added Ryan Merritt as the LHP in the bullpen. I was thinking Hoby Milner or Edwin Escobar or Kyle Crockett.

    If Brantley is healthy (a big if) what would your lineup be?

  • My god, that movie was a classic…

  • She’s not Meryl Streep, that is for sure. But honestly, I saw meryl streep movies when I was a kid, as my parents forced me to the most ungodly movies of all time, and for obvious reasons, Silkwood, Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer left no indelible mark on my life whatsoever. So clearly, 6-year old me watching droids and ships left a much larger mark on me than divorce and plutonium poisoning.

    Good movies for sure.

    I’m not trying to make Fisher a goddess (well, I mean, not an acting goddess), but I know you get pretty clearly that her career was something created via the broad coverage of her movies, and the age of the folks going to see them, over and over and over again…year-after-year, time-and-time again.

    So Star Wars makes her a bigger deal than most actresses, whether you or I want to admit it or not. Now when Meryl Streep passes, or actresses with that type of weight via serious movies, they’ll likely get even more press than Fisher. But maybe not. This is the era of the Kardasians, as it were.

    At least Fisher had a career, and while you poo-poo it because she wasn’t an actress, or even a great actress…she certainly had more bulk to her career than most of what we see today. And damn it…IT WAS STAR WARS!

    Now imagine if she’d been the green girl in star trek.

    But honestly Harv, you and I both know as much as I enjoyed talking her up in that piece I wrote, I’m likely on the bottom end of caring. Read Kevin Smith’s piece (and he met her), and multiply my piece by 100,000 for those that actually do worship the ground she walks on. If I sat and thought about movies in the early 1980’s, I’m sure I can come up with some other actresses that were only in a movie, but never showed up in anything ever again. But Fisher shows up time and again…simply because of the popularity of those three, the new movie, and thanks to millions of youngsters that really…really hoped she’d show up at their front door wearing the slave bikini.

    I’m not really sure what we’re debating. I think in the end, we probably agree more than we don’t. I just like to argue.

  • I only picked Merritt because he’s a lefty, and they clearly like him a ton, just not sure if it’s as a starter long-term, or a pen arm. You could essentially replace a couple of those guys with anyone else, and I think they’ll do that often.

    Now, my lineup…just depends. What’s nice is that in the entire 1-6, you have guys that can hit anywhere, dependent on need and with EE in the four slot, you now have a perfect mix of right handers and left handers. It’s insanely good.

    If they don’t add a lead-off hitter in the mold of a Francona traditional Rajai Davis (and I didn’t like him as a lead-off anyways…and Allen will be awesome down the road), than I think you’d see:

    Santana DH/1B
    Lindor SS
    Brantley (if healthy) LF
    Encarnacion DH/1B
    Kipnis 2B
    JRam 3B
    Chisenhall RF
    Gomes or Naquin or Almonte
    Perez or Naquin or Almonte

    (Perez and his OBP make him a solid #9, with the top of the order. If it’s Gomes, I put Naquin or Almonte in the 9 hole.)

    Now there’s play here…Diaz and Zimmer and Allen and Guyer…

    Also realize that You can bump down Santana to the 5, and have Kip lead off, or even roll Lindor or JRam there, or put Brantley in the 5-hole…if I remember right…he was pretty good there. YOu could swap Lindor and Brantley, or get JRam up to the 1 or 2 hole.

    Now, imagine what happens if they find a lead-off hitter that’s a lock? This line-up goes from maybe the best in the AL, to honestly, as good or better than the Cubs in some ways…and if healthy. As it stands, you can do a bunch with it if Brantley is healthy…and honestly…even if he’s not.

  • woofersus

    Just listened – cliffs notes:
    -I have sources
    -Don’t draft Brantley for fantasy
    -Horrendous injury
    -may not contribute significantly at all in 2017, if ever again

    It was pretty simple and sparse. I don’t know what kind of sources these are, but I get the feeling he just heard some second hand rumor.

  • tsm

    I understand both what you and Harv are saying. I am not much into the whole celebrity thing, but that is just me. As an adult, I realized that they are just imperfect people just like me. While I appreciate the skills of an Arnold Palmer, or the musical talent of Prince, or the acting talent of any movie star, their lives and deaths don’t move me like those family members and others whose lives were lived out of the spotlight. I certainly understand that celebrities bring back memories of youth or other great life moments ( songs particularly seem to do this) and we all feel a twinge when someone who represents these things passes away. I am always more impressed when I read in an obit about a guy who loved and was faithful to his wife, a great father to his kids, a great fellow employee, and who also looked beyond themselves to see how he could help others less fortunate.

