CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta feels it is a little early to start monitoring the out-of-town scoreboard. The only problem is that sometimes it is impossibe to avoid seeing what other teams are up to in today's baseball stadiums.
"You just can't stop," Acta said. "I'm looking at Johnny Damon to see where he's positioning himself [in left field], and right behind him there's all the scores. Times have changed. The walls are no longer just green-padded things. You can't stop looking at it."
Entering Friday's Interleague tilt with the Marlins, the Indians were 22-16 and held a four-game lead over the rival Tigers for first place in the American League Central. It is similar to last season, when Cleveland spent most of the year in first before Detroit's late-summer push to the top of the standings.
Acta did say he has enjoyed that watching the scoreboard actually pertains to his ballclub these days. After overseeing rebuilding efforts in both his time as the manager of the Nationals and the Indians, Acta has liked the change of fighting for a playoff spot over the past two seasons.
"In the situations that I have been in," Acta said, "six years working on rebuilding baseball teams, it's been fun for me, in the second half last year and now, that at least I can look at the other scores. In the past, it was about, 'OK, we might lose 95 games, but I need to get this kid better for next year.' It's gratifying that at least you're playing for something, whatever it is."
That said, Acta is not pointing to the Tigers' daily score to fire up his players.
"It's not like I went, 'Hey, they just lost. Let's go! Let's win it!'" said Acta, referring to Thursday's result for Detroit. "I'm thinking about that inside, but I didn't say it outloud. It's kind of too early to be using that as motivation. I'll save that for later."