Results tagged ‘ World Baseball Classic ’
There are two types of days at Indians Spring Training – good days and great days.
Yesterday, my friends, was a great day. It was the first full day in Arizona and we started it off right by heading to batting practice first thing in the morning. I was at the field 10 minutes when Cord Phelps came up to me and asked if I wanted his bat. My answer was a squeaky little “yes, please.” Awesome. The Indians have bleacher seats set up for those who want to watch practice and a fence to hang on for those who want to snag an autograph. I spent most of the morning on the fence waiting for Jason Kipnis and Matt LaPorta.
In my last post I mentioned how important it is to say hello to people. At batting practice, I would suggest the same. While hanging on the fence, sharpie and baseball cards in hand, I met some great people. An older gentleman that has been in Arizona 15 years and became a Tribe fan five years ago when the team moved Spring Training to Goodyear. The man had never been to Cleveland but loved the team just from seeing them at the park. I met a family with photos and cards split among mom, dad and an aunt to send back to a man cave in Parma. One proud grandma had a picture of her three grandchildren, all in Tribe jerseys, for the team to sign. There was a little good-natured ribbing from some Reds fans about Choo and Hannahan (that made me tear up a little). Justin Masterson came by and signed for everyone and chatted with fans. And much to my excitement, Mike Hargrove came over to sign my slightly bent card. It pays to say please, kids. I can’t forget to mention that Cleveland comedic son Mike Polk Jr. was there and I talked to him for a couple of minutes as well.
After practice, my friend and I went straight to the game, which is right down the street. A fan note here: Some players walk back to the practice facility from the game in case you want to take a walk as well. Goodyear Ballpark is, in my opinion, the jewel of the Cactus League. The park is fan-friendly with a mini field for kids to play catch and run the bases. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. The most important thing is how friendly everyone is. From the guy selling hot dogs to the ushers, everyone has a smile to greet you. The ushers also know that there are fans from all over the country (and continent with the World Baseball Classic going on) and it may be the only time someone can get up close and personal with their favorite players. I took a lot of fantastic pictures by simply asking an usher if I could go to the front row and take a picture. I have never been turned down.
The overall vibe at Goodyear is laid back and relaxed. The players are easy going and the fans are fun.
We ended our awesome day, a little sunburned, in Tempe for dinner.
Today is a new day, and I can’t wait to see what happens!
–TribeVibe Fan Correspondent Traci (@ClevelandChick)
Cleveland native Traci Christler, who blogs independently at http://www.HappinessIsaHotPierogi.com, is in Goodyear this spring and writing about the Indians for TribeVibe. The Indians are not compensating her for her coverage, nor did they fund her travel.
Workouts for the 2013 World Baseball Classic kicked off today. The Indians will be well represented at the tournament with six players expected to take the field for their countries.
Bullpen staple VINNIE PESTANO will join Joe Torre’s Team USA, which will compete in Pool D at Chase Field in Phoenix from March 7-10, along with squads from Italy, Mexico and Canada. SS ASDRUBAL CABRERA will report to Luis Sojo’s Team Venezuela, CA CARLOS SANTANA will join Tony Pena’s Team Dominican Republic, while INF MIKE AVILES and LHP GIOVANNI SOTO will answer the bell for Team Puerto Rico and Akron Aeros manager EDWIN RODRIGUEZ. Spain will join the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela in Pool C at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, PR, with games played from March 7-10. Additional WBC details are below:
With six members of the Cleveland Indians on World Baseball Classic rosters, there stands to be some friendly trash talk when Spring Training opens next month in Goodyear, Ariz.
Indians relievers Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez will help the United States squad, which has finished no better than fourth, take on some of the sport’s very big boys in the third installment of the WBC: Indians teammates Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic) and Asdrubal Cabrera (Venezuela) are members of teams loaded with Major League stars, while new Indians infielder Mike Aviles – and Tribe farmhand Giovanni Soto — join Yadier Molina (Cardinals), Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) and Alex Rios (White Sox) on the Puerto Rico team.
