The last time the Indians played home games in Milwaukee, they made the playoffs. Well, kind of. That was back in 1989, when the Indians making the playoffs was so much a fantasy they made a movie about just exactly what would happen if the Indians DID make the playoffs. Yep, "Major League" actually had its baseball scenes filmed at old Milwaukee County Stadium.
Now, thanks to Mother Nature, the Indians have returned to use Milwaukee's Miller Park as their home stadium. This time it's for real. And it just so happens to coincide with the DVD release of "Major League: Wild Thing Edition."
The Indians used a little of the Wild Thing magic to attract more than 20,000 fans to the opening game of the series with the Los Angeles Angels, and to hold on for a 7-6 victory. To honor the bizarre turn of events that has sent the Indians a few hundred miles west for some home games, and to honor one of the best sports movies of all time, here's the "Major League" awards for the first game of the series.
Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn Award -- to Tribe reliever Joe Borowski, who gave up two hits and one run to "earn" the save. For the second time he was bailed out by his defense, this time when catcher Kelly Shoppach gunned down pinch-runner Erik Aybar trying to steal second to end the game. Don't feel bad, Erick, Babe Ruth was once thrown out stealing to end a World Series! Perhaps Borowski needs glasses. Hey, he was serenaded to the Wild Thing music when he entered the game, so why not?
Harry Doyle Award -- to Sports Time Ohio color man Rick Manning, who sported the Wild Thing glasses during the pregame, although there was a nice big piece of masking tape holding them together in the middle. Rumor has it a couple pitches were even thrown just a bit outside.
Jake Taylor Award -- to Ryan Garko, who would have found himself behind the plate for the first time in the bigs if anything had happened to Kelly Shoppach, like an anvil falling out of the sky and landing on his head. The Indians believe Victor Martinez can return to action soon, perhaps the only blessing from the snowed-out series, meaning Garko is the only option for the tools of ignorance should disaster strike. And who could ever believe that anything would?
Eddie Harris Award -- to Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, who was accused last week of using an illegal substance which he supposedly hid under the bill of his cap. K-Rod stayed in the bullpen during this one, and no one accused him of anything, be it Bardol, Crisco, or Vagisil.
Willie Mays Hayes Award -- to Grady Sizemore, who stole a career-high three bases, though he did not whip out an American Express card when he slid safely into any of them. He even mixed in a popout, though no push-ups.
Jobu Award -- to Slider, who made the trip with the rest of the team and even got to be a real slider when he slid down from Bernie Brewer's platform after home runs by Shoppach and Casey Blake. Or was it renamed Bernie Kosar's platform for this series? And no one told Slider to fuck off!
Pedro Cerrano Award -- to Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who never met a pitch he didn't like. But even though he liked them all, they didn't like him yesterday, as he apparently had problems with the curveball, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout. Who knows, though, maybe Guerrero will grow up to become president of the Dominican Republic some day, at least on a television show.
Lou Brown Award -- to Eric Wedge, who didn't have to worry about his opposing manager pulling any stall tactics to get the game canceled due to bad weather. Even the 10 inches of snow predicted to hit Milwaukee overnight won't affect the rest of this series, thanks to the Miller Park retractable roof.
Roger Dorn Award -- NOT to Josh Barfield, who did dive for a ground ball off the ball of Orlando Cabrera, starting a nifty double play in the third inning. No word on whether Barfield wants to be an interior decorator when his playing days are over.
And now that the first game of one of the craziest series you'll see is over with, there's only one thing left to do.
Win the whole fucking thing.