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09/24/09 6:56 PM ET
Wedge convenes team meeting
Indians manager tries to settle young club down during funk
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Back in 2003, Eric Wedge's first season as manager of the Tribe, the Indians very well might have led the league in meetings. That rookie-laden ballclub required a hands-on approach from the manager, as "young mistakes" were prominent and players -- that would eventually form the Tribe's core -- found their first big league footing. Wedge finds himself in a similar situation now, and not just because this squad is the first to lose 90 games since that '03 club. If the speculation about Wedge's shaky job security is as real as it seems, then what's transpired this month is a rather appropriate bookend to his seven-year tenure with the team. Regardless of Wedge's fate, it's obvious that a team in the midst of a 10-game funk, as the Indians were entering Thursday's game, could use a good talking-to. And that's what Wedge provided -- for the second time in 10 days, no less. Whereas the Indians' team meeting at the Metrodome last week focused on the need to tighten up fundamentals down the stretch this season, the meeting Wedge called Thursday encouraged this young bunch to stop putting so much pressure on itself. "I wanted them to back off themselves," Wedge said. "You still have to relax and play to be your best. ... You can't get caught up in the results. You relax and play, and let the results take care of themselves." Obviously, the results have been ugly this month, as the Indians entered Thursday with a 3-18 record in September. The 10-game losing streak was the second in as many years for the Indians, and they entered the series finale against the Tigers in danger of losing 11 straight for the first time since a 12-game skid in May of 1931 -- the longest losing streak in club history. Of course, Wedge has more than just historical footnotes to be concerned with these days. And a situation in which a manager calls two team meetings within 10 days of each other reeks of a guy trying to save his job. But outfielder Trevor Crowe, for one, said he didn't get that sense from these two get-togethers. "They've been positive," Crowe said of the meetings. "I feel they've been 100 percent about the players and 0 percent about him." Wedge said he has called around five meetings, total, this season. The frequency has picked up of late, because the Indians are a vastly different team than they were six or even three months ago. "It's important to get in front of these guys and try to help them out," Wedge said. Just like it was in '03.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.