Frankie's Fun: Lindor caps HR with somersault

July 11th, 2020

CLEVELAND -- Let the kids play, they say? No one has to tell twice.

In the Tribe’s intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night, Lindor took starter deep into the right-field seats. Just like a little kid stomps on first base when he gets down the line, Lindor jumped on third with both feet as he rounded the bases before doing a somersault-like tumble across home plate in celebration.

“Well, first off,” Clevinger said, “when I was walking across center field, I told him, ‘Hey, the only hittable fastball you’ll ever see off me is gonna be your first pitch of this AB.’ So he got in the box, he just looked at me and I was like, ‘It’s only one.’ And only someone like Frankie could do that still. It doesn’t matter, it’s still magical to see that happen ... He told me he was gonna hit it if I threw a fastball middle and he did it. So hats off to him, man. He’s special.”

There may not be fans in the stands, and teams across the league may only be limited to playing intrasquad games rather than typical exhibition matchups due to the COVID-19 guidelines, but that hasn’t hindered Lindor’s jovial spirit. In the team’s first scrimmage on Thursday, the Tribe’s All-Star shortstop continued the post-inning tradition of firing a ball into the stands after coming off the field and was caught dancing to Yu Chang’s walk-up song “Crank That (Soulja Boy).”

Earlier in the week, he pranked manager Terry Francona into thinking his manager was applying sanitizer to his hands, but instead supplied Francona with a spray form of pine tar to make Francona’s hands stick together.

“Everybody has their own opinions on the best way to be a baseball player, the best way to be a good baseball team,” Francona said after the joke. “I personally think that when guys are enjoying what they’re doing, and doing it the right way, that’s when you probably have the best chance for success.”

The fun competition continued into Lindor’s second at-bat against Clevinger on Friday. The Indians hurler threw a fastball on the inside of the plate and boasted a big grin when Lindor looked back out to the mound. When Lindor drew a walk, he jokingly yelled out, making sure Clevinger knew Lindor won the battle again.

“Me and Frankie take that matchup very seriously,” Clevinger said earlier this week, when asked what it’s like to face Lindor. “In my mind, I don’t think I’m seeing a better left-handed bat that I’m going to face this year. And I hope he feels the same way about me. So if you really want to get some reps in and get game-ready, that’s a matchup I take very seriously. He takes it seriously, too. We were both screaming out some explicit words here and there. It was a lot of fun.”

Even though Lindor won Round 1, Clevinger is excited for Round 2.

“Wait until this next go-around,” Clevinger said. “He better be on the other team again."