  • Harv

    ” I know you get pretty clearly that her career was something created via the broad coverage of her movies, and the age of the folks going to see them, over and over and over again…year-after-year, time-and-time again.” Fine, and maybe you can similarly understand my obsessively following the members of the Lollipop Guild in “The Wizard of Oz.”

    I kid. You have flushed out a confession with your contextual explanations. Here it is: I never considered Princess Leah hot. Not in the slightest. Peers talk about her as if she smokes like the sister emerging dripping from the pool in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” I don’t get it, and if I did I’d probably be mourning Fisher today, raging hypocrite that I am.

  • Phoebe Cates.

    Now…that’s a whole other conversation

  • We all agree on this. But…WWW does cater to pop culture.

  • woofersus

    I’ll put my vote in for trying out JRam in leadoff. He had a .363 OBP last season and stole 22 bases. And unless Brantley returns to 2014 form in a hurry, I’d say Lindor ought to be in the 3-hole. Santana goes to 5th.

    How about this:

    1. Ramirez – S
    2. Kipnis – L
    3. Lindor – S
    4. Encarnacion – R
    5. Santana – S
    6. Brantley – L
    7. Chiz/Guyer – L/R
    8. Naquin/Almonte – L/S
    9. Gomes/Perez – R

    Obviously you could swap 8/9 depending on who is catching as you mentioned. If Brantley did return to previous form quickly, or even eventually, I would consider batting him 3rd, bumping Lindor to 2nd, and dropping Kipnis to 6th. Protection galore in this lineup! Plus if you consider the platoon splits and switch hitters, our lineup against RHP effectively goes LLLRLLLLR, and our lineup against LHP effectively goes RLRRRLRRR.

    Honestly, I doubt we see Zimmer before July and Allen before September unless needed for injury. Zimmer’s 2016 suggested he had some things to work on, and Allen just got to Akron. Diaz is an interesting case because he’s clearly ready to contribute offensively but it’s not clear if he can play OF competently. He apparently played 2B in Cuba, but as with 3B we have a fairly established guy there. If Brantley can’t go I wonder if they try Diaz in LF or if they move JRam to LF and give Diaz a chance at 3B.

  • Harv

    Seeing George Michael in the clip with Queen reminds me about Brian May, the fine lead guitarist. Later earned his Ph.D. and became a leading, published astrophysicist. Sort of the Ben Franklin of pop music – how is it fair to be world class in such divergent professions.

  • I absolutely love Brian May. As a guitarist, I never really paid attention to his part of Queen until that 92 concert. Style didn’t really fit me, but he was always in experimenter. In the early 80’s, he had put together a “Holy Grail” of sorts for Eddie Van Halen fans, with the Starfleet Project. Then, you could barely get your hands on it. Now, of course, you can find everything. It’s not mixed at all…and really Brian May of the 80s. But you can really hear the contrast of Eddie and May…which oddly fits.

    I had no clue he had a Ph.D., but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. If anything, Queen seemed to be…an extremely intellectual band.

    Here’s The Starfleet Project:

  • So, that’s the fun of the top six in the line-up. I think you can really mix and mesh, and Ramirez absolutely could lead off, especially with his speed. I like Kipnis there, and with three switch hitters, a righty and two lefties, it starts to get fun. Lindor is equally good there, and I think JRam, Kip, and Lindor can equally drive in runs. that said, Brantley is essentially the same as Ramirez and LIndor in the aspect that he doesn’t K much, if he’s healthy…and if he’s not driving the ball because of the shoulder, you can easily move him up in the order as an on base machine.

    It’s a lot of fun to protect him. What sucks, is someone in this roster has to hit 6th. I don’t know about Zimmer and length of time, and I would tend to agree with you about Allen, but a big part of me things they see him as an outfield version of Lindor, and he’s clearly the best defensive player in the system, and in the outfield, and where they need the most help. Now, I keep getting the, “he’s only played in Akron for six weeks,” and normally, for the Indians, this truly is a year-long deal for sure. That said, when Pluto follows up our story here at WFNY with piece suggesting the Indians are talking mid-summer, you can bet the Indians are talking mid-summer.

