Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Manny being Manny a winner

It’s easy to love this Indians team.

They have the best record in baseball at 29-15. The largest division lead by far in baseball – seven games. What’s not to like?

But it is more than that.

It’s the team never quitting, especially at home.

It’s a different player coming through seemingly every night.

If it’s not Travis Hafner hitting a game-winning home run against Seattle, it’s Travis Buck hitting a late-game homer against the Reds or Asdrubal Cabrera going 5-for-5 on Sunday to lead a sweep of Cincinnati.

It’s a starting rotation that has 19 wins against only 10 losses. And a bullpen that is the best in the American League.

And it’s manager Manny Acta.

We admit we were neutral when the Indians hired Acta last year. We don’t follow the National League – their snootiness about pitchers hitting and over-exaggeration on the “nuances of the double-switch” make us ill – and Acta had managed in Washington so we didn’t know much about him.

But we like his approach to the game. He takes things day to day – not in the soul-less “grind it out” way of Eric Wedge – but more of a “let’s take care of today” mentality. He worries about what he can control and deals with the rest when he has to.

The injuries to the pitching staff are a perfect example. While some were worried about what the team would do when Mitch Talbot was ready to come off the disabled list, Acta knew things would work out.

It’s unfortunate that the decision was made for the team as Alex White is now out for the next three months, but the fact that Acta kept the team focused on each day’s game – just worrying about what they can control – fills us with confidence that the Indians have the right guy in charge.

Just another reason to like Manny being Manny.

***

The Premier League season came to an end on Sunday, with Blackpool and Birmingham joining West Ham in being relegated in the closest race in league history.

And after putting on such a strong run since Kenny Dalglish took over in January, Liverpool lost its last two games of the season to miss out on European play for the first time since 1999.

“The end of the season has come at a good time for us,” Dalslish told the Daily Mail. “I’m proud of the players and the way they turned it round. It’s been a long time since this club hasn’t been in Europe but we have to get used to it. This club didn’t build its history and tradition on losing games. We don’t want that to be a habit.”

If the team can add a few more players and pick up next season where they left off this one, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“The squad only needs tinkering,” Dalglish said. “If people want to see the best players and assets of the football club wearing a red shirt, that’s what we want to try and provide. We want to get the highest quality of player in that we can. That’s what position we have been put into, and that’s what we will try to do.”

Sounds good to us.

***

Had some quiet time this morning at Red Right 88 headquarters, so we put on the DVD of the Browns 1989 opener against Pittsburgh and a couple of things stood out to us.

The Browns starting backfield was Tim Manoa and Keith Jones. No wonder the Browns drafted Eric Metcalf for that season.

Who didn’t love the Bubby Brister era in Pittsburgh? In that game, Bubby was 4-of-8 in the first half for seven yards and two interceptions. Even Derek Anderson mocks those numbers.

We forgot how much fun it was to watch Webster Slaughter, Brian Brennan and Reggie Langhorne abuse the over-rated Rod Woodson twice a year.

The Browns defense, at least that first year under Bud Carson, was really good. Guys swarmed to the ball, hit people and made things happen. We haven’t seen that around here for a while now.

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