Countdown to Winter Haven!

   Those of us who hail from the hearty Midwest enjoy the change of seasons.  As much as we complain about Winter we all secretly look forward to snow storms in December.  Its the snow storms in March that absolutely drain the life out of us.  Spring reminds us that there is always a light at the end of Winter’s long dark tunnel and those soft Summer breezes are just around the corner.  My favorite time of year has always been the transition from Summer to Fall.  Maybe its because I know it means the baseball playoffs are near and that high school football has begun.

   Now that I am about to begin my seventh season in the broadcast booth alongside partners Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan, I realize that baseball people have four very distinct seasons too.  Spring Training, Regular Season, Post Season and the Off-season.

   OrangesThe Off-season is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, to unwind from a long, grueling season.  Unfortunately the R&R always gets lost in the shuffle.  You see while most normal folks take care of household projects on weekends (while hopefully listening to the game on the radio in the garage), we put all of those things off until the season is over.  And then it begins.  Cleaning the gutters, basement and garage.  Painting the (insert room(s) here), fixing the washing machine, the leaky faucet and unclogging the drain in the kitchen.  I’ve made so many trips to Home Depot they don’t even ask for my credit card anymore, they’ve memorized the number.

   So I sit here at my computer in the middle of the off-season and I yearn for a much simpler time.  I long for tropical breezes and swaying palm trees.  The crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, balls and strikes.  And then it hits me.  I’ll be shoveling alot more snow before I enjoy these things anytime soon.  Besides there is much work to be done by Indians GM Mark Shapiro before we can go to Spring Training.  He’ll be shopping at the winter meetings for a starting pitcher, a right-handed bat and some bullpen help.

   The hot stove is fired-up and free agents are being courted by teams so hungry they will take huge risks by overspending in the hopes that one or two key players can get them into the playoffs.  The Chicago White Sox won the World Series because of their pitching.  So its no surprise that the biggest contracts handed out so far have been for pitching.  BJ Ryan (TOR), Billy Wagner (NYM), Scott Eyre (CHC), Bobby Howry (CHC) and Esteban Loaiza (OAK) signed deals recently for a total of $134.4 million.  The average annual value of those contracts is $7.4 million.

   The money is flying and so too is the snow.  The countdown to Winter Haven is on!

 

 

9 Comments

Hello Matt, I am Frankie Landrum from Columbus, Ohio. I wanted to say i know what you mean in a big way!I consider myself as one of the best Indians fans around, I love the Tribe and i want to see them win a championship. i cant wait until opening day i got the days counted down to opening day and spring training. I cant wait to get back to the Jake, its my favorite place in the world. Like you i cant wait for the sights and sounds of baseball again it seems so far away but hopefully it will be here before we know it!

Greetings from snowy Michigan- I live on the westside of the state- far from AA-so don’t worry! Love your column- keep them coming. I listen to the archived games nearly everyday. Can’t wait to get back to the Jake! My wish for the Tribe is to get off to a great start and have a great April, May, June–etc. Your loyal fan- Rexanne – who lives 325 miles from Jake -but that’s a trip I’m happy to make!

Matt,

Great post! Keep Em comin!

Curt

Matt,
I’m already looking to book my hotel rooms for March!!!

Hi Matt,
I am 14 years old and live in Wooster, Ohio. I am proud to say that I am the uncontested biggest Indians fan out of all the students in my school! Your post was so true. I just can’t wait until Spring Training rolls around and the season begins. However, it is interesting to see what Mark Shapiro will do to make this team even better! I am so happy that I have Opening Day tickets this year! I am a big fan of yours! Great Post! I’ve already bookmarked your site and plan to come back often. I enjoy what you have to say. See you on Opening Day!

-Ben

Matt,
Great to have someplace to keep up with the Tribe and you. Surviving through our Ohio winter will be easier with thoughts of spring training and the high expectations of the Indians in 2006. Looking forward to your comments and insight into the world of MLB.

I believe radio was invented just so baseball could be listened to by fans anywhere. You make the game come alive for so many of us who can’t always get to the Jake.

You’re batting 1.000 keep it up.

-Uncle George

Matt,
I remember watching you as a kid doing those reports for the channel 5. I think you’re great and your the next Herb Score or Tom Hamilton. We’ll get ’em all next year and is it just me or DOES ANYONE REALLY WANT TO GIVE JIM THOME AND THOSE NASTY WHITE SOX’S THE BEATING OF THEIR LIVES TO START NEXT SEASON OUT!!!! Can’t wait to listen to you next year man!!!

Matt,

First of all I’d like to say that i’m a long time tribe fan and a big fan of yours as well. However, it seems to me like Dolan isn’t sticking to his plan. Does that concern you? He laid out a plan that said we would build around pitching, and that he would spend when the time is right. But now he can’t re-sign Millwood? We (the fans) have purchased over 1 Million tickets by December 1, so I don’t want to hear about how the fans aren’t showing up. I don’t know if you got a chance to read the Article in the plan dealer about the Scott Boras interview, and how he said the Indians need to step up and how the indians could have a 65-70M payroll and make money while still not even being in the top 15 in payroll. I know he’s just posturing for his client, but seriously, he has a point. And all the sudden they clam up and become “unavailable for comment”. I think as tribe fans, we deserve an answer to that. I’m just concerned that we are going to be unable to compete with Chicago next year, who is improving themselves. It especially hurts when everything has gone according to plan perfectly.

MATT;
I STARTED LISTENING TO THE INDIANS BROADCASTS WHEN I WAS 6 YEARS OLD WITH MY OLDER BROTHER IN 1936. HAVEN’T MISSED A BEAT SINCE. I LIVE IN A RESORT/RETIREMENT COMMUNITY NOW AND TRAVEL QUITE A BIT, VISITING MY FAMILY IN DIFFERENT STATES AND GET TO SEE THE INDIANS IN MINNESOTA, KANSAS CITY, HOUSTON AND OF COURSE AT THE JAKE.

ONE FAVOR I’D LIKE TO ASK, SEEING AS HOW YOU’RE IN THE BROADCASTING BUSINESS. MANY YEARS AGO, THE INDIANS RADIO ANNOUNCER WAS JACK GRANEY WHO HAD THE DUBIOUS DISTINCTION OF HAVING TO “CREATE” A BALL GAME AS THOUGH HE WAS THERE, WHEN IN FACT HE WAS SITTING AT A TELETYPE MACHINE.YOU COULD HEAR IT IN THE BACKGROUND. ONE OF HIS FAVORITE COMMENTS WAS “STORMY GETS ON HIS FLYING RED HORSE AND SPEARS THE LONG DRIVE”. OF COURSE, THE FLYING RED HORSE WAS MOBILE’S GAS SIGN, AND STORMY WAS THE INDIANS CENTERFIELDER. I WOULD LIKE TO BUY A RECORDING OF ANY GAME THE ARCHIVES MIGHT HAVE WHERE HE WAS STILL ANNOUNCING. CAN YOU ADVISE?

REGARDS TO YOU AND A GREAT ’06 INDIANS SEASON;

RUDY HORVATH

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: