CLEVELAND - We have a "Race for the Ring" Cavaliers playoff special coming up on Friday at 8 p.m. Interviews with Danny Ferry, Mike Brown, Antwan Jamison, Jamario Moon, Shaq's mom and a bunch of other feature stories.
But by far the most interesting story to come up is with Joe Tait. We just started talking about his favorite cities to travel to. Milwaukee is one of them. The Pfister hotel is where the team stays. I remembered the first time I traveled to Milwaukee with FSN someone told me the hotel was haunted. Watch what Joe had to say about the ghosts that live in his house.
[ WEB EXTRA: Click the video player for more on Tait's ghost story ]
I am going to miss Joe when he retires after next season. We really are lucky to have Joe and Tom Hamilton in this city. They are as good as it gets. I asked Joe who he thought might be a good replacement. He said he never really thought about it. I have an answer: Mike Snyder. He's already at WTAM. He's great when he calls the Browns during the pre-season. He is a first class guy. He has paid his dues and then some. I really think he embodies Cleveland sports fans in his delivery. I hope he gets it. He's earned it.
Let's talk Indians. It's been a while since I can remember this much apathy about the Tribe. The team is going to have to win back one fan at a time. Here are my opening day impressions. Why would you wear throwback uniforms with no names on the back of the uniform, when you have the largest crowd of the season. Marketing this team is key for the future. When you have 41,000 sets of eyes on your team you can help out the fans who don't know who's on first.
I really like the fact interim closer Chris Perez was brutally honest and did not hide from the fact he's had two rough outings. More than one person said to me they were glad that Manny Acta knew he didn't have it again and gave him the hook. Both Perez and Acta earned my respect.
Also, veteran catcher Mike Redmond is old school and I love it. He got hit everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE in the home opener. He laughed about it after the game. He was great. You can tell a lot about a guy, by the position of his seat in the locker room. Redmond is in the same corner stall that once housed Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar Jr., Aaron Boone, John McDonald and David Dellucci. Redmond now has that short corner. It means that he has earned the respect of clubhouse manager Tony Amato and his guys. It means that he treats them with class, plays the game the right way, and checks his ego at the door. It's not a knock on other positions in the clubhouse, it's an unwritten honor.
It is also great to see Jake Westbrook back in uniform and on the hill. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind he is one of the classiest guys I have ever covered. I will always root for him. If you wonder why rookies have trouble adjusting to the bigs, I get it loud and clear. I will always thank Rick Manning, Brian Anderson, and Mike Hegan for setting me straight on some of the dumb things I did and said my first few years I traveled with the team.
In 2003, I shared a cab with Brian Anderson and Jake Westbrook to the ballpark in Arlington. I had just read in the notes from stats inc. on how the ball way flying out of the yard. It was yielding like five homers a game. I'm not sure what planet I was on, but I brought it up in the cab on the way over. Jake was starting that night. Brian grabbed me when when got out of the cab. He was very cool. He reminded me that it was not the smartest thing to tell the starting pitcher that the place he was going to play was giving up dingers left and right. He reminded me that you don't want to put negative thoughts in a pitchers mind, the night he his pitching. I learned first hand, why you don't say anything to a starting pitcher when it's his turn in the rotation.
I was sweating more than Jake in that game. I was worried that I jinxed him. They won they game 9-5. But the biggest part of the game was that Jake didn't give up a homer. I told him I was sorry about bringing that up after the game. From that day forward I didn't say a word to a starting pitcher, until the world's coolest starter Kevin Millwood came to town.
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