Eagle of Fairview Park (being held by his dad) gets a memory
of a lifetime as Grady Sizemore and Jensen Lewis (shown in background
smiling) sign a baseball for him. The players were at Stampers
as part of the Indians Press Tour (West Life photo by Larry
looking forward to greater things in 2008
By Matt Pawlikowski
Published Jan. 30, 2008
been a few months now since the Indians fell a game short of making
the World Series, and while players have had time to get it out
of their minds, not so for All-Star centerfielder and Westshore
resident Grady Sizemore.
“No, not at all,” said Sizemore when asked if he put
the game behind him yet. “You’re not going to be able to forget
something like that, not finishing the season the way you wanted
to, so that loss is not far from the back of my mind, and I’m sure
it’s not far from anyone’s. But we are looking forward to this year.”
outfielder Grady Sizemore believes this season can be even more
special than last year’s. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
Sizemore, who batted .277 last year, believes this
year could be just as special as last year, if not better, because
of the camaraderie the team shares, something not seen with a lot
of teams around Major League Baseball.
“I think a big part of that is because we all came
up through the system together,” he said in an exclusive interview
with West Life last week. “We play in the minor leagues, and they
(the Indians) have kept us together at the big league level.”
Sizemore says that when you play with guys for that
long, you grow into a family.
“We’re a tight knit group of guys,” Sizemore said.
“We play well together on the field, and have fun off of it as well.
We’re not afraid to talk with each other and say what is on our
He also says that having a manager such as Eric Wedge
is a huge bonus.
“He’s our catalyst,” said Sizemore. “He’s been my
manager since I’ve been up, and I don’t know any other way.
I love his passion for the game, and the way he manages it.
He’s just one of those guys you want to play for.”
And play is what Sizemore has done since coming making
the big league roster. Last year alone, he ranked among the league
leaders in several offensive categories, and among major league
lead-off hitters, was fourth in homers with 22, and second in RBIs.
Sizemore said that manager Eric Wedge has told him
he would be in the lead-off slot again, which bodes well for the
“I will be batting leadoff again,” Sizemore said with
his trademark smile. “For me, it’s been great. I love playing for
this team, and the fans have been great. You couldn’t ask for better
He says the experience in the playoffs last year in
Jacobs Field just magnified things.
“I don’t have words for it; it was just such a great
feeling,” said Sizemore. “The adrenaline was flowing, and you could
feel it as the season came to a close and we clinched, and your
heart was just pumping. It’s one of those things where you can’t
wait to get out there and play in those surroundings again.”
Asked about Jacobs Field changing names and becoming
Progressive Field, or Pro Field as we have dubbed it, like many
of his fellow teammates, he said it is tough.
“I know it as the Jake,” Sizemore said. “But that’s
the business of the game. Fields are always going to be changing
names, and it is a small thing that you have to make adjustments
Considering the Indians went as deep as they did into
the playoffs last year, and were on the road more than home during
the year, Sizemore had no complaints, and said his off-season routine
was pretty much the same as in the past.
“The off-season, for me, is pretty much the same every
year,” said Sizemore. “You try to get healthy and get your strength
back, and you want to go into spring training ready to go. It’s
a long season, and you want to stay healthy.”
As for any other adjustments to his game, Sizemore
said there was nothing different about his off-season preparations.
“Right now I feel fine,” he said. “When you get to
the playoffs, you don’t feel fatigue. Those bumps and bruises you
have in the middle of the season; when it’s postseason time, the
adrenaline takes over.
“Again, I want to stay healthy and go out there and
produce, and help my team win. Our goal is to get back to the post
season again, and go further than we did last year.”