Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Indians Hitters Have A New Approach

CLEVELAND, OH - Indians Manager Eric Wedge is confident that the slumping offense is about to turn the corner. Wedge, talking about Travis Hafner, said "he's been stroking the ball to all parts of the field during BP, we are all very encouraged by this. We've seen improvement in most of the other guys recently as well." Wedge attributed the marked improvement to a new plan-of-attack implemented by Hitting Coach Derek Shelton.

Talking with Shelton, LFL learned his new strategies included recently investing in a half dozen Nintendo Wii consoles with the MLB Power Pros game. Shelton explained, "They've been averaging 10 runs and 16 hits when playing computer controlled Central Division opponents in the game. Of course they had to tweak their player ratings and download some cheats from the internet, but I still think it is a good sign." Shelton continued, "Pronk's batting something like .600 with an OPS of 1.400! I don't see how that can't pour over into real-time game situations. It has too, right?"

Shelton further explained how they also purchased a few Derek Jeter Hurricane Batting Trainers and the players are required to take 250 practice swings on one before each game. Shelton reasoned, "Jeter wouldn't put his name on something that doesn't work, plus we got some free Reaction Balls for the infielders. Peralta and Blake play with their balls before every game."

The final approach was to purchase several Ripken Baseball: The Fundamentals of Hitting DVDs. Players are required to watch the video after every game that they post an 0-for. Shelton defended his decision, "A lot of people question why I would select Ripken's video. They say that his career batting average is .276. My response to that is, hey, for most of our guys, .276 would be a vast improvement. You have to set reasonable goals for yourself, you know."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fan Interaction In Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - Fan interaction is nothing new in the South Side of Chicago during White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field. There have been several occasions when fans (usually intoxicated) have decided to take part in the on-field activities. Recent events include, but are not limited to:

Unfortunately there is another incident to add to the list. Last night, following the 7-2 victory against the Cleveland Indians, a disgruntled and somewhat inebriated Indians fan stormed the field when hitting coach, Derek Shelton, emerged from the dugout. The fan jumped the wall on the first base side of the field and took off after Shelton screaming "How 'bout a hitting lesson you inept piece of s#@%!"

Indians Manager Eric Wedge stood idly by while Shelton’s life was in danger, stating afterward “I find it is best to sit back and not get involved, these things usually work themselves out in the end. That's been my approach from day one.”

Thankfully for Shelton, White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen was unwilling to allow this attack to ensue. Guillen quickly grabbed A.J. Pierzynski, his enforcer, and they ran to Shelton’s defense quickly subduing the thug. During the post game interview Guillen expressed, “Have you noticed how pathetic their offense is? We have a plan to win this division this year, and part of that plan includes the Indians believing their slump will magically correct itself. We don’t want them doing anything about it until it is too late.”

During a press conference early this morning, the police informed the media that the Tribe fan disclosed to them that he got the idea from reading the comments posted on The DiaTribe, a popular Indians blog. Police further explained how their investigation led them to the authors of those comments, but the authors denied any wrongdoing and claimed they did not know the hooligan.

However, digging a little deeper, LFL has discovered that some of the serial posters of the blog have started a charity drive to help cover the fan’s legal fees. A conversation with the individual heading up the campaign explained to us that they have had an overwhelming response and have already raised $30. He also expressed that while they don’t endorse the actions, they are worried about the fan’s likelihood of receiving a fair trial in Chicago.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Borowski To Return From DL

KISSIMMEE, FL - Reports are that Joe Borowski's recovery from a tricep strain is progressing well at an anti-aging clinic in Florida. He is expected to return from the DL in time for this weekend's series in Cincinnati. An anonymous source has told LFL that Borowski's MRI on April, 15th was conducted by Paul Byrd's dentist in Florida (we’ll let you draw your own conclusions to that).

Apparently “JoeBlow” (a nickname given to him by his faithful fans) is healing "faster" than expected and along with rehabbing his rubber arm; he is also working on his mechanics. When he returns to the Tribe he will be sporting a brand-new double-windup hand lick, which is surely to disgust the opposing batters, rendering them powerless to offer at his 83 MPH fastball.

Upon his return, Borowski will replace Rafael Betancourt as the team's closer. When ask about the demotion in an exclusive LFL interview, Betancourt responded "No espere que me a seguir celebrando el plomo, sólo para verla volado. En serio, estamos todos jodidos!" (Roll Over For Translation)

When questioned about Borowski's return, Indians manager, Eric Wedge stated "I understand there will be some outrage from the fans. Let me explain our thought process on this; our starting pitching is keeping teams from scoring and our offense appears to be coming around, so hopefully by the ninth inning our lead will be four or more runs and none of this will mater."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Failed Pronk Experiment

The combination of science and baseball is nothing new, but it has recently taken a strange and controversial path. An LFL investigative report as learned some startling information regarding how far baseball executives will go to produce a winning baseball team.

