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Spring Training - March 26, 2006 - Just a Bit Outside...

I ventured back to Winter Haven for my final time on this trip to watch the Indians yet again (3rd time this spring). I thought I might be bored watching this team today, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Cleveland Indians are an exciting team, and barring injuries, should be very successful this season.  They already have one superstar in Travis Hafner (.414, .585, .682 this spring) and another player about to ascend to the next level in Grady Sizemore (.333, .423, .667 this spring). They are young and solid just about everywhere. They hustle, play hard, and seemingly care about the game. There's little not to like about these guys. In many ways they are like the Braves. They are a team with a bunch of guys who just love the game and play it well.

Fortunately for me, the Cincinnati Reds were in town today and actually brought some major league talent (unlike the Mets and Blue Jays the previous two days). The Reds lineup featured Ryan Freel, Tony Womack, Felipe Lopez, Edwin Encarnacion, Scott Hatteberg, and Austin Kearns among others. Brandon Claussen was Cincinnati's starter.

But while the Reds had some solid players on the field today, they were no match for the Indians who jumped all over Claussen for 6 runs on 6 hits in the first three innings. Travis Hafner even took the lefty deep with a shot off the scoreboard in right field. Amazingly, Claussen also struck out 6 batters in those same 3 innings. It was pretty much an all or nothing day for Brandon.

When all was said and done, the Indians had beaten the Reds, 9-4.

Here's where you can find today's photos: Spring Training - March 26, 2006

Game News and Notes

  • Cincinnati's Austin Kearns homered in his only official at bat today. The other two times up to the plate he was hit by pitches.
  • Cliff Lee pitched in a minor league game for the Tribe today, going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs.
  • Sizemore came up just a home run shy of the cycle on the afternoon, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and legging out his league leading 5th triple
General Observations and Information
  • Today's game was either a sellout or very close to it
  • It was rather chilly again this afternoon with the high hitting just 65 degrees.
  • I get the feeling I will be watching a lot of Cleveland Indians games this year. This club is addictive.
  • Mark Shapiro watches the team's spring games from a seat about 4 rows back behind the backstop. Shapiro appears to be a very easy going guy who takes the time to talk to fans and the media alike. Nice to see...