Yesterday it was announced that the Cleveland Indians have signed speedy center fielder Michael Bourn to a 4-year, $48 million deal that brings one of the fastest players in Major League Baseball to the AL Central. Bourn’s status for the upcoming season as far as where he would play was one of the burning questions that lingered throughout the winter, but after a flirtation with the Mets it appears the thirty year old will be playing his home games at Jacobs Field this season.
Although the signing mainly means that the Indians will have one of the most talented center fielders in all of the majors, several people just could not resist in comparing Bourn to Wesley Snipes’ character Willie Mays Hayes from the baseball classic “Major League”, as seen by some of the Twitter reaction below:
Indeed, Bourn plays baseball a lot like Hayes, using his incredible speed to leave pitchers shaking their heads. However, Bourn’s likeness to Willie Mays Hayes is not the only one that could be compared between the 2013 squad and the fictional lineup from the 1989 film. Here are the five members of the upcoming Indians team that favor some of the players from the Jake Taylor and Roger Dorn days in Cleveland:
Michael Bourn, CF, as Willie Mays Hayes – As mentioned above, Bourn plays a good bit like Hayes, a player who swore that he could “hit like Mays and run like Hayes”. However, hitting is exactly the problem for both Bourn and Hayes, but for two different reasons: Hayes struggled with pop-outs, while Bourn has issues with strikeouts, shown by his staggering 155 with the Braves last year, fifteenth most in all of MLB. If Bourn can learn to just make contact and run out the ground balls like Hayes did, he may lead the Indians to a great season while he works on stealing bases like Hayes did, although probably not 100 of them.
Trevor Bauer, SP, as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn – A talented pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, Bauer was heralded as one of the top prospects in all of baseball last season, but his unwillingness to shy away from his unusual warmup methods—which includes long toss from close to 400 feet away—and from improving his attitude, which irked veterans like catcher Miguel Montero, led to the D-Backs giving up on Bauer and shipping him to Cleveland. Now with the chance to show off his rocket of an arm, which boasts a fastball of 95 mph, it looks like it is time for Bauer to put up or shut up and put his wild days behind him if he wants to sustain a career in Major League Baseball, just like Ricky Vaughn had to do following his stint in the California penal system.
Mark Reynolds, 1B/DH, as Pedro Cerrano – Reynolds, like Cerrano, has the capability of knocking the cover off the ball (shown by his five consecutive seasons of at least twenty-three home runs), but he has a heck of a time not striking out on off-speed pitches, just like Jobu’s favorite ballplayer. Indeed, Reynolds’ strikeouts have moved him from being a very valuable piece to a team to a player that merely wants a chance to play the role of designated hitter and try and earn some more time from there. If Reynolds wants to be as revered by Indians’ fans as Cerrano once was, he must cut down on his outrageous strikeout numbers, which currently sit at 187 per year.
Brett Myers, SP, as Eddie Harris – A longtime veteran in baseball, Myers is just looking for a chance to play a little longer, just like Harris did with the Tribe. Now going into his twelve season, Myers has not had much success since he left the Phillies following the 2009 season, as he has spent most of his time just bouncing around from the starting rotation and the bullpen, looking to just keep pitching in the big leagues. Currently slated as Cleveland’s #3 starter behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson, Myers will not be the big name that brings in fans just as Harris didn’t, but that does not mean that he will not contribute to the Indians once he steps on the rubber.
Terry Francona, manager, as Lou Brown – The Francona and Brown comparison is not exactly a spot-on one, but both are players’ managers that stepped in to a clubhouse that had grown accustomed to losing and put together a plan to turn the tides. Fortunately for Francona, he will not be dealing with an abominable owner like Rachel Phelps, who was determined to wreck Brown’s chances of turning the Indians’ ship around in order to move the club to Miami (In hindsight, the move probably would not have been successful considering the Marlins’ fanbase or lack thereof).
Will these Indians prove to be as successful as Brown’s Indians, who won the pennant over the New York Yankees? It is hard to tell with the season still two months away from starting, but one thing is for sure: at least Cleveland has something to be hopeful about this year.
Missed an obvious “Major League” comparison? Leave a comment and let me know who I left out