- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP) - The downtown ballpark, pulsating at times this season like it hasn’t in years, suddenly filled with a familiar chant.

Manny Acta swears he didn’t hear it.

As the Indians’ second-year manager walked coolly back to the dugout after being ejected for arguing a close play that didn’t go his team’s way in the eighth inning against Boston, Acta’s eyes stayed fixed on the green grass under his cleats as Cleveland fans serenaded him.

“Man-ny, Man-ny,” they sang.

Acta joked that it was for a former Indians star, the Manny with dreadlocks.

“It could have been Manny Ramirez walking into the stadium right then,” he quipped. “There are a bunch of Mannys in this game.”

But in Cleveland, there’s only one Manny _ the manager of the best team in baseball.

While others shake and scratch their heads at the Indians’ early success, now a nearly two-month run fueled by remarkable starting pitching, solid defense, contributions by the entire lineup and a little luck despite a rash of key injuries, the 42-year-old Acta isn’t surprised at all.

He expected the Indians to win, demanded it of them, really, since the first day of training camp. They’re right where he figured they’d be.

But don’t think for a second that he’s satisfied.

“Everyone of these guys knows it’s a long season, you can never get satisfied,” he said. “There’s a long ways to go. We can’t be doing any jumping up and down. It’s pretty good right now, but I want to be 45-0. I’ve got a right to have expectations, right? As high and as improbable as that might sound.”

The Indians are winning, and a sizable chunk of the credit has to go to Acta.

“He has been doing an incredible job,” second baseman Orlando Cabrera said. “I have been really impressed with his attitude, the way he prepares himself. Before every series, he’s incredible. Oh my God, the attention to detail is unreal. He gets up early every morning and reads every single research paper and number they (the Indians’ front office) give to him.

“Not too many guys prepare themselves like that.”

Nothing seems out of reach for these Indians, who recently won 14 straight at home and have made walk-off wins so common at Progressive Field that the team could almost hype them along with their other game-night promotions.

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