Indians Pitch in for Private Plane to Get Jack Hannahan to Son’s Birth

When we see guys like Carlos Zambrano walking out on teammates and David Ortiz throwing a fit because an RBI was taken away from him, it becomes tough not to stereotype pro athletes as selfish people.  Moments like those can make us lose sight of the selfless acts that players commit. What the Indians did for teammate Jack Hannahan earlier this month deserves recognition.

With the Indians stuck in Boston on a road trip, Hannahan received a call from his agent that his wife, Jenny, was having contractions and was possibly going to go into labor in a few hours.  Jenny had already been having some complications with her pregnancy and was told her baby could be born anytime, despite the fact that she was in her third trimester.  The earliest flight Hannahan’s agent, Joe Speed, could book for him back to Cleveland was the following morning.  The only other option was to book a private jet, which would cost $35,000.  Spending that much wasn’t an option for Hannahan whose salary is $500,000.

When teammate Justin Masterson overheard what was going on, he ordered Hannahan to have his agent book the flight.  According to the Pioneer Press, Jack was hesitant but Masterson insisted.  After the game the entire team chipped in and quickly came up with $35,000 and sent Hannahan on his way to the airport.

Hannahan arrived at the hospital in Cleveland at 3 a.m. and his son was born just 15 minutes later.  The birth was premature but Speed says Hannahans wife and son, John, are both doing fine.  Don’t worry — stories like that are supposed to give you goosebumps.

Chris Perez Throws Ball Over Center Field Fence (Video)

What will Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez do the next time he blows a save if this is how he feels about giving up a run during a 7-3 victory?  Maybe we should just assume that Perez was embarrassed to give up a run Tuesday night to a team the Indians beat 19-1 on Monday.  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  Check out the video of Chris Perez throwing the ball over center field, courtesy of The Dugout Sports Show via Deadspin:

Easy, killer — you’ll throw your arm out.

Indians Turning Progressive Field into Snow Days Amusement Park

The Cleveland Indians haven’t done too many things right this year on the field. Credit them for getting something right off of it.

Even though their latest project could upset the purists who don’t like seeing mounds destroyed for soccer games and the like, the Indians are getting innovative by unveiling plans to run a winter amusement park at Progressive Field during the offseason. The team is calling the new plan “SnowDays” and beginning it on November 26th, and running it through January, 2011 at the least.

They’ll be offering a snow tubing hill, a quarter mile ice skating track, a skating rink, and a snow mountain as part of their activities. Basic admission will be $5 while a full access pass is $25. I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty darn cool and exactly like the type of thing I would have loved to do as a kid.

Cleveland Indians: last in the AL Central, first in innovation and creativity.

Indians and Red Sox Clear Benches

The Boston Red Sox are a pretty frustrated bunch and understandably so.  As if they haven’t already been bitten hard enough by the injury bug this season, they lost Kevin Youkilis on Monday night to a hand injury.  Perhaps it was some of that frustration that prompted the fight that took place between the Red Sox and Indians on Tuesday night when the benches cleared.

Josh Beckett has a tendency to work inside, but the Indians seemed to think it was hardly a coincidence when he hit Shin-Soo Choo on the knee after he’d been hammering the Sox in the series.  That, along with a curveball that slipped out of Beckett’s and soared over the head of Shelley Duncan, inspired Cleveland’s pitchers to start throwing behind the Red Sox hitters, which they did first with David Ortiz and then Adrian Beltre.  The pitch behind Beltre resulted in the benches being cleared.  Check out the Red Sox and Indians team fight video:

Video: Indians/Tigers Brawl, Gary Sheffield and Fausto Carmona Fight!

If there’s one player in MLB you don’t want to mess with, it might be Gary Sheffield. The guy’s got a short fuse and already looks mean enough at the plate. He’s someone you don’t wanna piss off. Well, Fausto Carmona apparently could not care less, because after giving up a home run, he responded by brushing Sheffield back and nicking him with a pitch. The following brawl between the Tigers and Indians was the result. My advice is to watch with the sound down — you’ll enjoy it much more that way.

