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Scenes from Spring Training: Manny Acta is on MY side

Mar 8, 2012, 2:32 PM EDT

Indians Equipment Bag

Yeah, it’s another equipment bag shot. I can’t help myself. If you threw a bunch of equipment bags on someone’s front lawn on a cloudy day in November, I’d still take pictures of it.

Hanging around the Indians complex here in Goodyear has been great fun today.  For one thing, the place is crawling with Ohioans, and that’s good juju. I mean, we can’t cook that well and the coasts and big cities frighten and confuse us, but we’re really nice. Oh so pleasant.

Also pleasant: the Indians’ staff.  I came in this morning with an idea to interview someone, and they gave me (a) the general manager, Chris Antonetti; and (b) the Opening Day starter, Justin Masterson. Each of whom were kind and patient with my sub-par interviewing skills. Of course, as I noted this morning, that means that I’ll never write anything honest about them again. Sorry!  Look for the Antonetti interview on NBC SportsTalk tonight at 6PM Eastern.  I’ll write something up about Masterson later.

I wish my interactions with the media were so cordial. Sitting next to me for much of this morning was Jordan Bastian of Oh, we’re friendly with one another. He’s a good reporter and has always been nice.  But today our friendship ended when he — after noting his premature gray hair — said “I’d rather look like Anderson Cooper than Craig Calcaterra.”  I tweeted about it and even Gleeman took Bastians’s side. The anti-baldness sentiment in this country is intolerable. We’re the only minority people feel comfortable slamming. You’re all savages in that way and should be ashamed of yourselves.

But I’m not one to be a victim. I took my fight to the top. When I saw this man warming up before throwing some batting practice:


That, my friends, is Manny Acta. Who is himself bald. And by good fortune, Jordan “anti-baldite” Bastian was standing there too.  So I told on him:

Me: Jordan said that he’d rather be gray than bald.

Manny: Nothin’ wrong with being bald. My wife says I look good this way.

Jordan: My wife says I look good gray. Wives are good at lying like that.

Me: you should probably take Jordan’s media credentials away.

Manny just smiled.  But then he talked about how he could get hair if he wanted to — “get that surgery” — but that “I’m comfortable in my own skin, man.”  Of course he is. Because he’s Manny Acta and Manny Acta is (a) bald; and (b) bald is beautiful and bald people just understand the world better than the rest of you ugly, covered-up-headed people.

Oh well. And now for no particular reason, I give you a picture of Stevan Pope. The man who has been my cameraman this week.


Stevan is really good at not making fun of me for not knowing a damn thing about being in front of a camera.  Nice guy.

Going to the Angels-Indians game here shortly. Talk to you later.

  1. Max Power - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    You might be more comfortable with interviews if you approached them like a deposition.

    First question: Have you ever given an interview before?

    Then briefly summarize the interview process and ask the ballplayers to answer all your questions with an audible yes or know so Stevan can accurately record their response.

    Next question: Have you taken any prescription medication today or anything else that might affect your ability to answer my questions?

    • El Bravo - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      Spot on. Love it. I’ve read too many deps to not laugh at this!

    • Pierre Cruzatte - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      Meanwhile the players start pausing for 15 seconds before answering any questions (to give the PR guys time to object) and running down their mental checklist: (1) Was it a full question? (2) Did I hear and understand the question? (3) Do I remember the answer entirely and without speculation? If not, I’ll reply “I don’t recall.” (4) If I do recall the answer, is it from my personal, first-hand knowledge? If not, I’ll reply “I don’t know.”

      Craig: “Jeez, I just asked if you felt like you were in the best shape of your life.”

    • dink53 - Mar 9, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Yep, though the “If you answer a question, I’ll assume you understood it” could cause a few problems.

  2. Tim OShenko - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Anderson Cooper? Really? One should never trust a man with two last names, nor try to emulate such a person.

  3. El Bravo - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Craig, I also believe you are the only minority group that isn’t covered under Title VII as well. Sucks for you, brah. What’s funny is I shave my hair off every two weeks, but the shit keeps growing back fuller, thicker and more evenly than before. Damn hair.

  4. cur68 - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    As a card carrying covered top person, I’m takin’ the svelte, prosical stylin’s of Gleeman on this one, pie eater, even if he does like his ketchup warm and the wrong-way-up-stored. Now I’m off to brush my flowing, gleaming locks, anoint myself with hair gel, and run with my dog. If I get up to speed, the wind will playfully ruffle my domic covering, giving me a pleasing, Hasselhoff-esque, appearance. Even in a hurricane you and Manny “So-cool-He-Skates-To-School” Acta can’t say that.

    • bravojawja - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      If you really want the Hasselhoff-esque appearance, you’ll need to run shirtless so the wind can playfully ruffle your torsic covering. For the full effect, you’ll also want the guy from Survivor singing nearby. He’s always here, you know.

    • 24missed - Mar 10, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      So late to the party, Cur, but the Hoff nod had to be acknowledged. It would be disrespectful otherwise.
      Hit the link from the Coco Crip article today. Made my day. The Hoff running on the beach, sweet dog keeping pace and lots of manly hair flowing everywhere ~ fantasy material. If you are into the Hoff. I’ll just take the dog and the man hair, thanks. No disrespect to bald guys. Why should people have to choose hair or no hair?

      Cur, you never cease to make me laugh. Or provide fantasy material. Or partial fantasy material.

      • cur68 - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:42 PM

        Glad I make you happy, 24. This e-relationship thing is working out pretty well, eh? All I have to do is be a smart ass, allude myself to The Hoff, threaten people with pig-spears if they get all uppity with BoSox fans, and claim to be able to schmooze for hours and I’m golden. For my next trick, I shall attempt to keep all this up while my Beaver Men clobber the beeJaysus out the Red Sox. THAT’LL be a test.

      • 24missed - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        My golden boy. Most of those attempts to sway me your way have worked like a charm. Except the Hoff. Never did a thing for me. Just like a visual of a fantasy guy, hair waving in the wind and running on the beach with his dog. Still, that attempt semi-worked. Onto THE TEST. When the Red Sox crush your beloved birds, I will be there for you, as you have been there for me. I will hold your e-hand and show empathy and warmth, because the RS will smack your BJ’s (hmmm…) and show them no mercy. No need for a test. I will swaddle you with pity. See?

  5. racksie - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    As a left handed non-MLB pitcher, I completely disagree with bald people being the only minority people feel comfortable slamming. Unless you are in professional baseball, people will openly mock lefties.

    • bkarbour - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      Try being both left-handed, and chrome-domed. Worse, I learned to throw right handed, ending my chances of being the next Jesse Orosco.

      • racksie - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        You throw right handed? Then you, my friend, are not left handed. Sorry. Out of the club.

  6. fuggles7 - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I’m glad the Indians ended up with Jordan Bastian. I was never a big fan of his writing when he was covering the Blue Jays for

  7. foreverchipper10 - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Craig, you should just use the excuse that you grew taller than your hair. I plan on using that whenever that fateful day comes (hopefully not for another 40 years or so).

  8. randygnyc - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Craig, I’ve been critical of some of your opinions (specifically on Braun), but as readers, that’s our job. Please do yourself a favor and stop being critical of yourself in your reports. Self deprecating humor is fine in small quantities, but constantly referring to your own shortcomings is not being “self aware”, but rather, damaging to your persona. (act like you’ve been there before, even if you haven’t). It adds nothing to the story. New readers wouldnt notice your novice tendencies. You don’t need to inform them. Your creating a permanent record.

    Just some friendly advice.

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