Naming Kerry Wood's Slider

Jon SladekCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Kerry Wood #34 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 19, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Great people often do great things. Fortunately for the rest of us, even those in the mediocre majority can enjoy flashes of greatness.

I had such a moment while watching Kerry Wood pitch Sunday.

I was talking to a buddy on the phone, complaining about Wood's penchant for falling in love with his fastball (sometimes hittable) and forgetting to mix in the slider (usually unhittable).

Simply put, the slider is nasty.

So he got a hitter into a two-strike count and right after I pleaded for the slider, he tossed it over the plate, freezing the hitter for the third strike. Elated, I shouted, "There's the widowmaker!"

And there you have it. Kerry Wood's slider has its nickname, the Widowmaker.

So when you hear Rick Manning talking about Kerry Wood's Widowmaker in a few weeks, remember, you heard it here first!

Do baseball seasons ever go as planned?

The Indians just took 2-of-3 from the White Sox with Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rafael Betancourt, and Aaron Laffey on the disabled list and Fausto Carmona having been sent to Arizona to presumably toil in a Joe Arpaio prison camp.

I refuse to give up on these guys. Does that make me the pitiful 15-year-old girl waiting by the phone for the disinterested boy to call? Yes. Do I care? No.

Before I present my case for Tribe optimism, I have to ask if anybody knows what is going on with Kelly Shoppach and his facial hair? I mean, when this guy sneezes, he looks like a party favor!

Seriously, the Indians have done a terrific job of creating a family-friendly environment at the ballpark. Its much more appropriate for kids than the drunken prison yard the Browns play in.

But as a concerned fan, I don't want my backup catcher working in dirty movies as a side gig. If the Tribe needs to pay him more money, sobeit!

The Tribe has been playing decent ball lately. They still play sloppy and leave runners in scoring position way too often, but they remain within striking distance in an AL Central division that is begging them to make a run.

Best of all, help is on the way:

- Jake Westbrook tossed three scoreless innings in his first rehab start in Akron. Having Jake anywhere near his past form for the last two months would be quite a boost.

- Joe Smith has thrown the ball well in Columbus and looks ready to help an already-improved bullpen.

- Asdrubal's shoulder injury wasn't season-ending and he should be back in a few weeks.

- Rafael Betancourt's injury was not arm-related and he will only miss a few weeks.

It is shaping up that the Tribe will be a much stronger team by the All-Star Break as they whittle down their bloated disabled list.

The team seems to be on the brink of a winning streak, but just hasn't been able to gain full momentum yet.

Don't give up just yet on the 2009 season. Unlike the NFL, there is no real prize to be had for losing a lot of games in baseball as the draft is so hit or miss and lasts approximately 560 rounds.

The Tribe is playing fairly well in the division. Continue that, and we might have interesting baseball in September after all.