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Stuck in Indianapolis, hope I live to tell the tale

Greetings from the Indianapolis Marriott, where the annual baseball winter meetings are set to kick off this morning. Many teams' contingents arrived yesterday, however, and by late last night the lobby was already a teeming mass of baseball humanity.

We'll be providing double-barrelled coverage of the meeting: I'll be posting primarily here, while Chico is back in the saddle at Nationals Journal. Of course, I retain my set of keys to NJ and reserve the right to toss something up there now and again, should the circumstances warrant.

Here are a few notes to get us started:

*Much of the buzz last night was regarding the Chone Figgins signing with the Seattle Mariners, reportedly for $36 million over four years -- which, I'm told, will become official after Adrian Beltre rejects the Mariners' offer of arbitration, a procedural matter that is expected to be a formality.

The Mariners, are viewed as one of the major players (maybe THE major player) this offseason, with John Lackey and Jason Bay among their targets. Should they somehow wind up with Figgins, Lackey and Bay, it could go a long way towards tilting the AL West in their favor.

*The Player Likeliest To Be Traded This Week is Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley, with the Tampa Bay Rays still the likeliest destination. The Bradley-for-Pat-Burrell swap makes sense on every level except finances -- Bradley is owed $21 million over the next two seasons, while Burrell is owed $9 million in 2010 only -- but that gap can be bridged by involving a third team, quite possibly the Mets, who want to unload second baseman Luis Castillo.

*The free agent market is basically lousy, especially when it comes to pitching, but it is flooded with names that would have been considered premium guys a year or two ago, before injuries took them down. Call them reclamation projects, if you wish, but it's an intriguing list: Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer and Ben Sheets. All of them are said to be healthy now and could represent nice bargains if any of them are able to replicate their pre-injury production.

*Finally, astute music fans will catch the reference in the title of this post. It comes from the classic song "Indianapolis" by the St. Louis-based band The Bottle Rockets, and until I arrived here yesterday it represented my only familiarity with this town. The song is an autobiographical story, written by frontman Brian Henneman -- who was Jay Farrar's guitar tech in the early 1990s, when Farrar was in Uncle Tupelo -- about a time when Uncle Tupelo's van broke down.

Here are the full lyrics. I highly recommend you download the mp3 as your soundtrack for the week:

Got a tow from a guy named Joe
Cost sixty dollars, hope I don't run out of dough
Told me 'bout a sex offense put him three days in jail
Stuck in Indianapolis, hope I live to tell the tale

Can't go west, can't go east
I'm stuck in Indianapolis with a fuel pump that's deceased
Ten days on the road, now I'm four hours from my home town
Is this hell or Indianapolis with no way to get around

Called my girl to tell her of the trouble that I'd had
First time I called her in ten days, guess that made her mad
Far as she's concerned I belong in this Hoosier state
Stuck in Indianapolis with no way to set things straight


Sitting in this bar is getting more than I can stand
If I could catch a ride I really think I'd ditch this van
Who knows what this repair will cost, scared to spend a dime
I'll puke if that jukebox plays John Cougar one more time

If I ever leave here I hope never to return
If I get that van back, Man, the road I'm gonna burn
Right now my future's in the hand of them boys down at Firestone
Stuck in Indianapolis, feeling all alone

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 7, 2009; 8:45 AM ET
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Next: Orioles interested in Bedard


Way to drop in the BOTTLE ROCKETS! If you get Sirius, BRs are in regular rotation on Outlaw Country.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | December 7, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Yea. I think I'll hang out here for awhile. Thanks.

And I still say, Rizzo, stay away from Bedard and Sheets.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 7, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Lyrics like this remind me of the time I invented the helmet double-beer holder, but didn't market it because, well, it's stupid, who the heck would pay for that? All those songs I wrote in the bar, all those years, I missed my calling.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 7, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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