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Unassisted
01-13-2006, 12:27 PM
No mention of the Vietnam trip, so I figured this deserved its own thread.

http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1137145073199150.xml&coll=2


Now, it's Graves who's the veteran


Friday, January 13, 2006Burt Graeff
Plain Dealer Reporter

The hair is long. The ears are pierced and about a dozen tattoos line various body parts belonging the Danny Graves.

"I was a kid the last time I was in here," said Graves, looking around the Indians clubhouse on Thursday afternoon. "I am different now."

Some of the nameplates he saw above the lockers in the empty clubhouse at Jacobs Field on Wednesday: Hafner, Boone, Sabathia, Peralta.

The nameplates are much different than the ones Graves saw when he was called up to the Indians in July 1996. "Guys like [Albert] Belle, [Kenny] Lofton and [Jim] Thome were here then," Graves said.

"I saw those superstars and I wanted to go hide in a corner. Now, I talk a lot."

Graves was 23 when he first appeared in a big-league game, pitching two innings in a 19-11 victory over the Minnesota Twins on July 13, 1996.
Baseball careers often have unusual twists. The Indians sent Graves, then a right-handed prospect, to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a six-player trade in July 1997.

In Cincinnati, Graves' career came alive, then died.

Now, back in Cleveland, Graves hopes to revive it.

The Tribe, looking for help with the departure of Bob Howry to the Chicago Cubs, signed Graves to a minor-league contract in December with an invitation to the big-league camp for spring training.

"I felt like I was 44 years old at the end of last season," said Graves, 32.


"Today, I feel like I am 24.

"I am a born-again baseball player."

Graves holds the Reds' franchise record for career saves - 182 - but what turned out to be an ill-fated move to the starting rotation in 2003, where he went 4-15 (5.33 ERA), sent a blossoming career into a tailspin.

The Indians played a role in Graves' career bottoming out. In a May 22 game at Cincinnati against the Tribe, Graves started the ninth and was rocked for five runs in one-third of an inning in a 9-2 loss.

Moments after he was removed from the game, a fan near the Reds dugout barked a racial slur to Graves, who is the lone big-league player born in Vietnam. Graves responded with an obscene gesture and, on the next day, was designated for assignment by the Reds.

"The fan should not have said what he said and I should have not responded the way I did," said Graves, who closed out the season with the New York Mets and the Class AAA Norfolk Tides.

Graves is eager for the chance to revive his career where it began.
"Mentally, the starting thing stayed with me for a long time," Graves said. "I can joke about it now. Hopefully, the 15 losses is out of my system.

"Physically, I think I'm close to being back. The arm strength is there."
Tribe General Manager Mark Shapiro was the team's director of minor-league operations when Graves was traded nearly nine years ago. "On the day I left," Graves said, "Mark told me he'd try to get me back.

"When I came in here today, it was like I never left. Even if some things are different."

Like the longer hair, the ear piercings, the tattoos and the nameplates above the lockers.

savafan
01-13-2006, 12:32 PM
I for one am rooting for Graves, and hope he is able to have an effective year for the Tribe.

flyer85
01-13-2006, 12:36 PM
I wonder if he has been in contact with Miracle Max.

StillFunkyB
01-13-2006, 02:48 PM
Graves was 23 when he first appeared in a big-league game, pitching two innings in a 19-11 victory over the Minnesota Twins on July 13, 1996.

NM, was thinking of another game.

Dom Heffner
01-13-2006, 02:57 PM
I remember Larry Holmes' comeback against Mike Tyson.

That went well.

I wonder if Graves will be using a wooden racket like Bjorn Borg.

TeamBoone
01-13-2006, 03:15 PM
Sava and I are probably the only ones hoping for Danny to succeed.

I love his personality and he was ALWAYS the most fan-friendly player at Reds Fest, often signing autographs as he passed through the crowd arfter his session was finished.

I know he's said/done a couple unfortunate things... so have I (and, if you're honest, so have you... even on the job).

I'm glad he's getting a second chance. I hope he truly makes the best of it.

captainmorgan07
01-13-2006, 04:11 PM
he won't last long in an indian uniform and we'll still be on him and he aint even a red anymore

flyer85
01-13-2006, 04:36 PM
Sava and I are probably the only ones hoping for Danny to succeed. I like Danny and wish him well. Someone has to represent all the little people out there:evil:. Just kidding. He was a quality pitcher for most of his days as a Red and it was sad to see it end on such a low note.

However, it's hard to see how he is going to revive his career unless he can find the 6-8mph he lost off his fastball.

Heath
01-13-2006, 04:39 PM
I like Danny and wish him well. Someone has to represent all the little people out there:evil:. Just kidding. He was a quality pitcher for most of his days as a Red and it was sad to see it end on such a low note.

However, it's hard to see how he is going to revive his career unless he can find the 6-8mph he lost off his fastball.

Yep, unless Danny can find his knuckleball, I'm afraid his day as a big-leaguer is done.

RANDY IN INDY
01-13-2006, 05:21 PM
"I was a kid the last time I was in here," said Graves, looking around the Indians clubhouse on Thursday afternoon. "I am different now."

And feeling kinda' "small." ;)

Super_Barry11
01-13-2006, 05:59 PM
Sava and I are probably the only ones hoping for Danny to succeed.

Definitely not true!! I'll always cheer for Danny to do well... I really hope it works out for him in Cleveland!! :)

KronoRed
01-13-2006, 07:55 PM
Will he stop blaming us soon? ;)


Seriously, I hope he has success

Jpup
01-14-2006, 03:28 AM
Definitely not true!! I'll always cheer for Danny to do well... I really hope it works out for him in Cleveland!! :)

I was glad to see him gone, but I wish him well. :thumbup:

37red
01-14-2006, 08:52 AM
Time will tell I wish him well. He's got to get past the mental wall and let it fly. He really doesn't have many pitches, everyong pretty much knows what's coming.

RFS62
01-14-2006, 09:33 AM
If he doesn't regain the sink on his sinker and add a few mph's on his fastball, he's toast.

StillFunkyB
01-14-2006, 12:06 PM
Sava and I are probably the only ones hoping for Danny to succeed.

I love his personality and he was ALWAYS the most fan-friendly player at Reds Fest, often signing autographs as he passed through the crowd arfter his session was finished.

I know he's said/done a couple unfortunate things... so have I (and, if you're honest, so have you... even on the job).

I'm glad he's getting a second chance. I hope he truly makes the best of it.

I hope he does well, also TB.

He was a good tipper. Dunn tipped good, but Danny gave me more. :)

GAC
01-15-2006, 06:52 AM
I'm gonna miss him. Now I have to come up with a new banner for the games this year. ;)

I'm kickin' around "Nobody Runs The Basepaths Like Tony Womack!" :lol:

KronoRed
01-15-2006, 07:05 AM
Shame he'll never REACH the basepaths ;)

GAC
01-15-2006, 09:09 AM
That's the point of the banner.... just like the Grave's one. ;)

I also thought about making one up about his "veteran leadership".

Redsland
01-15-2006, 09:07 PM
How about:

There's no "I" in "Aurilia." Oh, wait...

or

Nobody outhustles Austin Kearns.

or

Freel's house after the game?

or

Hit it here! You know the other team will.

or

Bored? Hit it to Pena.

or

Don't call the bullpen, call a hitman.

or

Maybe we should borrow some football players from UC?

:)

GAC
01-15-2006, 09:14 PM
:lol: Good ones

Maybe we need to start a poll to decide what the title of my next banner should be?

:lol: