Wedge pleased with club's leadership

Wedge pleased with club's leadership

TAMPA, Fla. -- One thing the Indians don't expect to lead the league in this season is meetings.

Back in the days before clubhouse leaders emerged, a division title was won and roster stability was par for the course, that wasn't the case.

"We led the world in meetings in '03," manager Eric Wedge said of his rookie season at the helm. "We needed it."

Wedge is happy with the way his players have generally learned to police themselves. Toward the end of '06 and into '07, guys like C.C. Sabathia and Victor Martinez, taking a cue from hired veterans such as Kevin Millwood and Trot Nixon, stepped into more prominent leadership roles.

This has made life much easier for Wedge, the reigning American League Manager of the Year. And while public speaking is one of his strengths, it's not a tool he's needed to employ quite as much.

This topic came up on Sunday morning before the Indians' game against the Yankees at Legends Field, within the framework of a discussion about college basketball coaches and their pregame pep talks. Wedge doesn't see much use for such talks in baseball, though he does always give an address to rile the troops at the outset of spring camp.

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"Baseball's different than any other sport," Wedge said. "You play it every day. There's not too many 'rah rah' speeches involved. If I did that, they'd be burned out by the end of a month, and I'd be burned out right along with them. So I try to pick spots with it."

Wedge has been very pleased with the way his players have handled the positives and negatives of '07. He said they are not dwelling on their successes, nor are they treating '08 as a chance to take care of the unfinished business they left behind in Boston last fall. The focus, instead, is on the AL Central.

"Everybody understands the type of year we had last year," Wedge said. "To spend time thinking about it is not necessary. Our focus needs to be on this regular season."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.