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Not much going on out there, but figured I'd toss up a few articles since the season may well end tonight.


First up, Castro's Q&A:


I like the Manny Acta hiring. He knows a lot about our roster, and I think he will be a good manager.

-- Kenny K., Elyria, Ohio


Manny Acta!? Are you kidding me!? In what way is this a better step than keeping Eric Wedge? It makes no sense to hire a manager who already failed at one rebuilding project to take on a completely new rebuilding project. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

-- Justin S., Nashville, Tenn.


His managerial record leaves quite a bit to be desired, but he understands the difficulties of working in a small market and he's well-respected in the industry.


But enough about Wedge.


Regarding Acta, this guy's personality really jumps out at me, and, obviously, it jumped out at the Indians. The Tribe wanted to bring in a good communicator, and they got one. Acta is a likable and charming guy, so you'll notice that all the reports about him after his introductory press conference were glowing (these things have a way of working hand-in-hand).


But what kind of manager will Acta be? I have absolutely no idea. Believe it or not, I didn't watch many Nats games the last couple years. A couple people who did, however, were Braves manager Bobby Cox and Mets GM Omar Minaya, and they both submitted to the Indians positive reviews of Acta's in-game work, to date. That has to count for something.


Basically, we are in "benefit of the doubt" territory with Acta. It's well-established that he was working with a team low on talent and high on maintenance in Washington, so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over his record. His insights into the Indians during his presser showed he's done his initial homework on this team, which is encouraging.


(Granted, not one bit of this insight couldn't have been conjured up by reading a few weeks' worth of Indians.com articles, though at least he name-dropped the mighty Nick Weglarz.)


Acta has a lot to prove, and he appears hungry to do so. The Indians' front office has a lot to prove, and it is eager to do so. You could say, then, that this is a perfect marriage, in that sense. These two need each other. And while I can't blame fans for wanting a more recognizable, proven name to take over, I think Bobby Valentine's disastrous meeting with the media during the interview process demonstrated that such wishful thinking does have its pitfalls.


Any idea if Torey Lovullo might join the coaching staff in Cleveland?

-- Jody M., Rootstown, Ohio


I think that's possible, though when I spoke with Lovullo on Thursday night, he wasn't sure what direction the Indians were going in.


Under different circumstances, Lovullo would have won the Indians' managerial gig. From what I gather, the primary reason he didn't get the job is that the Indians felt strongly about bringing in an outside voice with this hire. But Lovullo's knowledge of the Tribe's young players, his energy and his intelligence make him, in my eyes, a perfect candidate for Acta's staff. Lovullo is primed to be a big league manager someday -- perhaps soon -- and a Major League coaching position is the next logical step for him.


What can one conclude from your interview with Sabathia? He now doesn't overthrow (and maintains his composure) when he has Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and the rest of the Yankees behind him? And he couldn't have done that with the 2007 Indians? Do you interpret his remarks as admitting his own weaknesses and shortcomings, or blaming the Indians for his poor pitching?

-- Glenn B., Herndon, Va.


I thought that was a very telling comment on CC's part. This is a guy who had long had a reputation for overthrowing in emotional situations (especially when he would pitch in Oakland, near his hometown). In 2007, he was supposed to be past all that. But his postseason performance -- not Joel Skinner holding Kenny Lofton up at third or Fausto Carmona getting shellacked in Fenway -- was the No. 1 factor that kept the Indians from advancing to the World Series. It proved Sabathia still had some growing to do as a Major League ace.


Watching the way Sabathia put the Brewers on his back and carried them to the postseason in the second half last year (when he seemingly pitched every other game) was impressive. And watching him take it to the Angels in the ALCS was confirmation that he's matured. But his comment about having that Yankees lineup working for him and taking the burden off his shoulders is an accurate one. Though he has superior stuff to a guy like Cliff Lee, he is more prone to let the environment get the best of him. For that reason, a Yankees team on which he is just one of many All-Stars is a better fit.


