Hannahan's legend grows with Fan Cave visit
Indians' third baseman removes superhero cape to wear kilt
NEW YORK -- Jack Hannahan spent Monday morning in Central Park, wearing a kilt, surrounded by Irish dancers, drawing curious looks and making a music video befitting the man known affectionately -- at least to the MLB Fan Cave guys -- as the "Celtic Superhero of the Cuyahoga."
These days, though, it is tough business being a Major League Baseball superhero. The Indians' third baseman went from the Central Park production to the Fan Cave in Greenwich Village, where he hung out for a bit before venturing back into the face of villainy: MLB opposition.
The Indians were hoping to avoid being swept in a four-game series by the Yankees that night, and above all else, they are trying to establish any kind of momentum heading into their big three-game series that starts Tuesday at Detroit. Cleveland, which has enjoyed at least a share of the American League Central lead since April 7, entered the Yankees series finale having lost 14 of its last 18 games.
"Big Tigers series coming up. I think every good team has a little tough run here and there," Hannahan said at the end of his Fan Cave visit. "Pitching's still been great, it's always giving us a chance to stay in games. We just have to get those bats going again. But we're always confident, we show up to play, and we're going to do that again tonight.
"In April, we were doing everything right, playing good fundamental baseball. As of late, somehow we got away from that, but it's a season with 162 games, and there are going to be times that happens. It's important to do what we did in April -- big two-out hits, be aggressive on the bases.
"We have such good veterans. No one has pushed the panic button. We've lost some games. That's going to happen in baseball. It's important not to get down about it."
The Indians would like to see Hannahan hit a little more; his average is down to .236, and since posting four homers and 14 RBIs in April, he has one homer (the game-tying shot in the ninth inning on Thursday against Minnesota) and five RBIs. But his glove has been critical to the club's magical first two months, even through this rough stretch. He is very much worthy of AL Gold Glove Award consideration at this point.
That is a fact not lost on MLB Dream Job winner Mike O'Hara and wingman Ryan Wagner, who have the responsibility of watching all 2,430 MLB games (plus postseason) this year. They "sort of adopted" him early on.
Consider this couch conversation featuring the three at the Cave:
Wagner: "During the first week of the season, we noticed this guy playing third base for the Tribe and just diving all over the field and coming up with key hits. It seemed like every time we watched the Indians, Jack Hannahan did something great. Mike and I are both very proud to be Irish, Jack is obviously an Irish guy, as well, and we just sort of adopted him. He became our hero here at the Fan Cave."
O'Hara: "The legend grows. We've been tweeting about it. There's now a hashtag, #SuperManahan. And he wears No. 9 like my favorite third baseman of all time, Graig Nettles. O'Hara ... Hannahan."
Wagner: "And we started hearing all these Chuck Norris-style jokes about Jack Hannahan. My favorite is, 'Teams in the American League are now practicing the Jack Hannahan shift -- which is eight fielders in the stands and a pitcher behind the batting practice screen.' Stuff like that has been kind of coming out. It's been fun."
Hannahan: "I've had a blast today running around New York, wearing a kilt, hanging out with my buddies today, checking out the Fan Cave. Mike and Ryan have been great, supporting me, and we've just had a blast today. The Fan Cave is impressive. With the TVs to the shuffleboard ... it's all been sweet."
Before taking the 2011 MLB Fan Cave gig, O'Hara was lead singer for "The Mighty Regis" -- a Celtic punk band based in Los Angeles. Hannahan agreed to shoot a video that would feature that band's music and traditional Irish dance. The video will be released soon on MLBFanCave.com.
Speaking of music, the MLB Fan Cave Concert Series continues June 15 with an 8 p.m. ET live concert by Kevin Hammond. June 21 will feature Grammy Award winners Los Lonely Boys, June 23 is the South African rock band The Parlotones, and indie rocker Locksley will perform on June 29. The Fan Cave is located at the intersection of 4th Street and Broadway, and admission to concerts there is free, yet limited.