Friday Night Frenzy Preview, Phillies and Dodgers thoughts and proof Mark Shapiro cannot build the Indians right

Good Morning Sports Fans!

Friday is everyone’s favorite day of the week which means…..Friday Night High School Football! It will be a wet one out there tonight but some good matchups are on the way around Northeast Ohio.

Starting off with the Chagrin Valley, West Geauga will be taking on Chagrin Falls in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Both teams have looked impressive this year and have steamrolled over a lot of tough opponents. The playoffs are on the horizon and there is nothing better then a matchup between two unbeaten teams this late in the regular season.

Moving to the NOC conference, Hudson and Twinsburg will be battling it out tonight as well. Both teams are 6-1 and have played similar types of schedules. Twinsburg has really come a long way with its football program over the years and they have risen to be one of the top teams in that division. Hudson does have a lot of firepower in their lineup and this should be an awesome matchup.

Taking at look at my alma mater, Solon will be traveling to Nordonia tonight in a classic matchup between two former WRC rivals. Solon has been outstanding this season with the help of senior leadership and great coaching. Nordonia has struggled a bit this season but they will not be taking this game lightly. The Knights remember all the times Solon upset them for the WRC title a few years ago and they realize this will be their chance to take down a giant in front of their home crowd.

Switching gears from the gridiron to the baseball diamond, the Phillies took Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers last night with an 8-6 win. Phillies starter Cole Hamels pitched pretty well during the first few innings but the Dodgers ended up coming within one run after Manny Ramirez hit a home run in the fifth inning. Overall, both teams displayed their power hitting as most of the offense from both teams came in the way of home runs. With that being said, pitching will be key in this series and too many pitching mistakes by one team will end up deciding the series.

When watching bits and pieces of this game, it reminded me of a story my Uncle Jeff had told me just hours earlier while eating dinner at Mavis Winkles in Twinsburg. In 1988, my Uncle Jeff (who I refer to as UJ) was living in Los Angeles and following the great Dodgers teams of that era. One story he likes to tell from the 1988 season is sitting in his buddy’s apartment to watch the game in which Kirk Gibson limped off the bench and hit that home run off Dennis Eckersley. That home run is considered by some of be one of the most historic blasts in Major League history and UJ can tell you every detail of where he was at that night. He always talks about cooking chili in his buddy’s apartment, hanging out with his friends there and being glued to the TV when Gibson hit that home run. The story and the home run are really unique and it’s always great to hear UJ mention it.

Many of my friends and relatives who are Indians fans have pointed out to me that so many former Indians players are with teams who are still in the playoffs at this moment. Ronnie Belliard, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake and Jim Thome all are on the Dodgers while the Phillies have Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. Taking a look at the American League, CC Sabathia is trying to get into a World Series with the Yankees. This comes to show you how poor of a General Manager the Indians have in Mark Shapiro. A lot of these players played well in Cleveland and ended up being passed over for lesser talented or lazy players. Instead of signing Jim Thome to a longer term deal, Shapiro spent the money on….Matt Lawton. Often lazy and inconsistent, Lawton never lived up to his potential in Cleveland while Thome packed his bags and succeed elsewhere. Ronnie Belliard was solid for the Indians and was traded for…Hector Luna, who didn’t even resign with the team two months after the deal was made. Casey Blake, who was an incredible athlete in high school and could have played Division I college football instead of baseball, was a solid everyday player for the Indians only to be traded for….can anyone remember who we got for him?

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was let go from the Indians because Shapiro did not believe he could develop a young team and make it a contender. Wedge was brought in to succeed Manuel and only led the Indians to one trip to the post-season. Manuel, on the other hand, has a World Series ring and has led the Phillies to numerous first place finishes.

All of these moves prove that Mark Shapiro has done a poor job developing the Indians. Whenever he has had to unload players, all the Indians get in return are minor league prospects. While this might seem like a good strategy, the Indians have relied too much on it and have missed out on getting talented Major League players as part of their deals.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on October 16, 2009.

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