Sabathia recently told reporters that his departure from Cleveland and the demise of the Indians wasn't his fault. Maybe you can help me figure out who the fault belongs to. Perhaps it's the Yankees for enabling him to be greedy. Or perhaps it's Major League Baseball for not instituting a salary cap and thereby enabling the Yankees. Either way, I'm pretty disgusted by these events, and I think that if Sabathia had signed a contract extension with the Indians in 2008, much of the fire sale might never have happened.

-- John R., Fremont, Ohio


If CC had signed an extension with the Indians before the 2008 season, would that '08 team have performed any better or been any less injury-prone in the first half? Probably not. Would more fans have flocked to the games at the newly named Progressive Field? Probably not. Would the Indians have more than 20 percent of their payroll -- for years to come -- tied up into one pitcher? Definitely.


Long story short, I don't know what the Indians could have done to handle the Sabathia situation more appropriately. The guy wanted to chase every bit of his worth on the open market, and you can't fault him for that. The Indians, like every other mid- or small-market team in baseball (including, as it turned out, the Brewers) didn't have the financial flexibility to sign him long-term (though they did try), so they did the next best thing by trading him for prospects. What happened with Sabathia is a direct result of baseball's cap-less system.


The Lee situation is different, because the Indians still had him under contract for 2010, so their choices weren't as cut and dried as they were with Sabathia. And the haul brought in for Lee seems a bit riskier. Speaking of which...


After seeing Cliff Lee dominate the Yankees in Game 1, learning about Jason Knapp's season-ending injury and seeing Carlos Carrasco struggle mightily in the bigs, I can't help but think this was one of Mark Shapiro's worst trades. I know this trade is old news, but I still have a fresh wound in my heart when I watch Cliff pitch. Are my early assessments of the prospects we got in this deal at all accurate? Or am I being a nervous Nelly?

-- Nathan H., Stevensville, Ontario, Canada


I don't know about nervous Nelly, but you are being a cliché Clevelander (even up there in Canada). And who could blame you? Shapiro once called Cleveland a "traumatized" fan base, and this World Series matchup is a Halloween horror story that pours salt in old wounds.


We don't know how Knapp will turn out after surgery, and it's too early to rate Carrasco, Lou Marson and Jason Donald. All we know at this point is that it's clear Shapiro and company, after getting word from ownership that no additional payroll would be poured into the 2010 team, acted quickly to move Lee and got no immediate Major League-ready talent. Based on what we saw from Carrasco, you can't expect him to slide immediately into the 2010 rotation, nor can you expect Marson to make an immediate impact behind the plate. Knapp is years away, and Donald's ailing back prevented him from a September callup.


Because the returns aren't immediate, it's easy to point to the Indians' end of the trade at this juncture and call it a disappointment. Clearly, there is not much to like about this deal right now, if you're a Tribe fan, but it's never wise to judge a prospect haul three months after the deal is made. Practice patience, Nathan, but also know that your early skepticism is justified, particularly in light of post-trade events.


And finally...


As with every new face of an organization, I believe a nickname for Acta is in order. I propose "Tough Actin' ManActa."

-- Patch R., Columbus, Ohio


All right, then, the floor is open. I hereby submit "Manny Being Manager" and "Actavision." And when Acta announces that an injured player is coming off the disabled list, you better believe I'm going to report said player was "Acta-vated."


I also hope the American Council of Trustees and Alumni is given complimentary admission to the Party Deck in right field.


All right, I'm done. Keep those questions and nicknames coming.





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Not really Tribe related, but there's another team out there that wishes Cliff Lee was on their roster:


PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins were high on pitcher Cliff Lee long before he won a Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians and became an instant World Series sensation with his Game 1 masterpiece for the Phillies.


