Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dramatic turnaround yields nothing but W's for Bad Luck Fan

It wasn't long ago that Dylan Kitzan couldn't attend a Spokane Indians game without being harassed about being the guy who sealed the Indians' fate before they even stepped on the field.

"It was a tough time for me," Kitzan said. "I didn't like it more than anyone else. But I still enjoyed going to the games, so even if they were seemingly predetermined, I tried to have a good time."

But lately, times have changed for the fan who once drew comparisons to Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman. After Spokane dropped eight of nine games with Kitzan in the stands, the Indians reeled off their fourth consecutive win last night with him in attendance, 6-4 over the visiting Boise Hawks. Timely hitting and solid pitching guided the Indians (31-33) to the victory, though the bigger story was the continued shift in fortunes of Kitzan, who can start to rest easy knowing that the entire season isn't weighing on his shoulders anymore. Last season, Spokane went 1-8 in games Kitzan was at. They went 50-17 in all other contests and won the Northwest League Championship with Kitzan absent for the entire series.

"For a team that was as dominant as Spokane was last year, it was bizarre that they could lose that often when I was there," Kitzan said. "Of course I felt responsible. I wanted to go to the playoff series, but kept myself away from Avista Stadium for the good of the team. What does that tell you?"

But now, with the Indians seven games back of the Tri-City Dust Devils for first place in the division, the pressure of a championship run is gone. The reason for that may be because Kitzan hasn't been in the ballpark enough.

"I suppose it was kind of my fault that Spokane struggled with me in the crowd last season," Kitzan said. "So I guess at the same time, if I would have gone to more games this year, Spokane might be in position to repeat."

For Kitzan, though, the Indians winning isn't the highest priority. How could it be when Spokane went through the stretch they did last season?

"It's just nice to be another fan again," Kitzan said. "It's fun to go to the games with friends and have everyone not fearing the worst. I'm not 'that guy' anymore."

Well, maybe he is. But "that guy" has a bit of a different meaning now that the Indians are winning games.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

He must be in a Francoma

Apparently, the BoSox skipper thought it wasn't worth walking Evan Longoria with a pair of open bases and two outs in the 13th inning of a tie game tonight. I wonder where he got that idea. I'm guessing it wasn't from this line:


Let's break it down this way: The guy has more ABs against the Sox than any other team. He has scored four more runs against Boston than he does any other team. He has more hits against Boston than he does any other team. Same for doubles. Same for home runs. He has more than twice as many RBIs against the Sox than he does any other team. His average is second highest against Boston (1st is the Orioles and who doesn't hit them well?). His OBP is 20 points higher vs Boston than any other team which he has at least 20 ABs against. Slugging is second to Baltimore. And the OPS is .008 behind the O's and .312 higher vs. the Sawx than it is any other team with at least 20 ABs (CHW, CLE, KAN, MIN, NYY, OAK, TOR, FLA). This plethora of stats begs the question:


How do you pitch to him here with the last reliever in your bullpen? Why not take a chance vs. Ben Zobrist or Joe Dillon?

Here's what Terry Francona had to say:

"I wish the ball wouldn't have gone out, but I don't think [walking Longoria] was the right thing to do.''

Well you know what else isn't the right thing to do? Give up 900-foot homers that blow a hole in the roof of Tropicana Field, that's right!

Here's what I would have said:

"Yeah, after we walked Longoria, an obvious move considering his history against us, Zobrist was an easy third out. Fortunately, our bats got going in the 14th and we were able to steal a game that only got this far because Terry pulled Lester too early. Jon threw the ball real well tonight and it was nice to see him bounce back so easily after drilling Pena to lead things off in the 7th and set things up just how we like for our 'pen."

I like my version better. Freakin' Francona...