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Cleveland Indians

Wedge busier in wake of epic rout

By Sheldon Published: April 19, 2009

How did Eric Wedge's life change after the Indians beat the Yankees 22-4 Saturday?

"I got a lot more e-mails and texts from my friends and family,'' the manager said Sunday. ""This morning was as lot crazier. I don't know how many interviews people wanted me to do; I had to turn a few of them down.''

The Yankees made a lot of negative history as a result of the defeat. It was the team's worst loss since a 19-1 clinker on July 4, 2006, also against the Tribe. In fact, of the five games the Bronx Bombers have lost by 18 or more runs, three of them have come against the Indians, including their worst loss ever, a 22-0 pasting in 2004.

Almost lost in the chaos surrounding such a bizarre game was the fact that the win was Wedge's 500th as manager of the Tribe. Only four skippers have more: Lou Boudreau (728), Mike Hargrove (617), Tris Speaker (617) and Al Lopez (570).

"The players are the ones who are important, they do the playing,'' Wedge said. "And it's the coaches who do a lot of the work. I have to thank Mark Shapiro and the Dolan family for giving me the opportunity.''

When Shapiro hired Wedge, the franchise was embarking on a rebuilding program. The general manager and Wedge formulated a plan and carried it through. The basics haven't changed.

"You take it day by day,'' Wedge said. ""I always do that, but I really took it day by day back then. I never felt like we were doing things the wrong way, but you can never put a measurement on the timetable.''

The process of building a competitve team was expected to take three or four years, but in 2004, Wedge's second season on the job, the Indians found themselves one game behind the Central Division-leading Twins on Aug. 14. 

After that, the Tribe went on a precipitous slide to finish in third placed with an 80-82 record.

"It was so ridiculous that we were in that place,'' Wedge said of the club's flirtation with first place. ""It raised expectations (unfairly). I remember (coach) Buddy Bell looking at me and saying, "We're not supposed to be here,' and Buddy was around a long time.'' 

Wedge oversaw the 22-0 rout of the Yankees that same year. Omar Vizquel was the prime mover in the rout, going 6-for-7 with two doubles and four RBI. Victor Martinez had four RBI and hit one of three homers, the others coming off the bats of Coco Crisp and Jody Gerut. Jake Westbrook pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits.

REMEMBER WHEN  -- Paul Olden teammed with Herb Score on Tribe radio broadcasts in 1988 and '89.

These days, Olden is the interim public address announcer at Yankee Stadium, subbing for the legendary Bob Sheppard, who has been ill for several months. If Shepard retires (after 57 years) at 98, Olden probably will have the plum assignment permamently.

Olden has been doing radio in Los Angeles for several years and has been PA announcer for 12 Super Bowls.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT -- More numbers from Saturday's 22-4 stomping: Twenty-five hits is the most by the Indians since May 6, 1995, when they amassed 26 in a 10-9, 17-inning win against the Twins... Yankee pitchers needed 236 pitches to get through the game... Fifty total bases for the Tribe tied a franchise record first accomplished against the Mariners on July 16, 2004...The club's 52 at-bats set a franchise record... Eight extra base hits in the second inning by the Tribe stands as a major-league record (post 1900)... In the first three games of the series, the Indians scored 37 runs; in the previous nine games they scored 43.

BIG APPLE ODDITIES -- Until the Tribe's weekend series, no team ever scored nine runs in an inning twice at any Yankee Stadium, according to Elias Sports Bureau... The 17 home runs (by both teams) in the first three games of the series is more than have ever been hit in the first three games at any ballpark in history. 

Even though only four games have been played here, there already is a consensus that the ball flies farther than almost anywhere in the big leagues.

One American League scout said on Sunday, ""This park plays smaller than any ballpark in the majors, for whatever reason.''

FARM FACTS -- Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 1.64 ERA) delivered six strong innings, giving up seven hits and two runs while striking out eight, but Columbus dropped a 3-1 decision to Toledo. Chris Gimenez had three hits, including a double... Matt McBride and Matt Brown each had three hits, but Kinston fell to Winston-Salem 4-3. McBride hit two home runs and drove in all the runs...T.J. McFarland gave up one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings, but Lake County lost 2-1 to Delmarva.

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