Problem was, the Marlins didn't produce a signing bonus large enough to satisfy Lee when they grabbed him in the eighth round of the 1997 amateur draft, and the young high school hurler from Arkansas landed in college instead of the pros.


``He turned us down,'' said Marlins special assistant Orrin Freeman, who scouted Lee for the Marlins in '97.


Freeman said the Marlins offered Lee a $75,000 signing bonus. But the pitcher held out for $400,000 -- the amount the Marlins gave to Wes Anderson, another Arkansas prep star Freeman scouted.


Anderson was taken in the 14th round.


But Freeman said that was only because the player, who graded out as a first- or second-round pick, told teams he planned to attend college and had no intention of turning pro. Freeman said Anderson changed his mind, though, when the Marlins dangled the six-figure signing bonus in front of him.


As for Lee, Freeman said that after a team-imposed signing deadline passed, the left-hander changed his mind and told the club he would accept their original offer. But it was too late.


``We didn't have the money anymore,'' Freeman said.


Lee ended up going to college, was chosen by Montreal in the fourth round of the 2000 draft, and began his pro career in the Expos organization -- back when Jeffrey Loria owned the franchise.


Anderson pitched for several years in the minors but never fully recovered from shoulder surgery and hung up his spikes in 2003.





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And finally, here's a Bleacher Report column that talks about what it would take to acquire Mat Gamel from the Brew Crew:


Solving the Cleveland Indians' Third Base Woes: Lucky There's a Gamel-Y Guy

Scribe Written on November 02, 2009


Any Cleveland fan with a decent short-term memory knows that, for the past several seasons, the Tribe has experienced consistent inconsistency at third base.


Since Travis Fryman hung up his cap, the Indians have had a revolving door at the hot corner. The Indians have had four different Opening Day third basemen in the last seven seasons, none of them for more than two years in a row.


No, inconsistency isn't necessarily a bad thing. But when the Indians finished the season with Jhonny Peralta as their best option at third base, it became clear that something needed to change.


Remember how excited we were about Andy Marte? He might not have worked out, but someone in his image—a young, sweet-hitting third base über-prospect—would still be an excellent fit in Cleveland. But where to find such a player?


Enter Mat Gamel.


Gamel, one of the most highly regarded prospects in the Brewers organization, has been compared favorably to other tantalizing youngsters like Matt Laporta and Matt Wieters (Has anyone else noticed a pattern here? Does the name unearth talent, or do the skilled seek out the name?).


Gamel was supposed to dip his feet in the water this year, gradually eating at Bill Hall's playing time and hopefully claiming sole possession of a starting job by season's end.


While Gamel showed flashes of his power potential (five homers in 128 at-bats) and impressive plate discipline (nearly a walk per eight plate appearances) with the big league club, he never really found his groove in Milwaukee.


Many of his struggles could be attributed to the usual adjustment rookies have to make when they get to the majors; it didn't help that he saw inconsistent playing time. The emergence of Casey McGehee pushed him to the back burner, and Gamel did not get the chance to develop as expected.


So will Gamel be shopped? Signs point to yes. McGehee will be the Brewers' Opening Day third baseman in 2010, general manager Doug Melvin said, and Gamel will not be moved to the outfield.


"We've been highly reluctant to trade top prospects in the past, but we might have to do that," said assistant GM Gordon Ash, "There is a risk-reward scenario in play. We're going to probably have to be higher risk taking than we have been in the past."


The Indians have plenty of players they can trade this winter, even discounting a certain big name who I think should go . Many fans would be thrilled to see Jhonny Peralta leave town. Lou Marson and Carlos Santana make catcher Kelly Shoppach expendable—sure, they're a little green behind the ears, but what better way is there to develop prospects than giving them some on-the-job training?


The problem is, the Brewers want pitching. The only Indians pitchers with the track records to fetch a prospect of Gamel's caliber are Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood, and it's doubtful that Milwaukee would be interested in dealing for them unless the Tribe would eat a large portion of their bloated contracts.


