GOODYEAR, Ariz.: When is the last time you heard the name Ronnie Duncan uttered in a public place?
It's been years since Duncan's sports anchoring days on Cleveland television. He went on to be a ring announcer for boxing shows in Columbus, I believe, and today he surfaced at the Goodyear ballpark.
Duncan was acting as the public address announcer as fans roamed the stadium watching players take ground balls and go through other kinds of drills. The Indians don't usually use the ballpark to hold practice, but this was a special day for fans, who also got to run the bases, eat popcorn and buy merchandise (of course, the concessions stands were open).
When exhibition season begins on Friday, Duncan will be the PA announcer for several, if not all, the Tribe's home games.
Across the street from the ballpark, about three dozen small tents sprouted as part of a craft/food/trinket show. Folks could purchase fresh vegetables or buy lunch from Dr. Hummus or a stand that advertised wild sockeye salmon. Or if your taste ran in a different direction, there was Molly's Tamales and D's Dogs.
None of this had anything to do with the rather startling news that Grady Sizemore was being asked to bat second rather than lead off. Why would one of the most effective leadoff batters in the big leagues (few other can match Sizemore's ability to score, which is the goal of leadoff hitters) move one spot down in the lineup? Manager Manny Acta had yet to address that question, but he was scheduled to face the media later in the afternoon.
Aside from this news, the workout was partially devoted to polishing the hitters' ""tracking'' skills, that is, not swinging at pitches.