1) Yesterday's game
The Indians won 4-0 yesterday, as Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin both pitched two shutout innings and Ryan Raburn hit a 2-run home run off newly minted $100-million man Homer Bailey.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com's recap focuses on new closer John Axford's debut appearance, a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com's recap focuses on Raburn, whose spring-training success last year preluded his strong season.
Stephanie Storm of the Akron Beacon Journal's recap lists ten thoughts on yesterday's game and action around camp, including a sense that Carlos Santana is showing a "more approachable" side this spring.
2) More Indians items
For what is apparently the first time in the newspaper's history, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial board has taken a stance on Chief Wahoo, writing that it's time for him to go. "A demeaning symbol is a demeaning symbol, regardless of degree."
It's worth noting that the editorial includes a poll, and as of this morning, with nearly 4,000 votes in, 63% of respondents are in favor of keeping Wahoo, with only 35% supporting his removal (2% voted "other").
Cleveland.com's Zack Meisel has five observations about this week's camp happenings, leading off with non-roster invitee Nyjer Morgan having really caught Terry Francona's eye thus far. Says Tito, "You can tell he's on a mission. He's playing with a lot of enthusiasm. He's all over the place."
Jordan Bastian's daily notes from Friday include items on Tyler Naquin finding more power with a new batting stance, Carlos Carrasco learning to make adjustments, and Carlos Moncrief finding internet fame with the great picture of him apparently catching everything but the kitchen sink.
3) New broadcast team for the World Series
Fox has decided on a new lineup for the booth for their postseason coverage, in the wake of Tim McCarver's retirement. Joe Buck, who has provided play-by-play since 1996, will continue in that role. He'll now be joined by Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.
I used to enjoy Reynolds on Baseball Tonight, but his view on baseball hasn't evolved a bit in the last 15 years, and I'm not a kid anymore. I see his addition as a sign that Fox doesn't plan on evolving either. Verducci has been a sideline reporter in recent years, and has written for Sports Illustrated since 1993. I respect his journalistic chops as something of a national beat writer, but rarely agree with his take when he's appeared on the MLB Network.
I didn't expect anything better, but this new broadcast team is a missed opportunity, as far as I'm concerned.
4) Shrink the plate?
Last week Frank Deford, one of the greatest baseball writers in history, suggested on NPR that MLB should narrow home plate by three inches, in order to cut down on strikeouts, which he says are ruining the game.
Joe Posnanski, another of the greatest baseball writers in history, points out all the problems with that suggestion.
5) The impact of defense on pitching
Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs has a great bit of research, looking into the effects of great infield and outfield defense on ground ball and fly ball pitchers. We could guess there'd be a difference, but Jeff gives us a sense of the size of that difference.
6) This week's off-topic topic
The Academy Award are Sunday night. I think they've done a pretty good job with the nominees this year, but if this year is like most others, my rooting interest for Best Picture won't have its time called at the end of the night. Basic math says that's to be expected, since with 5 to 10 nominees, a majority of viewers aren't going to see their favorite chosen.
Here are the Best Picture choices of the 2000s that most disappointed me, and the nominee I think should have won instead (you can find every year's nominees and winners here):
6) No Country For Old Men (There WIll Be Blood) - No Country is fantastic, but I think There Will Be Blood is the best film of the last decade.
5) Million Dollar Baby (The Aviator) - The Aviator is one of my favorite biopics, while Million Dollar Baby isn't even a top 5 Jay Baruchel project for me.
4) The King's Speech (Inception) - I like The King's Speech well enough, but Inception knocked my socks off.
3) Chicago (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring) - I didn't mind Chicago, as musicals go, but it's no LOTR.
2) Crash (Brokeback Mountain) - Crash is my least-favorite Best Picture winner of the 2000s. I was disappointed it beat any of the other nominees.
1) A Beautiful Mind (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring) - I find A Beautiful Mind particularly blah and I was still bitter about Russell Crowe beating Tom Hanks for Best Actor the year before.