The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 11

Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians

Friday, July 4, 1997 - 1:05pm

Jacobs Field

Cleveland, Ohio

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Pre-Game Report
 Jacobs Field gives the Indians a home field advantage like few other parks. But, the Royals have been winning lately on road and just might put a scare into the Central Division leaders. Let's get ready to rumble!!

Stadium Stats - Jacobs Field

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 42,865
Dimensions: Left Field: 325 feet, Center Field: 405 feet, Right Field: 325 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Royals Logo

Kansas City Royals

 Two season ago, the Royals finished thirty games out of the playoffs. Following that disgraceful seasons, the Royals restructured their roster to include a whole slew of young talent. While they didn't finish thirty games out of first place last season, they did finish in last place for the first time in team history. Now, manager Bob Boone, has three proven veterans to lead his young squad and the results should be noticeably better.

 Kevin Appier leads a solid starting rotation that includes Tim Belcher, Chris Haney, and Jose Rosado. Appier, who won 14 games, and finished third in the league in ERA and strikeouts despite bicep problems. Belcher outpitched Appier last season but is getting up in years, Rosado was sensational in his rookie season, and Haney has recovered nicely from last season's back surgery. The bullpen is going to be the problem, with closer Jeff Montgomery facing injury problems and his replacement Jaime Bluma lacking major league experience. And, with the release of Mike Magnante and the trade of Jeff Granger, the Royals will depend on youngsters Brian Bevil, Melvin Bunch and Ken Ray for middle relief.

 The off-season additions of DH Chili Davis, first baseman Jeff King, and shortstop Jay Bell will anchor the Royals offense. King ripped 30 homers and drove in 111 runs last season, Bell is coming off a career high number of RBI's last season, and third baseman Craig Pacqutte led the Royals last season in homers with 22. The outfield is young, with prospects Johnny Damon and Michael Tucker providing some offensive pop, and left-handed bats Tom Goodwin, Rod Myers and Jon Nunnally should open some eyes.

Indians Logo

Cleveland Indians

 The defending Central Division champions are not the same team that went to the World Series two years ago, or even the same team that lost to the Orioles in the first round of the playoffs last season. Albert Belle, the power center of the Indians lineup now resides in Chicago, Carlos Baerga, the Indians former designated hitter was traded last July, and Eddie Murray was traded to Anaheim. Still, the Cleveland Indians are expected to challenge for the American League pennant.

 For the past two years, the Indians starting rotation held opposing batters to the lowest ERA in the league. This year, Charles Nagy will lead a staff that includes Jack McDowell, Orel Hershiser and Chad Ogea, who has turned into a strong fourth starter. Nagy led the team last season with 17 wins, his best production in three season, and appears to be regaining much of his previous dominance. And, while both Hershiser and McDowell have struggled in previous years, they can consistently dominate late into games. As for the bullpen, Eric Plunk, Mike Jackson, Paul Assenmacher, and Alan Embree give manager Jim Hargrove dozens of combinations for middle relief, and Jose Mesa has come away from his legal troubles unscathed and is ready to lead the Indians to the playoffs.

 As for the offense, the Indians have a new power leader in David Justice, who was traded early in the season for Kenny Lofton. Along with Matt Williams, and a core of strong hitters including Jim Thome, Chad Curtis and Julio Franco, this team will produce offensive stats that make up for the off-season departures. Finally, the combination of free-agent Tony Fernandez and three time gold glove winner Omar Vizquel in the infield will keep hitters from advancing past first and produce scores of double plays.

Post-Game Report
 I showed up eight hours early for the game but it was worth it. The stadium is beautiful, the city wonderful, and the game was very exciting. Click here to get all the details. . .

Highlights from The New American City

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