05/23/05 1:21 PM ET
Mailbag: More hairy subjects
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
I mean, the suggestions on how to fix a team's problems are manifold, and they include some of the oddest guidance a manager could ask for. Think about this bit of wisdom: Some Indians fans have suggested that Eric Wedge's moustache might be bad karma for the Tribe.
Now, I've heard of a lot of things in sports, but is anything odder than that? But, hey, check out this enlightenment from www.shaveericwedge.com:
"We at ShaveEricWedge.com are dedicated to getting Tribe skipper Eric Wedge to shave the moustache that is responsible for the Indians' early-season swoon in 2005. We believe that the moustache, which Wedge either grew or bought in the offseason is the Achilles' heel of the Tribe's anemic offense. The moustache, which may have been an acquisition by general manager Mark Shapiro, joins U.S. Cellular Field and Twins catcher Matt LeCroy as the ugliest things in the American League Central. Please help in any way you could to aid in the removal and destruction of Eric Wedge's moustache. The Tribe, the city of Cleveland and, most importantly, Eric Wedge need you."
Not sure how I can help this cause, because I'm not bothered by the hair on Wedge's upper lip. That's a personal thing.
Let's hear some of what the fans are saying this week:
The problem with the Cleveland Indians is Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge. Don't you agree? -- Partida Virgilio, Mexico City
Now, that's what I'm looking for, Partida -- the juicy stuff, and blaming the team's bad play on things less tangible than a stupid moustache. But I'd have to argue with you on this point. I'd blame the players for not hitting more than Wedge and Shapiro.
Also, it's counterproductive to play that blame game in May. Let's see a bit more from these Indians first, OK?
Jake Gautreau looks like he's healthy this year after his two-year battle with colitis. He's showing the power at the plate that everyone knew he had, and despite the five errors, he can be a solid third baseman if he was playing there every day. With Aaron Boone struggling, have the Indians given any thought to bringing Gautreau up?
Man, Jake's got a lot of fans out there in cyberspace. They keep throwing questions my way about the guy. But no amount of questions will change the reality, which is this: Gautreau is a long way from being in the Indians' plans.
He has to prove that he's a Major League talent, and a couple of months in Triple-A Buffalo won't vault him into the front ranks of the organization's prospects. He's a player with flaws, and his history of injury, is another reason to shy away from bringing him to the bigs prematurely.
If the Cavaliers will fire their coach midseason due to inconsistent bench rotation and a lack of winning, why won't Mark Shapiro consider relieving Eric Wedge of his duties as manager due to inconsistency in his starting lineup?
I am not a great supporter of Wedge, and I don't think he is our answer for a manager who can take a team beyond the rebuilding stage. What is your view? -- Gregory Turner, Atlanta
Greg, you missed a key point in your comparison of Wedge and Paul Silas. The Cavs fired Silas because he'd lost control of his locker room. A manager or a coach is doomed when that happens. In Wedge's case, players continue to listen to him, and they continue to grow as well. And none of them have rebelled at his tutoring as the James Gang did.
I hope you see the difference in the two situations. One was about having the wrong man in charge from the get-go; the Indians' case is about not having the players in place who can take the team to the next level. Much can happen between now and season's end, but I don't think you'll see Wedge lose his job. I've made that statement in a couple of earlier Mailbags.
Do you know anything about Kinston third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff? He looks like a pretty talented kid. He has had a great Minor League career so far and is tearing the cover off the ball again this year.
Do the Indians have any plans for him that you know of and what are the chances of moving him to Double-A? -- Rob Reid, Boise, Idaho
I don't know a heck of a lot about Kouzmanoff, except for this: The Indians are high on his talent.
He's one of the top prospects in the organization, and if he continues to wear out pitching in the Carolina League, he'll definitely be leaving Single-A for the tougher competition in Double-A Akron.
I had met Grady Sizemore at the Westfield Shopping Mall Team Shop. Is he going to be back any time in the near future? Or is he going to be anywhere close to Canton? I absolutely love Grady and would like to have my picture taken with him next time. I'd really appreciate if you let me know. -- Amanda M., Canton, Ohio
Now, Amanda, I can't play Mr. Sizemore's social secretary, but you're not the lone woman who has fawned over him. He is the poster child for the Indians, and he does have that GQ look about him.
As for when he'll be in the Canton area again, I can't say. But the Indians are big about sending their players out into the Northeast Ohio community, and I would guess that Sizemore is in high demand.
I just wanted to say that I think that this Web site does a great job in keeping fans informed. Living all the way out in China, it is relatively easy to follow the Tribe via this Web site, so thanks a bunch. -- George, Beijing
Thanks for the compliment. I hope my bosses see this, because maybe they'll notice how far my reach is and throw a few extra dollars my way.
Has anyone asked Eric Wedge to shave off his moustache? I have had a bad feeling about the Indians season since I first saw it in Spring Training. Some guys shave their heads to turn things around -- maybe Mr. Wedge can shave his moustache. -- Scott S., Atlanta
Man, another hairy question. But, no, nobody has asked. I mean, it's not as if most fans care, right? This moustache thing's got a shelflife like Spam. Maybe I'll bounce the subject off Wedge either today or tomorrow.
Then again, maybe not. Who cares? Let's talk baseball, man! With my bald head, I'm in no position to talk about hair.
Indians prospect Adam Miller started his throwing program at the end of April. How is he doing so far? -- David M., St. Clair Shores, Mich.
It's not Miller's time just yet. But he is making steady progress from arm problems. I can assure you, however, that he'll not be rushed back into action. As the prized prospect in the organization, the Indians are doing everything they can to protect this "million-dollar baby," David.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.