Smoke Signals: Jay Bruce’s World Collides With Moneyball

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – There have been plenty of mentions of Moneyball, the film based on the story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics and their 20-game win streak, while the Cleveland Indians have been on their run.

But who knew the two worlds would meet?

Indians outfielder Jay Bruce said he exchanged text messages with former A’s first baseman Scott Hatteberg on Tuesday night after Bruce’s team tied Hatteberg’s in the record books.

The man portrayed by A-Lister Chris Pratt in the film said he hoped Bruce would do him one better.

“I just said, ‘Who would’ve thought.’ And he said, ‘Good luck, get another one and win a ring.’ It was late,” Bruce said.

The two players crossed paths in 2008 at Cincinnati Reds Spring Training, the first year of Bruce’s major league career, and the last for Hatteberg. The final game of Hatteberg’s career was on May 25th, 2008 before being designated for assignment to create room for Bruce, who debuted on May 27th.

Big Game Bebo

Roberto Perez always seems to produce in the big moment.

The backup catcher’s flair for the dramatic has been well-noted this year, between his home run in Game 1 of the World Series and large statistical bump with runners in scoring position.

Perez did it again on Wednesday, with a one-run lead and history on the line, homering to deep center field on an 0-2 pitch to give the Indians a cushion.

It was the first home run for Perez in his career that came down 0-2.

The defensively lauded backstop brought in a .217 to the game, but has raised the average from .175 on August 12th by going 16-for-50 in 16 games. The Indians are 15-1 in those games.

“I think he’s just a better hitter than he was showing earlier,” Manager Terry Francona. “I think that’s kind of it. I think when he sets his direction up the middle, he’s going to pull balls naturally because he’s strong, but he’s able to hit more pitches than when he’s just thinking pull.”

The day’s starter for whom Perez has become a personal catcher, Mike Clevinger, had other ideas for his battery-mate’s strong push.

“I’m telling you, you’ve got to watch him. When I pitch, Berto’s got that hot bat. I feel like it’s every time,” he joked.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say they’re two of the best catchers in the league and we’ve got both of them,” Clevinger added. “That’s pretty amazing. Some of the strikes that he can steal, not only with his arm. His pitch calling is what gets me the most. I have fun just watching what he’s gonna call when I’m pitching. Sometimes I’m not even thinking about what I want to do “’cause I’m like, ‘Let’s see what Berto thinks.’”

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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