In order to bring Gamel to town, a third team would have to be involved. What team needs a third baseman and a catcher, and could conceivably give up a quality starter?


I think I see Jack Zduriencik's ears perking up!


With Adrian Beltre and Kenji Johjima gone, the Mariners are in search of a backstop and a third baseman. Peralta and Shoppach would fit very nicely in Seattle. Both are coming off mediocre years but have shown offensive prowess in the past; the M's incredible turnaround this year showed that Don Wakamatsu knows how to get the most out of his players.


No, Peralta and Shoppach would not comprise a package good enough to pry Felix Hernandez out of the Mariners' hands. But Ryan Rowland-Smith is probably a realistic target.


Rowland-Smith has emerged as a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher this season. While his track record as a starter is admittedly small and his strikeout rate could use some improvement, a little more experience and a move from the slugging AL West to the quieter NL Central could spell success for the young southpaw.


Sure, the trade’s a little rough around the edges. But that’s nothing a few throw-ins can’t fix.


Brewers prospect Zack Braddock would be a nice addition to the Tribe’s future rotations. Mariners utility infielder Jack Hannahan would provide some insurance in case McGehee and Alcedis Escobar struggle in their first full seasons. And the Indians can send Jeremy Sowers to Seattle to take Rowland-Smith’s rotation spot—perhaps a change of scenery will reignite his faded star.


So, from the teams’ perspectives, the trade would look like this:


Cleveland trades Jhonny Peralta, Jeremy Sowers, and Kelly Shoppach for Mat Gamel and Zack Braddock.


Milwaukee trades Gamel and Braddock for Ryan Rowland-Smith and Jack Hannahan


Seattle trades Rowland-Smith and Hannahan for Peralta, Sowers, and Shoppach.


It’s win-win-win for everybody. The Indians add an elite prospect while making room for a couple others. The Brewers turn an excess bat into the starter they so desperately need. And while the Mariners lose a good pitcher, they get to fill their lineup’s holes with more than just duct tape.


So come on, Mark Shapiro: let’s turn the Indians into one big happy Gamel-y.





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Gamel would be a great pickup, but I don't see it happening.


About Wood though....is there really any reason not to eat most of his salary in a trade? Considering we have to pay him anyway, and he's already on a leash since we can't have him reach 55 Games Finished and we have a closer in waiting with Perez...why not suck it up and get something for him?

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About Wood though....is there really any reason not to eat most of his salary in a trade? Considering we have to pay him anyway, and he's already on a leash since we can't have him reach 55 Games Finished and we have a closer in waiting with Perez...why not suck it up and get something for him?


Couldn't agree more. Even if Perez struggles, there's no way they allow Wood to finish 55 games unless there's all sorts of magic next year in Cleveland. Now that qualifier in his contract will work against the Tribe if they look to deal him (all of that language is transferable unless stated, right?) but I think he'd be a guy you look to deal.


Continuing the notes theme, here are a few more:


Choo talks contract and Korea:

Cleveland Indians outfielder Choo Shin-soo said yesterday that he wants to play for the national team at next year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.


“I had a good experience and memories at the World Baseball Classic in March, so I’d like to play for the national team again if I’m qualified,” he told a news conference in southern Seoul a day after arriving in Seoul. “I’m talking with the Cleveland Indians about this.”


If he joins the national squad and wins a gold medal, he can gain exemption from military service required of all able-bodied Korean men.


Choo also praised the quality of Korean baseball, saying Korean players made few errors throughout the March tournament, in which Korea finished second to Japan. While American baseball is powerful, it is “not so exquisite,” he added.


On his most difficult time this year, he said it was when he heard of the death of his mentor and high school manager Cho Sung-ok, who died of liver cancer in July. He called Cho a “father figure.”


Choo also recalled feeling pressure when he was just a homer away from joining the 20-20 club, or getting 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.


