We’ve already waived the white flag, and even went on to punctuate it. If we could photoshop a giant fork into an Indians logo, we would. But as many losses as this team racks up in what is turning out to be one of the most frustrating seasons on record, you can’t help but cheer on the guys that are actually doing their job. They are easy to name, as there are only a handful: Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia (despite the rough start), and Ben Francisco would be easy candidates. But one that needs instant credit is Grady Sizemore.
I don’t want this to turn into a male-written version of the Grady’s Ladies Sisterhood, but the way this kid has been swinging the bat will make any sort of snubbing of an All-Star appearance an absolute shame. Though leading off for this team over the entire year, Sizemore is leading the league in home runs (21), third in total bases (174), seventh in slugging (.534) and eighth in steals (20). He’s currently the only player in the AL to have the ever-popular 20/20 mark.
For his career, Sizemore sits at 99 home runs and 99 stolen bases. Which means that while he’s having one heck of a first half, he’s one shy of each statistic from being the second player ever in franchise history to ecclipse the 100/100 mark.
Any guesses on the other guy?
If you guessed Lou Boudreau…you’re way off. The answer is one time fan favorite Joe Carter, who managed to finish his career with the Tribe at a mark of 151 home runs and 126 stolen bases. Of course, Carter than went on to be a World Series hero with the Toronto Blue Jays. Philly fans remember this one like it was yesterday, I’m sure.
Not since Albert Belle has an Indian lead the league in home runs to finish off the season. Given the fact that Grady does not consider himself a power hitter, and there are plenty of huge bats right on his tail, it would be a fairly long shot for him to end up on top when it is all said and done. As pointed out yesterday, the team isn’t exactly capitalizing on this power surge, as only seven of his homers thus far have been for anything more than the solo variety.
While we sit here and wait out the rest of this season – or wait for next year – we actually do have something special to watch. Sure, he can’t win games by himself, but Sizemore continues to be one of the more exciting players in the game. And with the way things are going, we as fans should focus more on what we have now; as evidenced by the current C.C. Sabathia situation, it will not last forever.
There is a solid chance that after 2012 rolls around, Grady will be looking at a lot more money than the six-year, $23 million extension that he signed only two seasons ago. When that time rolls around, Grady will then be 30-years old, and possibly looking to sign what would be the last big contracts of his career; typically an area that Tribe brass does not get involved in.
It is not a coincidence that Joe Carter turned 30 the very year that he left the Indians and wound up with Toronto (via San Diego). And do not forget that Carter was the highest paid player in the game back in 1993, the season that he hit that infamous game-winner to win the World Series for the Jays – at the ripe young age of 33.
Some things may just be worth it. But until that time comes, how about we enjoy it while we can?
Oh, and while you’re here – have a great 4th of July. You deserve some time off. Enjoy it.