Few things rattle you after a relaxing weekend out of town than to return to your computer, click on The Futon Report, and find out that the Indians might be courting Craig Counsell once free agency picks up steam.
I should have known. I should have known that when Counsell yanked that Jose Mesa fastball to deep right field to tie Game 7 of the World Series that the Indians would sit up and take notice.
I should have known when Counsell bounced off home plate and into a wave of teammates, signaling the Marlins' first world championship, that a young Mark Shapiro would have said to himself "Dang, we need that guy."
Not Edgar Renteria, who sizzled the line drive past Charlie Nagy that won the series. Not Gary Sheffield, who make a number of clutch plays in the series. Not Al Leiter, who started Game 7.
No, the guy the Indians fell in love with that night was Craig Counsell.
Since then, he's amassed a career .260 average and won another World Series ring with the Diamondbacks, which only strengthened the Indians' resolve to one day sign him.
Counsell has something for everybody in Indians management.
For Eric Wedge, Counsell hustles. He's scrappy, constant motion. His contortionist batting stance makes him look like he's trying harder than he actually is.
For Mark Shapiro, Counsell is versatile. he can play any infield position, and would fit nicely with Joe Inglett and Hector Luna in next year's all-utility infield.
For Larry Dolan, Counsell brings two World Series rings at an affordable price. Before you consider anything else, the .260 average, the 31 career home runs, remember the bling. Remember, in Cleveland, we are supposed to be impressed with any player who can flash his championship bling. Dolan is counting on it.
So when Counsell casually runs his hand through his hair at his debut press conference, and a bit of that 1997 Florida Marlins World Championship ring catches the light and sparkles, remember to drop your jaw and say "OOOOOHHH, is THAT a REAL World Series ring? I ain't never seen one-ah those!"
Other clubs sign the staff aces and cleanup hitters from championship teams. In Cleveland, we have to settle for the backup infielders.