His most memorable game of this season, he said, was against the Oakland Athletics July 4. In that game, he went 4-5 with two homers and seven RBIs.


Choo, 26, said he had his best performance this year because of the confidence he built up from late last season. He thanked his coaching staff for remaining confident in him even when he suffered from a slump.


Making his U.S. Major League debut in 2005, he finished with a season hitting average of .300 with 20 homer, 21 stolen bases, and 86 RBIs this season.


“I think I have room to improve,” he said. “I had a lot of RBIs because many hitters before me got on base.”


On his goal for next season, he simply said, “I want to perform better than this year.”


Choo also commented on his contract for next season, saying he will likely need to sign a new one around December. “Contract terms are important but I have a stronger wish to play for one team for a long time,” he said.






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Acta looks to fill out his staff:


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In picking a coaching staff, Indians manager Manny Acta would like to name a pitching coach and infield coach first. The team is not expected to make any announcements until the World Series is complete.


Acta has been in Los Angeles since the start of the World Series on Oct. 28. He is doing analyst work for Fox en Espanol on the Series. GM Mark Shapiro says Acta has been interviewing candidates almost every day. Shapiro and assistant GM Chris Antonetti are still in Cleveland, but have been involved in the interviews.


"We've talked to a lot of good candidates already," said Acta in an e-mail. "We're making progress."


Internal candidates for the pitching coach's job include Scott Radinsky and Dave Miller. Radinsky has been the Tribe's Class AAA pitching coach for the last three years. He's spent six years in the system.


Miller is the Indians' minor-league pitching coordinator. He finished the season with the big-league club.


Carl Willis, pitching coach for the last seven years, is not a candidate. Willis, whose contract runs through 2010, was fired with manager Eric Wedge and rest of his staff on Sept. 30.


Former Indians pitching coaches Mark Wiley (Florida) and Dick Pole (Cincinnati) were fired at the end of last season, but it's not known if they're candidates.


Indians pitchers finished last season with a 5.06 ERA, second highest in franchise history. The starting pitchers were 45-73 with the second-highest ERA (5.30) in the AL. The relievers were 20-24 with the third-highest ERA (4.66) in the AL.


One possible in-house candidate to coach infielders is Torey Lovullo. The former big-league infielder has managed the Indians' Class AAA team for the last four years. He's spent eight years managing in the system.


Lovullo, who played in the big leagues over parts of eight seasons with the Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Mariners, A's, Indians and Phillies, interviewed for the manager's job before it went to Acta.


The Indians last season finished eighth in fielding percentage in the AL at .984.


Tim Tolman, who coached third base and the outfielders for Acta in Washington, has also been mentioned as a candidate for the staff. He was the Indians' minor-league field coordinator for four years before joining Acta in Washington in 2007.


Jon Nunally, Lovullo's hitting coach at Class AAA Columbus last season, is a candidate to fill the Tribe's big league job.


It's believed the coaching staff could be split 50-50 between hires from inside and outside the organization.





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Bob Feller, behind only Lee Macphail and Bobby Doerr in the oldest living Hall-Of-Famer race, bought a tractor on his 91st birthday:


"I bought an antique tractor today; I collect them. I was driving along the road up here about 10 miles away and I saw it sitting out there. The guy had it for sale. It's all painted up, and I had him check the carburetors and check the fuel system. It's a 1946 Allis Chalmers. Most of the antique tractors I have are Caterpillar, but I got a different breed this time. It's a wheel tractor. I usually get the crawler, the track-type tractor, but I don't have near as many here now as I did in Iowa."






The city of Winter Haven, like many cities in Florida, is struggling. Their settlement with the Indians isn't exactly what they hoped for:


After paying legal fees for its fight against the Cleveland Indians, the city had very little left over in a settlement agreement with the professional baseball team.