Thanks to contributor Gene for the tip. I think the best part was when Sheffield carried the bat the entire way down the first base line. How classic was that? I’m telling you, Sheff’s a guy you don’t wanna mess with. Fausto clearly wasn’t intimidated. Can you believe how steamed he got? I also liked Sheff’s explanation for the fight:

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Eric Wedge Is Mismanaging the ALDS

I asked the question at FanHouse today, should Eric Wedge go with C.C. Sabathia instead of Paul Byrd tonight in Game 4 of the ALDS, considering Joe Torre is bumping up his ace, Chien-Ming Wang? I really can’t find a reason why Wedge shouldn’t bring C.C. back early. Sure, if C.C.’s gassed and ineffective, then boom, you throw in Byrd, what’s the problem?

I just couldn’t imagine the Indians losing the series after being up 2-0, seeing what Carmona did in Game 2, and then not having him pitch a second time in the series. That would be a serious error. I already called Lou Piniella out for his horrific decision to yank Zambrano after 6 innings in Game 1 of the NLDS (clearly Piniella was not playing to win the game, Herm would be ashamed).

Wedgie, listen up man, start Sabathia! If nothing else, then it will allow you to pitch Carmona in Game 5 rather than decide between him and C.C. — and we all know you’ll go with C.C. So be smart, use C.C. tonight, it’s the right thing to do — gotta live and die with your best arms.

Fun Pronk Facts and Anecdotes

Travis Hafner FactsI was watching the Indians/Rangers game on TV tonight thanks to the Extra Innings package. The game was being televised on FSN Southwest, meaning Josh Lewin was the announcer. Since the Indians were the visiting team, Lewin was giving a lot of information about the Indians players. Most notably, he gave some great stories about one of my favorite players, Travis Hafner — Pronk. As he was a few minutes into the life history of Pronk, I began to realize that he was probably getting the information from one of my favorite sites, Player Profiles. So, of course I logged onto Pronk’s player profile page, and now I have a whole bunch of cool Pronk Facts and anecdotes to share with you.

  • Travis grew up on a farm in the Midwest. It was in rural Sykeston, North Dakota, where his family leased a 3,500-acre portion of a 10,000-acre spread to grow wheat, barley, flax, corn, sunflowers and beans. But, he admitted, “I hated any kind of farm work. I always got stuck with the jobs my father and my brother didn’t want to do.”
  • The closest “real town” to Sykeston, is Jamestown, a city of 21,000 in eastern North Dakota — where the biggest attraction is the National Buffalo Museum. Until Hafner graduated from high school, Jamestown was the biggest metropolis he had encountered.”Hey, there’s a mall and a Wal-Mart. By North Dakota standards, that’s pretty big,” he said “How big is Sykeston?” Hafner said. “I’d say about 180. It’s really more of a wheat field. There were 23 people in my high school (grades 9-12) and eight in my graduating class.”
  • Travis was the valedictorian of his graduating class, with a 3.99 grade-point-average.
  • “Back in high school, the career counselor would ask what you wanted to do for a living, and I’d say, ‘Play baseball.’ It was always my first love. But the counselor would say, ‘You can’t play baseball.’ He’d tell me I had to have a real job, so I had to pick a backup.” And what was that? “I’d tell him WWF wrestler,” Hafner said.
  • On occasion, during the 2004 season, Hafner could be seen wearing a T-shirt around the Indians clubhouse that said on the front: “I’m not very smart, but I can lift heavy things.”
  • In April, 2006, the first “Pronk Bar” was unveiled. Travis had a candy bar named after him. What does a Pronk Bar taste like?”Probably the best candy bar you’ll ever taste,” said Hafner.

And of course, you might be wondering the background to his nickname — Pronk.

  • His teammates nicknamed him “The Pronk.” Hafner said, “Part project, part donkey.” Hafner explained further: “In spring training, Bill Selby called me The Project. Other guys called me the Big Donkey. One day, Selby put the two words together. For a while it had a Spanish flair, El Pronko.”

That’s some seriously good stuff right there. He grew up in a town of 180! His high school class had eight people! And we all know where the donkey portion of his nickname too. He puts quite a kick on the ball I’m sure.