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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Day at the Prog: Tales from the Clubhouse(s)

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 2:48 PM

JULIO.jpg
We take it back, Jorge.
The bad thing about press credentials: You can’t get drunk and heckle Mark Buehrle. The good thing: You see stuff you otherwise wouldn’t, such as: -- Why is the visiting clubhouse so nice? For their enemies, the Indians have provided plush leather chairs, a giant plasma television, an X-Box, and, most ridiculously, Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter arcade video games. ... They need to take a page out of the Cavs’ book. At the Q, while the home locker room is plush and country club-like, the visitors’ is cramped and about as welcoming as a Ukrainian prison cell. Couldn’t the cash spent on amenities at the visitors’ locker room at Progressive have gone to buying extra ottomans for the Indians’ locker room, or perhaps just given to C.C. Sabathia in an envelope as he leaves for his car? -- Speaking of Sabathia, he has his last name tattooed in graffiti-style lettering spanning his shoulder blades, which, considering his work attire, is kind of like you tattooing a cartoon of a necktie down your chest. -- Perhaps I wouldn’t have signed reliever Jorge Julio to the big team if I was Mark Shapiro. But I’m not. And, standing in the locker room among a crowd of reporters waiting for somebody, anybody, to emerge from the showers, I noticed Julio alone at his locker. Dressing in the standard athlete’s after-game fashion of Louis Vuitton everything, and iced-out in platinum bracelets and earrings, he looked lonely. Or maybe it was me who was iced-out and lonely; I can’t remember. Either way, I approached him and conducted the First Ever Jorge Julio Interview at Progressive Field. Julio, who speaks very good English but in a strong Venezuelan accent—and, if you’re looking for some trivia for that next cocktail party, wears braces—told me that he hasn’t had a chance to house-hunt in the Cleveland area, so he’s staying at a hotel downtown. This being his fifth team in three years, he’s used to the nomadic lifestyle. Asked what he thinks of Cleveland, Julio responds, “It’s okay; it’s a nice city. I don’t know it too well, but it’s cool right now,” which may actually be the most effusive praise we’ve received since the early ‘90s. Asked how permanent he expects his stay will be, Julio says, “I don’t have any idea right now. I’ve been given an opportunity, and I have to do my job.” A bit cliché perhaps, but he said it in such a heartfelt manner, that I felt myself rooting for him. Forget what I blogged earlier, let’s give this guy a chance. -- Joe Borowksi had this to say about his vintage pitching performance (1 inning, 1 run, 1 save): “If we’re up by three, and I give up two, I don’t care. If we’re up by two, and I give up one, I don’t care.” Yeah, Joe, we picked up on that. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts

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