Sheen shows up in Cleveland to lend a hand
CLEVELAND (AP) — Wild Thing wasn’t going to miss a Game 7 for the ages.
Actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in “Major League,” the iconic film about a sad-sack Cleveland Indians team finally finding success, was at the climactic game between the Indians and Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
With a push from fans on social media, Sheen had campaigned to throw out one of the ceremonial pitches before one of the four games in Cleveland. However, the Indians and Major League Baseball chose to go with former players to handle the duties.
Sheen’s character in the film is a glasses-wearing, hard-throwing, hard-living right-hander who doesn’t always find the strike zone. But once the fictional Indians figure out his eye problems he helps them reach the postseason.
Earlier in the day, Sheen tweeted: “FEAR NOT, “BELIEVE“LAND!! My bag is packed, and help is on the way!!”
The tweet included a photo of a bag containing glasses like those worn by the Vaughn character and a Jobu doll, which the character Pedro Cerrano believed could help him with his hitting.
Jim Thome, the team’s career home run leader, threw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Indians and Cubs met with one of the franchises finally ending a long championship drought.
Thome was a member of the last Cleveland team to play in the Series in 1997, when the Indians lost Game 7 to Florida. He has attended several games in this Series. Thome grew up in Illinois and rooted for the Cubs as a kid.
But his allegiance remains to the Indians, whom he played for from 1191-2002 and came back in 2011. The slugger hit 612 career homers — 337 during his time with Cleveland — and heás immortalized with a statue beyond the center-field wall.
Indians manager Terry Francona wasn’t punishing rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin by sitting him in Game 7.
Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall let a fly ball drop between them in the first inning of Game 6, a mistake that paved the way to Chicago’s 9-3 win over Cleveland.
Later, Naquin came up with the bases loaded in the fourth but struck out.
Francona said he feels Naquin is “pressing a little bit. During the regular season you might kind of let him get through it, but with one game left and with (Corey) Kluber pitching, we’re trying to put a premium on catching the ball.”
Rajai Davis will start in center against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks. With the prospect of facing lefties Aroldis Chapman and Jon Lester late in Game 7, Francona wanted to have the right-handed hitting Davis in the lineup.
“You can tell he’s pressing,” Francona said of Naquin, who is batting .143 in the Series. “It’s not punishment. It’s trying to win.”