    He did play 2B in Cuba, but was voted the best third baseman in the Carolina League (not sure I’d agree), and if the rumors of winter ball are true, he’s been outstanding in center. I won’t believe it until I see it though.

  • jeff

    That’s the exact lineup I came up with.

  • jeff

    I don’t know if it’s my stubbornness or what, but I don’t like Santana leading off. Well it won’t matter anyways because Greg Allen will be there by mid-summer anyways ha.

  • jeff

    until Greg Allen is ready ha

  • jeff

    I in no way shape or form claim to be a baseball scout or anything like that..but I saw Yandy Diaz play in Akron in 2015. Kid is going to be very, very good.

  • good enough for me. I saw him in Carolina during his first year. Once he got healthy, he looked raw, but good. Can’t wait to see him in the outfield.

  • I like Santana in the five slot, but am totally okay with him in the leadoff slot. If Allen is up, and his bat is as real as it was when I saw it at Double A…giddyup!!

  • jeff

    He played 3B when I saw him in 2015. It was a sight for sore eyes.

  • jpftribe

    I have this LP on vinyl. May’s guitar work on everything has been stellar, but News of the World is my fave.

    Somebody to Love at the Freddie tribute concert is one of my favorite moments in rock history. Last guy I would expect to steal the show. The pure vocal performance was stunning, but his balance of flamboyancy and humility filling in for Freddie was palpable.

    Rehearsal clip is great too. Michaels belts out 3 syllables and May breaks out in an ear to ear grin. You can tell he knew right then it was going to be great.

    Nice write up Jim, appreciated.

  • That Mercury Tribute…I mean…to me…the singular concert I would go back to see. You can honestly say that there are four or five performances there that are second to none. I remember watching a Bowie interview talking about how he felt that he’d never put anything more into a performance than on that day…and he started crying at the thought of it…Bowie. Michael, to me, was so much more than the US press gave him credit for. His voice…powerful, rangey…

    This isn’t to say that he didn’t have his faults…he did…but man…listening to that show…takes your breath away…

  • Yeah, he was at third base when I saw him too. I like Yandy a lot. They like Yandy a lot. I’m not going to lie, if they have Yandy as an uber-utility on this team, I’d be fine with the current roster, if they truly believe Allen can be ready by July, and don’t hold him back because of riff-raff…

  • Carrie Fisher’s mother died today…Debbie Reynolds. Totally get how having a daughter pass away can just demoralize a parent…especially at 84…but wow…

  • mgbode

    Why is ‘Los sensitive?

    Changed positions anytime the org. asked including OF in WS. Batted everywhere up and down the lineup.

    He is the epitome of the good soldier for the team. I would expect EE will just get him to score more runs when he leads off and gain more RBI when he hits behind him.

  • Harv

    yes, he’s been a great soldier. All I meant was that he was not happy a few years ago when he stopped catching, that Napoli made a special point to reach out so that he wouldn’t feel threatened by his arrival a year ago, that Napoi’s homers supposedly made him stop overswinging, and that this is a life-changing money year for him. He’s grown on me a lot. I was just wondering aloud how he’ll react.

  • Harv

    never heard that before. What a perfect example of the arena rock of that time.

  • woofersus

    I think the biggest effect Napoli had was to take the pressure off a little bit. I always thought that the overswinging was a little bit of a response to being in the cleanup spot and feeling the need to drive in runs. I expect Encarnacion would have a similar effect. However, Santana’s health can’t be overlooked as a factor in his performance. With his back feeling better he was able to generate power with a more compact swing. Playing DH half the time probably helped a lot with that.

  • I think Santana’s moves have been part “good soldier,” and part, “I don’t want to be just a DH.” I love his willingness to do anything to stay in the field, but there is a tightness about him with certain things.

  • I think he’ll get more time at first than Encarnacion, so that alone will probably keep him satisfied in that respect…was worried about this a bit, especially with the contract year…

  • Huge point is the health…couldn’t agree more. I think what Harv was alluding to…this sensitivity issue, is connected to a sort of macho bravado to play, no matter what. It’s certainly not a rare case, and can be applauded, but he has had a history of playing through stuff. Last year, it didn’t appear that he had anything to play through, other than the every day beating a player takes from the amount of games Santana plays from year to year.