News from Goodyear and the WBC, along with a look at where the Indians stand compared to their competition at various positions around the diamond.
The Indians dropped Friday's Cactus League game with the Brewers, 4-3. You can find a recap here and boxscore here. Brett Myers struggled with his command, walking three hitters and allowing all four of those runs in his four innings of work. Mark Reynolds hit his second home run of the spring and Nick Swisher and Yan Gomes each added a pair of hits, though Gomes then left the game with leg cramps. Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to throw five innings in tonight's game against the Giants in Goodyear.
Jordan Bastian's Friday notes include word that Carlos Santana and Vinnie Pestano have both kept in direct contact with Terry Francona during the WBC. Pestano has been texting, while Santana called from his hotel room the other night ("I think he was bored," says Francona). Francona also discusses Chris McGuiness' situation. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer reports on what FOX Sports taking over STO will mean for broadcasts.
In what would be LGFT news if it were any other team, from the New York Daily News comes a report that the Yankees' Travis Hafner has "slimmed down" by shedding ten pounds this spring in hopes that a lighter build will help him keep healthy. I normally pull for former Indians, but everything is different if they join this team, so I have no choice but to hope Hafner has another injury plagued season. Yes, I know this makes me a monster.
Fangraphs is doing a rundown of each position around the diamond, ranking all 30 teams by the projected fWAR of the players who will fill that spot for them, prorated by predicted playing time. There's an explanation of the serieshere. For the positions they've covered so far, the Indians have placed 12th at C, 18th at 1B, 11th at 2B, and 20th at 3B. Obviously those aren't quite as high as we'll be hoping for.
Carlos Santana and his Dominican Republic teammates advanced to the semifinals of the WBC with a 3-1 victory over the United States Thursday. It was a great game, played with passion by both sides, especially the Dominicans. When they took the lead for the first time in the 9th inning, the entire team left the dugout to greet Nelson Cruz, much the way a team might at the end of a victory. In addition to the players' enthusiasm, a large contingent of fans were out in support of D.R. and made themselves heard throughout the night. Ken Rosenthal reports that it was a World Series like atmosphere, but also says there were those around the stadium (and internet) not pleased with all the emotion Dominican players and fans displayed.
I have no issue with how they chose to celebrate. I don't think they were showing the U.S. up and if American players don't like it, they should have played better ball last night and earned a chance at revenge against D.R. Instead, they were eliminated from the tournament by Puerto Rico. Mike Aviles and Vinnie Pestano faced off in the 6th inning, with Aviles stroking a single to right field. Pestano then walked the next two batters before allowing a double to Andy Gonzalez, a 31-year-old who hasn't played in the Majors since 2009 (he played 10 games with the Indians in 2008). It was a disastrous outing for Pestano, he didn't retire any of the four batters he faced, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-0 game, a hole the U.S. couldn't quite dig its way out of.
A couple weeks back I mentioned some of my favorite Best Picture winners of recent years. It sparked a discussion, much of it centered around the merits of older films as compared to the modern era. I happen to believe there are as many or more interesting movies being made now than at most other times in film history, even though much of what gets the most attention is junk. Still, there are a lot of great old movies too. So, this week I'm going to give you...
My Favorite Movies of the Pre-WWII Era:
6) The Wizard of Oz (1939) - I haven't seen the new prequel, though i suspect I will at some point. It will obviously fall woefully short of the original film, as all of the follow ups have.
5) The Philadelphia Story (1940) - I'm a big Jimmy Stewart fan, which will become clear if I keep doing this kind of list. Cary Grant wasn't too shabby either.
4) His Girl Friday (1940) - Speaking of Grant... The dialogue in this one is like a Robert Altman film, characters speaking over one another at rapid clip, ahead of its time in that way. Maybe my favorite of Grant's movies.
3) Dumbo (1941) - My favorite Disney movie as a child, one I can still enjoy when I come across it today. Have you ever noticed how poorly parents fared in old Disney cartoons? Dumbo is lucky hunters didn't kill his mom.
2) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - Jimmy Stewart earned the first of his five Best Actor nominations for this, playing one of his most memorable roles.
1) Citizen Kane (1941) - I feel like most of the "classics" in film history have that status with good reason. I wonder what kind of movies Orson Welles would make if he were alive and working today.