CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Everyone knows that 2012 was a hard season for the Indians, a year that had great promise and one that appeared headed in the right direction as late as July 26th. Today, with the year nearing its close, we go back, and relive some of the good, the bad, and the simply awful Indians moments of 2012.
1. Terry Francona Named New Indians Manager – Many around baseball were shocked when 53-year-old Terry Francona accepted the job as Indians skipper on October 6th, but talk to Francona and he said it was a no-brainer. He’s tight with GM Chris Antonetti and President Mark Shapiro, and was ready to get back into the game after a year in the broadcasting booth. With two rings on his fingers, Francona brings a resume to the Indians that will surely get the players attention.
2. Manny Acta Fired – September 27th was an off day for the Indians as they prepared for their final six-game homestand of the year. For GM Chris Antonetti, the team had seen enough of the collapse of 2012, and decided to fire manager Manny Acta, replacing him for the time being with Sandy Alomar Jr. The Indians were 65-91 when Acta was canned, and had at one point in 2012 lost 21 of 25 games, going from 3.5 out late in July to fighting for last place in the division. Not all of the issues were Acta’s fault, but enough were for the team to justify a move at the top.
3. The First Perez Soundoff – Indians fans got very use to closer Chris Perez making outlandish and volatile comments, and it started oddly enough, after a 2-0 Indians win over Miami on a Saturday. The closer stepped up and talked about the fans, the booing at home, and how other Cleveland sports teams seem to get a free pass from the media. The comments hit so hard and were done with so few media around, the Indians asked him the following morning, a Sunday, to step up and do it all over again. He did, and as all came to learn in 2012, Perez was never afraid to share his thoughts.
4. Mega-Deal with the Reds, Diamondbacks Nets Four Players – A deal that took a couple days to make happen took place on December 11th, as the Indians shipped out RF Shin-Soo Coo and INF Jason Donald to the Reds and RP Tony Sipp to Arizona. In return, the team acquired OF Drew Stubbs from the Reds, relief pitchers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, and top prospect pitcher Trevor Bauer. The deal in the eyes of GM Chris Antonetti will not only help the Indians now, but also set them up for the future.
5. 31 Days of Pain – That’s the best way to describe August 2012 for the Indians, as the team fell into a funk of historic proportions. The team in the 31 days of August went 5-24, and the month included a 6, 7 and 9 game losing streak. The month wrapped up in the middle of a homestand that at the time saw them go 1-7, and the final nail in the month’s coffin came on August 31st when Ubaldo Jimenez lost his 14th game as the Indians lost to the Rangers at Progressive Field 5-3.
6. Nick Swisher Inks with the Indians – After failing time and time again to gain that big name free agent, the Indians got their man on December 23rd, coming to terms on a huge five-year deal worth potentially $70 million with hometown boy Nick Swisher. Penciled in to play right field and hit fourth, Swisher could be the face of the franchise for Terry Francona’s new look club.
7. Dolan Claims Acta is Safe – The Indians had a charity event on August 23rd in which CEO Paul Dolan showed up and the media quickly turned their attention to him about the Indians August collapse and the status of manager Manny Acta, President Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti. Dolan stated that “We all have a lot of work to do,” Dolan said. “But their jobs aren’t at stake in this.” 35 days later, the CEO was left with egg on his face as the team canned Acta a day after reaching their 91st loss.
8. CP Throws Acta Under the Bus – In a final “see ya” fired by closer Chris Perez on 2012, the pitcher took a shot at fired manager Manny Acta on October 2nd, stating that his displeasure about the Indians and their direction had a lot to do with his former skipper. “A lot of that was heat of the moment, upset, a lot of that walked out the door last week,” Perez said. It was one of many memorable quotes from Perez throughout the 2012 campaign.
9. When It Rains It Pours – Already having lost eight straight, it looked like in the finale of a series in Detroit the Indians had finally gotten it right. The went tooth and nail with the Tigers, and after scoring three in the 10th they built an 8-5 lead and turned it over to All-Star closer Chris Perez. The closer got to two outs, but the flood gates opened, and by the time they were shut, Perez was walking off the field with a 10-8 loss after giving up five runs in the 10th. The final blow – a Miguel Cabrera homer that sent the Tiger faithful home happy, and the Indians yet again into the clubhouse a loser.
10. When Things Were Brightest – The Indians had already beaten Justin Verlander once, so not many gave them much of a shot when they played again at Progressive Field on July 26th. Down 3-1 in the 7th, Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner each homered, and the offense put up a four-spot, rallying for a stunning 5-3 win. Little did Indians fans know it would be remembered as the last true bright spot of the year, as the win pulled them within 3.5 of first place. A storm was coming, one that saw historic losing streaks and the end for manager Manny Acta.