Cleveland Sports Insiders

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The Sunday Drive with the Oregon spread offense in Cleveland?

Oregon offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery

Oregon Offensive Coordinator Philip Montgomery

I’ve been feeling a bit closer to the North Coast over the past few weeks, as the temperatures here in North Carolina have more resembled the frozen tundra of the borderlands of Lake Erie. While the temperature here has dipped below freezing far too many times for my liking, we have avoided the ample snow-footage that the Lake provides. I don’t miss the thrice-daily slogs out to my snow blower to clear the driveway of both wind-blow and street-plow piled snow. Still, the recent cold blast has me dreaming wistfully of the Indians’ Spring Training, the Browns’ draft and summer camp, and the Cavs foray back into the lottery.

Thankfully, all three Cleveland teams were active in one way or another over the past week, albeit in very different ways, which kept me from crawling into sports hibernation.

While my attention has needed some warming up no thanks to the weather, it’s been mostly focused on the warm seasons of 2014 for Cleveland sports. The Indians, however, continue to do everything they can to keep some of that attention pointing right back to the 1990’s thanks to their 2014 version of Tribe Fest. The Tribe has their normal conglomerate of current players headlining the event, but the focus Continue reading


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All-Aught Indians: RP1: Rafael Betancourt (2003-2009)

Rafael Betancourt

Rafael Betancourt

Rafael Betancourt was clearly the best Tribe reliever during the Aughts. Like many of the Tribe pitchers of the decade, Betancourt was a bit of a reclamation project. He had spent the previous six seasons all over the place learning how to pitch, and it all came together with the Indians. Betancourt threw a low-to-mid-90’s fastball, a curve and a changeup, and while none of his pitches were considered plus pitches, it was his location that made him special.

The All-Aught Indians top relief pitcher is Rafael Betancourt.
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All-Aught Indians: SS: Omar Vizquel (2000-2004)

Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel

There wasn’t a more solid position in the Aughts for the Tribe than at shortstop. The first nine years of the decade were anchored by both Omar Vizquel for most of the first five season, followed by Jhonny Peralta for the next four. There truly couldn’t have been more difference between the two players.

Vizquel certainly is arguably (maybe not so much) the best defensive shortstop to ever don the Indians’ jersey, and one of the best defensive baseball players of his era. The Indians, tantalized by Peralta’s offense, allowed the elder Vizquel to leave via free agency after the 2004 season. Defensively, Peralta proved to be a fairly plodding infielder who covered as much ground as a fire-hydrant. He found himself in Eric Wedge‘s doghouse more often than not, and never really found the offensive consistency that would have allowed him the ability to overcome replacing one of the most popular Indians of all time.

The decade ended in full-circle, with another #13 roaming the position in Asdrubal Cabrera.

The All-Aught Indians shortstop could only be Asdrubal Cabrera’s hero growing up, Omar Vizquel.
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