Our story begins in the spring of 2000 in Arlington, TX. Desperate for a team that could not only continue to compete in the AL west, but also one that could make it beyond the first round of the playoffs and win its first World Series title in team history, Texas Rangers GM Doug Melvin got creative, real creative.

Melvin contacted the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is famous for its controversial cloning of a sheep named "Dolly".
Melvin spoke with Dr. Ian Wilmut, who spearheaded the Dolly project, to discuss any ideas he had for creating the ultimate baseball player. Dr. Wilmut informed Melvin that he and Prof. Keith Campbell had actually started on research along those same lines. Dr. Wilmut explained that their research discovered the best combination would be that of donkey DNA and human DNA. The choice of donkey DNA was due to its strength and ability to handle adverse environmental conditions.

Melvin liked what he was hearing, the two parties came to an agreement that would require the Roslin Institute to supply the donkey and Melvin would be responsible for the human subject. Melvin had the perfect person in mind, Travis Hafner, a mostly unknown prospect in the Ranger farm system. Hafner came from a small town in North Dakota, so small his high school graduating class had only eight people. Melvin figured that his use would go unnoticed.

By the beginning of 2001, the project was complete and thus, Pronk was born. Melvin kept the project mostly to himself, but unfortunately, never stayed in Texas long enough to see his experiment through to the end. He did, however, inform incoming GM John Hart of the “Pronk Project”. Hart, being a baseball traditionalist, felt this was perverse and wanted no part of it and on December 6, 2002 transfered the “Pronk Project” to the Mark Shapiro, GM of the Cleveland Indians. Shapiro was open to the project because he was looking for a cheap replacement for Jim Thome, who was likely to depart via free agency at the end of the season.

Through the first five seasons, the gamble paid off as Pronk was one of the most feared DHs in the league, hitting monstrous homers and consistently driving in runs. This would begin to change in 2007 and it was clear heading into the all-star break that year, the experiment had taken a turn for the worst. Pronk had begun a downward spiral that included a lost in power and helplessness at the plate to recognize pitches out of the zone or off-speed pitches.

This change of events put Shapiro in a though situation, it was obvious he needed to rid himself of the “Pronk Project”. Pronk, however, had a different plan; he wanted to stay in Cleveland and knew Shapiro was hinting that he indented to transfer the project to another team before the trade deadline. He went to Shapiro and threatened to go public about the experiment and thus forced Shapiro's hand to offer Pronk a contract extension.

It has now been over a year since the beginning of Pronk’s demise and the Indians and their fans will continue to suffer until the “Pronk Project” is concluded. Unfortunately only Pronk can determine when that will be.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Proposed Perk Package for C.C.

With C.C.'s contract negotiations expected to resume at the conclusion of this season, LFL took the opportunity to speak with Mark Shaprio about how the talks are progressing. Shapiro informed us that they learned a lot from the failed attempt to resign Jim Thome at the conclusion of the 2002 season. Some may remember that instead of a guaranteed sixth year, the Indians offered Thome an extensive list of perks. Some of the perks included a no trade clause and statue of Thome outside Progressive Field, similar to Bob Feller's. Many say that this was too little too late and if it had been offered earlier in the contract talks, it would have sealed the deal. Learning from past failures, Shapiro decided to offer a similar perk package to C.C. during the negotiations in spring training. In an LFL exclusive, we've obtained the list of the perks and outline them below.

  • Rename the Terrace Club to the Crooked Cap Club.

  • Exemption from West Coast road trips involving games against Oakland.

  • Guarantee from marketing department that there will never again be a 1970 Retro C.C. Bobblehead night or anything similar.

  • Matt Underwood will be required to scream "C.C. Ya Later!" ever time Sabathia strikes out a batter on an STO broadcast.

  • Hafner will sit out games in which Sabathia starts, Sabathia will be allowed to bat for himself.

  • Hot dog vendors will be required to make stops in the Indians dugout on Dollar Dog Night.

  • Rename Eagle Avenue to Hefty Lefty Boulevard.

  • Creation of the C.C. Under Achievers Club. It will reward students who get only C's on their report cards.

  • A statue outside the stadium next to Bob Feller's, which will be named Big Feller. Along with the promise to never desecrate it with a "It's Tribe Time" t-shirt during future playoff series.

  • A promise from the Dolan family to "Spend when the time is right" to put together a line-up that can average more than two runs a game.