“There will be some back and forth, and that’s all part of it,” said Pestano, who with Perez formed one of the most feared bullpen duos in the majors last season. “Hopefully we get a chance to go against (Cabrera) and Carlos. Their teams are loaded.
“Maybe it’ll come down to us being the 1980 (U.S.) Winter Olympic hockey team: (Coach Herb Brooks said) ‘We’re not looking for the best ones, we’re looking for the right ones,’” he said with a smile.
The U.S., though, is no slouch, and the team’s pitching depth, especially in the bullpen, made Pestano unsure whether he’d even be included. Pestano, who in 2012 set a single-season club record with 36 holds, and Perez, who had 39 saves, are joined by Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Jeremy Affeldt (Giants) and Mitch Boggs (Cardinals), among others, in the bullpen, while Mark Teixeira (Yankees), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) highlight the lineup.
The rotation includes 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, now of the Blue Jays, the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong and Atlanta’s Kris Medlen, among others.
“I’m very confident in (U.S. manager Joe Torre) and the team,” Pestano said. “Chris and I both are pumped about it; we obviously have a great dynamic. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out with the opportunities to pitch, because we have a lot of great arms. But … it would be special if me and Chris in any given day were given the ball to shut it down like we do during the regular season.”
What always was certain was the Indians’ representatives’ desire to play.
“I like the event because I’m from the Dominican and it gives me a chance to play for my country,” said Santana, who hit 18 homers and drove in 76 runs in his second full season in the majors in 2012. “Talking with (fellow Dominicans) Robinson Cano (Yankees) and Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), they were all going and told me that the WBC is a good event.”
Aviles, meanwhile, played for Puerto Rico in 2009 and is honored to again be donning the country’s uniform.
“I heard about it during the summer of last year, that it was a possibility, and I was open to it because I was excited to play in the last one, and it’s always an honor to put on a jersey of that caliber,” Aviles said. “I was just waiting to hear anything this offseason. … It’s just a matter of, I got the call, and it was made official, so I was pumped about it and excited, and I’m excited to put that jersey on again.”
Aviles was acquired from the Blue Jays in November along with Yan Gomes, who is the first Brazilian player to play in the major leagues and is considering playing for his home country in the WBC. Gomes is weighing playing against remaining at Spring Training with the Indians, in an effort to familiarize himself with his new organization and increase his chances of making the Indians’ Opening Day roster.
Meanwhile, the trade that brought the duo to Cleveland, along with playing in the WBC, has made for an interesting offseason for Aviles.
“I’m just pumped for the whole tournament and everything. I’ve got a lot of new stuff going on this year, between (playing for) Puerto Rico and (coming over to) the Indians, and I’m excited for this season just because there’s so much new, that I’m just excited for the upcoming season.”
Pestano, in interviews and on Twitter, made no bones about his desire to participate.
“I had heard from the end of the year that I had a chance to be on the team, but the list of possible players had to become a lot shorter,” Pestano said. “I didn’t know how I was going to fit in and the process was going down.”
The tournament starts with pool play – the U.S. is grouped in Pool D with Canada, Mexico and Italy — in Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Arizona from March 2-12. The next round, from March 8-16, will be in Tokyo and Miami, with the final portion set for March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Japan has won both World Baseball Classics.
United States World Baseball Classic roster
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
David Wright, 3B, Mets
Joe Mauer, C, Twins
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers
J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays
Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox
Ben Zobrist, INF, Rays
Willie Bloomquist, INF, Diamondbacks
R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants
Derek Holland, SP, Rangers
Kris Medlen, SP, Braves
Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves
Heath Bell, RP, Diamondbacks
Chris Perez, RP, Indians
Vinnie Pestano, RP, Indians
Luke Gregerson, RP, Padres
Glen Perkins, RP, Twins
Steve Cishek, Marlins
Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants
Tim Collins, RP, Royals
Mitchell Boggs, RP, Cardinals
–TribeVibe contributors Joel Hammond and Max Lom