In August, the city came to an agreement for the Indians to immediately pay $33,500 to the city, significantly less than the $107,454 the city claimed it was owed when it filed the lawsuit last year. The city later reduced the claim amount to $58,454 after taking into account another issue.


The city paid $28,000 to City Attorney John Murphy, and Lily, O'Toole & Brown in Bartow, co-counsel on the lawsuit, received $8,000 of that money, Murphy said. That left the city with $5,500.


"I'm very comfortable that the fees I charge the city are reasonable," he said. "We were forced to file this action because the Indians refused to pay any money that they have wrongfully withheld. Had we not done anything, we wouldn't have gotten any money."


Murphy also said if the city didn't settle and kept fighting for the full amount, it would cost more to fight it, and it didn't make sense to continue spending money in lawyers' fees.


Mayor Jeff Potter said he thought what was paid in legal fees was fair.


"The city attorney has done a very good job tracking it and getting monies that was legally owed to us," Potter said.


"We were forced into legal action by the Cleveland Indians. It was a frustrating process to recoup the money. The city has learned a valuable lesson signing contracts long-term."


Conditions of the settlement agreement include:


Neither the city nor the Indians admit any wrongdoing with respect to the Indians' operations in Winter Haven.


Upon receipt of the money, the city will dismiss the lawsuit.


Both the city and the Indians agree to fully release the other from future claims.


Murphy said the city is keeping its options open for the baseball fields at the Chain of Lakes Complex.


"The city certainly continues to be interested in having a major baseball team in the city if an appropriate deal can be made," Murphy said.


If that happens, Murphy said the city will have a better agreement than it had before.


Prior to the relationship going sour between the Indians and the city, Winter Haven officials were able to increase revenue sharing from 12 percent to 30 percent the last five years of the contract, Murphy said. This resulted in the city receiving an extra $756,000 in that five-year period, he said.


Winter Haven sued the Indians on Dec. 31, 2008, claiming the former spring training tenant owed $107,454 in parking, concession, ticket and advertising revenue. The city also sought lawyers' fees and interest on the amount it contended it was owed from the 2004 and 2005 spring training seasons.


Winter Haven was the spring training home for the Indians from 1993 until last year. The team moved its spring training operations to Goodyear, Ariz.


In its contract with Winter Haven, the team agreed to share revenue from parking, concessions, ticket sales and advertising. Winter Haven collected parking and concession revenue, according to the lawsuit, and the team collected ticket and advertising revenues. Each party then paid a portion to the other.


The lawsuit claimed that the team withheld $100,000 from the 2004 season and $7,454 in 2005. City officials calculated $58,454 was due after taking into account refunds related to a dispute the team had with the state Department of Revenue.


The Indians withheld the money from the two seasons as a result of costs from a dispute with the state Department of Revenue, T. Michael Stavres, the city's community services director, has previously said.


Stavres said there was an understanding between the two sides that the money would be paid to the city, but that hasn't happened until now. The team paid its portion of revenue in succeeding years, Stavres said.


The Indians moved to Winter Haven after Hurricane Andrew destroyed the team's facility in Homestead. Originally, it was to be a temporary move, but the Indians decided to stay in Winter Haven after 1992 and signed a series of leases.






And for no reason in particular, the Chicago Tribune offers up a story about a kid from Cleveland. I call him my son:


At some dramatic point in every World Series, a little kid turns to an adult and says something magical.


The special adult/little kid moment is the stuff of baseball myth, most often accompanied by a Bob Costas voice-over and the poignant tinkling of piano keys. You know the script:


A bright-eyed youngster hands his own homemade bat to the hero who wins the big game with a majestic home run. Or some child sitting with his kindly grandpa in the bleachers whispers, "Don't worry, Gramps, can't you see the angels in the outfield?"


So with the New York Yankees close to winning yet another World Series, let me tell you about an unforgettable encounter between my friend Wings, a lifelong Yanks fan, and a special 7-year-old boy in Cleveland a few years ago.


