And if you think Shoppach was upset to hear about the doubts involving Byrd, how do you think he felt when it came to his attention that people also called into question his right to be in the lineup for that pivotal playoff game?
"I didn't know that either, obviously," Shoppach said. "But it is what it is. We've done it all year. Until you're out there battling with a man 31 times throughout a regular season, you can't fully know him. When they said Byrdie is going to pitch, I had no doubts that I was going to catch, and I had no doubts on what I needed to do to prepare myself to play and be successful."
He was plenty successful. Not only did Byrd turn in an outing that defied the doubters, Shoppach, in his postseason debut, came through with a pair of doubles and a run scored.
"Fortunately, I got a knock," Shoppach said, "and that makes everybody say it was worth it."
Shoppach still feels fortunate to be a part of this team. The AL Championship Series against the Red Sox will take him back to his Boston roots. He was a second-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and played four seasons in their Minor League system before playing nine big league games for them in '05.
In the winter before the '06 season, Shoppach was a piece of the seven-player deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston.
Returning to Fenway Park, as Shoppach has already done twice now with the Tribe, carries no special significance to him.
"At this point, it hasn't crossed my mind, until it's been brought up," said Shoppach, who has batted .571 with a homer in seven at-bats against his former club. "It's a playoff game. There's no personal incentives for me or any of us."
If anything, Shoppach has nothing but good feelings for the Red Sox.
"They did me a favor by trading me here," he said. "I don't have any doubts I'd still be in [Triple-A] Pawtucket if I was still with them. Instead, I'm in the playoffs with the Indians."
And he'll continue to get involved in the postseason action, as long as Byrd -- the Tribe's likely Game 4 starter -- keeps pitching.
"It would be a shock to me if he pitched again and I didn't play," Shoppach said. "If they take that away from me, what the heck do I have left?"
Eric Wedge knows that Yankees manager Joe Torre has a lot on his mind these days. Most notably, his job security.
That made what happened after Monday's Game 4 clincher all the more meaningful to Wedge. Torre took the time to make a call to the visiting manager's office to congratulate Wedge and wish him well in the ALCS. Wedge was in the clubhouse celebrating with his players, but as soon as he got the message, he rushed to call Torre back.
"For him to even think about calling over, much less taking the time, meant the world to me," Wedge said. "He's one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. What he's accomplished is historic and, more importantly, he's a great human being. For him to even throw one thought my way is pretty special. And for him to respect our club and organization, because it's coming from him, means so much."
Wedge has made his feelings on Torre's possible dismissal known.
"There's only a couple people I could say this about, but Joe Torre's one of them," Wedge said. "Joe Torre should manage as long as he wants to manage, because he's that good and has accomplished that much. That's about as plain as I could put it."
The Indians are contemplating making a change to their roster for the ALCS, but they haven't done so yet and they might not at all.
The club, to this point, has gone with 14 position players and 11 pitchers. Given the length of the seven-game ALCS, it's doubtful that they would scale back in the pitching department. If, however, they did, outfielder Ben Francisco is believed to be the next in line for a roster spot.
"Nothing is concrete until [Friday]," Wedge said. "But as of now, we're going with the same roster."
Friend turned foe:
Wedge doesn't seem overly concerned with the Red Sox having pitching coach John Farrell at their disposal in this series.
Farrell, of course, was the Indians' farm director for five years, until 2007. Therefore, he knows the Tribe's younger players inside and out.
"He doesn't know us as well as we know ourselves," Wedge said. "We have to work with what we know and what we're trying to do as a ballclub."
As anticipated, the Tribe will stick with its ALDS rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook and Byrd -- in that order -- for the first four games of the ALCS. Wedge said there are no absolutes, but for now, he is not considering starting Sabathia in Game 4 so that he would also be available to pitch a Game 7. ... The Indians' attempts to stage a workout at Jacobs Field on Wednesday were upstaged by the rain. The position players hit indoors, and the pitchers played catch on the field, but that was about all that could be pulled off before the team boarded its charter flight to Boston. The team will have a workout at Fenway Park on Thursday. ... Randy Marsh, a 26-year veteran umpire, will be the crew chief for the ALCS. His crew will feature Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman, Paul Emmel, Gary Cederstrom and Dana DeMuth.