During last weekend’s series with the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac broke MLB’s protocols by socializing with people outside of the team. The players also violated the team curfew Saturday night and Plesac was reprimanded immediately. He was not allowed to return to Cleveland with the team, instead he was driven back to the city.
Clevinger did not come forth with the information that he was also out with Plesac. He flew back with the team and once it came to light, Clevinger issued the following statement “I owe them better,” Clevinger said. “I now realize that by even exposing myself to just one person more than necessary, I am putting myself, my teammates, the guys I compete against, the umpires, the staff, the Indians organization as well as the game that I love at risk. There is no excuse for my actions, and I can only take responsibility and learn from my mistakes.”
Plesac had remained remorseful until Thursday when he posted a video to his Instagram account. The young pitcher made the video while driving and used the caption “Not an apology. Not a justification. The truth.” His over six-minute-long video included jabs at the press such as this “The media is terrible, man. They do some evil things to create stories and make things sound better and make things sound worse.” And Plesac also went on to say he felt his name was “dragged across the mud”
Tribe fans were not happy as there were hundreds of negative comments on Plesac’s post. They’re not the only ones with opinions on the two Cleveland pitcher’s violations. Fellow teammate Adam Plutko said that Plesac and Clevinger “hurt us bad” He told reporters after the loss to the Cubs “They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things they didn’t follow through on. It’s gonna be up to them. It really is. I’ll let them sit here and tell you how they’re gonna earn their trust back”
Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor also had some thoughts on the incident when he issued a statement:
“We have to sit back and look ourselves in the mirror. And it’s not about the person we see in the mirror. It’s about who’s behind you. The other people. It’s not about that one person. It’s about everybody around you: the family members, the coaching staff, Carlos Carrasco, all the players on teams that are high-risk. We’re in a time right now with COVID, with racism, with everything – this is a time to be selfless. This is when we have to sit back and understand this is not about one person specifically. It’s about everybody. It’s about your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbors. It’s not just you specifically.”
The Indian’s organization took the violations seriously and placed both Plesac and Clevinger on the restricted list. It was not mandatory, however team president Chris Antonetti told reporters he felt it “was appropriate.” After a team meeting on Friday, the pitchers were removed from the restricted list and sent to the Lake County’s training facility.
The Tribe’s offense that could be renamed “off”-ensive, has a collective batting average hovering under .200, which ranks last in all of baseball. The spark for the team has been their elite starting pitching performances. With the unrest in the clubhouse, coupled with the two starters missing games, it puts the Indians in a predicament. The season is short and every game counts. If the Indians are going to turn their season around, they need to do it quickly.
With Plutko and Lindor coming forward with leadership, perhaps the Clevinger/Plesac debacle can be in the rear-view mirror, and the focus can be shifted to winning games. 2020 has been a weird year for the sports world and for baseball fans it is great to have a season to watch. However, it’d be better for Cleveland to be in the news for winning versus breaking league rules. The next few weeks will tell if Plesac and Clevinger can earn the trust of their teammates back.