"I'll never forget that little kid from Cleveland," Wings said. "Never."


Wings had his own idyllic childhood in Connecticut, learning to sail, listening to Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher," eating lobster rolls, cheering his Yankees.


"My father was a Yankees fan. His father was a Yankees fan," reasoned Wings. "I was born that way."


Some readers wonder if Wings is a real person or a figment of my imagination. The other day, a university business professor asked that I send her information on the real or "imagined" Wings, to help with her curriculum.


"Your column (real or dream) and your references to 'Wings' represents an outstanding example of the importance of the 'Wing-man' in business," she wrote, offering to credit me in some future lesson plan.


Hold on, professor! Wings is real. Wings is no "Wing-man." Wings is a legman. And everyone knows a legman is someone who does all the real work, while the columnist staggers back from Gene & Georgetti after a long lunch.


Wings also makes the tastiest grilled chicken wings in the world. His sauce involves mustard, bourbon, garlic and butter, all the basic food groups. That's why we call him Wings.


Now let's get to that magical baseball moment with the kid in Cleveland, the divisional playoffs, 1997, Yankees and Indians, Game 4. The Bombers needed one more win to get to the pennant round. Wings and his brother Christian were in hostile territory, wearing Yankee regalia, jerseys and hats.


"We knew we were going to get abuse. So we had some preplanned comebacks for insults like 'Yankees suck!' We had a really snappy comeback for that one."


In the sixth inning, Wings had to use the facilities.


"Standing in line, I received the usual insults from the adults, when a little 7-year-old kid in line with his dad looked up at me and said, in a squeaky 7-year-old's voice: 'Yankees Suck!!!' "


Wings calmly shot back with his snappy predetermined response.


"I said, 'Oh, yeah? The Yankees will be sucking down champagne in the locker room tonight.' But the kid, without missing a beat, said something that haunts me to this day," Wings recalled.


This is a newspaper, so I can't tell you what the demonic first-grader said. There is not enough soap in all the washrooms in Ohio to cleanse the mouth of that child. Let's just say the boy suggested that the Yanks would be in their own locker room, preoccupied indeed, not with champagne, but with unmentionable behavior.


"He said it, in his squeaky little voice, and the room erupted in laughter and jeering, his father was proud, and men slapped the kid on the back, laughing in my face. It was, perhaps, the most humiliating moment in my life. I had to run back to my seat," Wings said.


Later, with the Yankees leading by a thin run, their ace reliever Mariano Rivera came in to close the game. Wings felt he had to do something dramatic.


"Maybe I wanted to take the sting away, so I stood up, pointed to the crowd behind us, made hand gestures, like, 'Rivera's here! Lights out! Game over!' "


Thus jinxed, Rivera promptly gave up a game-tying home run to the Indians' Sandy Alomar Jr.


"We were pelted with gallons of beer, peanuts upside the head, people behind us were mashing our Yankees hats," Wings said. "And there was a camera in our face."


The local Cleveland affiliate captured the whole thing on tape and featured it as the lead-in to the next game, which the Yankees also lost.


"Somebody called my brother, saying, 'Dude, you guys are on TV.' "


Wings figures that if it were not for that vulgar little devil child in Cleveland, he never would have been pressured to jinx his Yankees, something his brother never lets him forget.


"It's been 12 years, and I still think, 'I should have said this,' or 'I should have said that,' to that kid," Wings said. "Something. Anything. Oh, I really hate that kid."


That child would be about 20 now. Do you think he's watching the World Series?


"No, he's probably in jail," Wings said. "That little punk."





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... 'I should have said this,' or 'I should have said that,' to that kid," Wings said. "Something. Anything. Oh, I really hate that kid."


That child would be about 20 now. Do you think he's watching the World Series?


"No, he's probably in jail," Wings said. "That little punk."[/b]







I was expecting a heartwarming story of a different kind. Very funny. (Glad it wasn't my child.)

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