Indians

All-Star breaking bread with Eddie

When the Cleveland Indians signed perhaps the biggest major league free agent this last offseason, Edwin Encarnacion’s imaginary parrot also changed addresses. In a third WFNY exclusive, we discuss “Eddie’s” thoughts on various topics as we sail by the mythical midpoint of the season.

Shortly after Encarnacion signed: Interview with a Parrot
Spring Training: Return of Eddie’s Parrot

Greg: Good to talk with you, Eddie.

Eddie?

Eddie: Sigh.

Greg: Your agent hinted that you’d be grumpy when we spoke. Are you OK?

Eddie: Whatever. Hey let me ask you something. When you return a call from someone who wants to interview you, and you get a voice recording, should the recording begin, “You have reached…”?

Because you have not reached anyone. Isn’t that the point of the recording?

Greg: Sorry Ed. I thought compared to other birds, parrots were chill. I didn’t realize you could be so high-maintenance…

Eddie: What?

Greg: I said, great point.

Eddie: Know what else I’d like to know? Who was the Phi Beta Kappa that was responsible for telling an OCD to take a half tablet of medicine a day, for seven days. Then, a tablet a day till all are taken. What are you supposed to with the last half tablet? This is a problem. Asking for a friend.

Greg: Good question, I think you– I mean, your friend- should hold onto the last half tablet. That way, your friend can at least have something left if the supply runs out.

So what’s troubling you? Is it baseball-related?

Eddie: Well, yeah. Edwin wants so much for the Indians to win. He wants them to be dominant, with him leading the way.

Greg: He’s on a pace for like 35 and 100, no? And they’ll be fine, don’t you think?

Eddie: I guess. Wish he could be a little more consistent.

Greg: They still have a great chance to win the division. They have pitching, defense, veterans and youth… Hey, what do you think of Bradley Zimmer?

Eddie: Very promising. I seem to recall it being a tossup between Zimmer and Clint Frazier being dealt to the Yankees last year, in a deal that ended up being for Andrew Miller. Regardless of how good Frazier turns out to be, Cleveland does appear to have emerged in very good shape.

Greg: Zimmer is so fast. Do you think a parrot can fly faster than he can run?

Eddie: OK, ya know… you’re just baiting me now.

Greg: I’ve seen Zimmer run. I don’t even think I’ve seen a photo of a parrot flying.

Eddie: You done?

Greg: We have some questions from your fans. Would you like to field a few?

Eddie: Let’s do it. LOVE my fans.

Greg: Jonathan in Akron asks, “What is the Indians clubhouse like? Can you tell about a favorite prank you’ve seen?”

Eddie: Well Jonathan, I’m glad you asked that. As you know, Edwin and I were not with the Indians last year, but my impression is it’s very similar. As we’ve said, the Tribe has plenty of veteran ballplayers who know how to go about their business. But they do have fun and keep it loose. You see it on social media, whether it’s carrying Jason Kipnis through the dugout after a home run, Francisco Lindor messing with Andre Knott when he’s on camera, or Jose Ramirez being Jose Ramirez.

Pranks? They’re funny if they aren’t bullying…

Let’s see- this was more of a stunt, than a prank. Once, a few years ago, a guy was in the middle of a crowded clubhouse. He had someone kill the lights, and it was pitch black. He ripped a screaming fart, and lit it with a Bic lighter. There was a spectacular blue flame.

All of a sudden, the guy began to scream. Then, he sprinted to the showers. Apparently, he wasn’t aware that his pants would hold the flame to his skin. Some guys still call him Singe.

Greg: Oh yeah- you gotta do that naked.1 Here’s kind of a related question from Dom in Milwaukee: “Eddie, what’s a funny baseball story you can share?”

Eddie: A baseball story that comes to mind involves Tom Candiotti, circa 1992. You may remember that he was a solid starting pitcher with the Indians back in the 1980s. A knuckleball pitcher.

When Candy Man was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he apparently was an intense fantasy baseball player. Jeff Kent, a second baseman with the Mets at the time who’d eventually have a proverbial “cup of coffee” with the Indians, was killing Candiotti’s fantasy team.

Ramon Martinez was a starter for the Dodgers. He is a Dominican, you know, like Edwin and me. Once, while Martinez was warming up for a game with the Mets, Candiotti approached the pitching coach, Ron Perranoski. He told “Perry,” loudly enough for Martinez to hear, that he heard that if Kent got drilled in the ribs with a fastball his first time up, he’d be “mush” for the rest of the series.

It wasn’t true, but Martinez didn’t know that. He plunked Kent his first time up. His brother Pedro, also with the Dodgers at the time, did it too. Before long, in fact, all of the Dominican pitchers in the National League were drilling Jeff Kent with fastballs.

Greg: That’s funny. Partly because Kent had the reputation of not getting along with others.

Here’s a question from Hannah in Cincinnati. “When the Indians play Texas, I wonder what our players are thinking about Jonathan Lucroy. Any thoughts?”

Eddie: Hannah, you are referring to the trade that Cleveland tried to make last year. Yan Gomes, the Indians’ catcher, was hurt. Roberto Perez had filled in admirably behind the dish, and we know how good Yan is back there when he’s healthy. The Tribe needed offense, and Lucroy has been a good hitter.

Lucroy’s contract gave him the right to reject a trade. The Indians were ready to send a couple minor leaguers- catcher Francisco Mejia and pitcher Triston McKenzie – to the Brewers for Lucroy.

As we know, this is not a trade the Indians would make this year. McKenzie, and Mejia especially, are really looking like terrific prospects. And Lucroy hasn’t looked that good.

What they say is true- sometimes, the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

As for what Indians players think of Jonathan Lucroy- by now, at least, I don’t think they give him much thought. I’m sure they are aware of why Tribe fans are letting him have it during games, but it’s not personal, for them.

Greg: A question from Grace in Cincinnati.

“The Indians ballplayers sure have been having a lot of babies recently. I have some ideas for names. Let me know what you think.

I heard that the first trainer the Indians ever had, Lefty Weisman, began his run with the team over 80 years ago. At the urging of team owner Alva Bradley, he named a son Jed. It was an acronym of the first letter of the names of Joe Vosmik, Earl Averill, and Dick Porter- the Indians’ starting outfield.

So how about Mbljfjcery? It’s using the entire Indians 2017 starting lineup, and both catchers.

Just kidding. How about Bryce. Bradley, Roberto, Yan, Carlos, and Edwin.
Or Clem. Carlos, Lonnie, Edwin, and Michael. Or Lem.
Jeb? Jose (or Jason), Edwin, and Bradley.”

Eddie: Eeeeeeyeahhhhhh… Keep trying!

Greg: That’s all the questions for now. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Eddie: Seriously, pray for Terry. He’s had a tough stretch of health issues. We talked about the clubhouse earlier. His guys are low-key concerned about him.

Hey, thanks to all. I feel better. Let’s do this again.

Gotta fly!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to route questions for Eddie either at the bottom of this article, or greg.popelka@gmail.com.

  1. Editor’s Note: WFNY is not responsible for anyone taking any terrible advice found in these columns. []

  • mgbode

    I never did like Jeff Kent.