Indians news and links, Saturday, April 5: Home opener, Kipnis extension, and more

Jason Miller

Items on yesterday's home opener, the Jason Kipnis extension, Michael Bourn's rehab, Mr. Smithers' baseball team, Japanese television, and more...

Tribe wins home opener

The Indians won 7-2 yesterday, not letting a 2-hour rain delay or a rough first 5 innings put a damper on the first game of the season at Progressive Field.

My recap on the action is here.

Jordan Bastian's recap from MLB.com is here. It includes this from Nick Swisher, one of the day's heroes:

"Everyone go home and enjoy a hot cocoa. Happy bro-pening day!"

That's like a quote you would make up for Swisher, except it's so on-the-nose people wouldn't believe it's real.

For a different take on yesterday's festivities, the Plain Dealer has a video which compresses the ~4 hours from when the gates were opened to when the game actually began into ~70 seconds, showing the stadium fill in, the tarp come off (then back on, then off again), players line up for introductions, and then take the field.

More Tribe happenings

In case you were under a rock yesterday: The Indians have signed Jason Kipnis to a 6-year extension worth $52.5 million, with a team option that could bring it to 7 years, $66.5 million. Examining other second basemen who put up similar production to Kipnis at his age, you see that this contract has a great chance of turning out very, very well for the Tribe.

Kipnis joins Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley in having recently signed extensions, and while those guys were all under team control for a while longer anyway, the team now has cost certainty, and has locked that trip in for an additional couple years. Cleveland.com's Zack Meisel looks at how players feel about the extensions and what they say about the team's future. Says Kipnis:

"This is something we set out to do, to be the players that turn Cleveland around. By staying here and signing on, we're hoping to make sure we finish the job."

FanGraphs' Dave Camerson compares Kipnis and Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals, who signed an almost identical extension a few weeks ago. The two players have been very close in value; Cameron breaks down which one of them he'd rather have, going forward. There's also a survey you can vote in, so go support Kip.

Bastian's daily notes at MLB.com include word that Michael Bourn's rehab plans have been impacted by wet conditions in Columbus, and so instead of having appeared in two games for the Clippers, he's yet to take the field (but is expected to today).

The Burns-Smithers Question

The Simpsons is my favorite television show ever, and one of the all-time classic episodes is 'Homer at the Bat,' in which a group of MLB stars are hired by Mr. Burns to "work" at his power plant, so that they can serve as ringers on the softball team. Last year I wrote about how those nine players would have done as an actual team in the 1993 MLB season. There have been a couple other great pieces relating to that episode, and this week a new one debuted, written by Bradley Woodrum at The Hardball Times. He examines how that team (which was actually put together by Burns' assistant Mr. Smithers) would have done against the team Burns originally wanted to assemble, which included former Cleveland superstars Nap Lajoie and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. The post concludes with a computer simulation between the two teams.

Baseball news

Miguel Cabrera became the 15th active player with 2,000+ hits yesterday. Of the other 14, only Alex Rodriguez reached that milestone at a younger age than Cabrera (who is two weeks from his 31st birthday).

Mark Teixeira strained his hamstring yesterday and could be headed to the DL. The Yankees infield is a pretty decrepit bunch, and it should come as no surprise that one of them would suffer an injury.

Giancarlo hit a massive 484-foot homerun in Miami yesterday, which might be the farthest anyone hits a ball all season. You can see video of it here.

Baseball stuff (that's not quite news)

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (you may know him from such fiascos as the extinction of the Montreal Expos and duping of Miami tax officials) wrote a book 40-some years ago, on the Peanuts comic strip. Jeb Lund (who you may know as Mobute) tracked down a copy and has the details at Deadspin.

Frank Jackson at the Hardball Times takes an in-depth look at the history between baseball and beer, and the rise of each in American culture. Yes, Ten Cent Beer Night gets a mention.

Michael Clair at Sports on Earth examines a Japanese TV show you sort of have to see to believe (good thing he included multiple clips), about a series of baseball superheroes of sorts. Perhaps someday we'll get an American version of Team Astro.

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