First, there were the years with Manny and Jimmy, both now on the Dodgers.
Then came the years with C.C., Victor, “Raffy right” Betancourt, and Cliff Lee.
Now? Uh…um…well…65-97 leaves us fans with years of definite uncertainty. Everyone I built hopes on for our return to October glory left except for Grady Sizemore. With the Dolans in charge, the thought of Grady becoming one like Robin Yount or Tony Gwynn are highly doubtful. Where is this franchise going? I have no clear idea at the moment.
Still the thoughts of the teams remaining in the October fun give me players to choose to root for as the playoffs begin in about fifteen minutes.
Before I begin to comment about the players involved in October, one person asked me to comment about last week’s dismissal of then manager Eric Wedge. Personally, I loved the guy. I worked on occasion for the club and loved the fact that whenever Eric would greet you, he would talk to you and with you, not at you or down to you. To me, it appeared that I was someone important to Eric, even though we never talked past the occasional “Hello” or “Good Luck”. He always showed me respect and he shared this respect for his team, his players and his opponents. He respected the game of baseball and I will miss him.
Still I will not miss the slow April starts that the team showed under Eric in general and the lack of playoff appearances except in 2007. I remember the week I spent in Arizona so very well. I remember one game in particular when we sat right behind Eric and were upset throughout the game. There was a lack of urgency or effort on the Indians, or so it seemed. This was what I saw with Eric running the team, a lack of urgency to come out and win from the start. This was what I saw in Eric Wedge, a lack of urgency, excitement and it affected many of my friends and co-workers’ decisions to not attend games.
Now onto October.
Looking into October, I see several Indians players and one Indians division rival in the mix which should make these playoffs worth watching. I will try to comment about each matchup focusing on these players and teams.
First leading off, we have the Rockies and Rafael Betancourt against the Phillies and Cliff Lee. I really like how the Rockies fought back to earn the wildcard spot. However, as much as I don’t like the Phillies, I do love Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee gives a franchise so much hope. His leadership and presence on the mound are hard to write about in so many words. His leadership is so valuable. It does not surprise me why he leads off the NLDS series in Philly attempt to repeat last year’s success. Good luck Cliff! I like the Phillies in this series.
The Dodgers have Manny, Jim Thome and of recent Indians’ past, a man named Casey Blake while the Cardinals have Mark DeRosa. Two former third basemen for the Tribe. I love the matchup here. Where do I begin? So much to write about just about this series alone. We could start with the fact that Hall of Fame managers and players on on both these teams. (At least I think this to be the case) I like the Cards to edge out this series even if it is taken to the limit. Due to time deadlines I have set, I will end the talk here.
The Red Sox have Victor now. Boy I still am upset about this. He will go up against the Angels. I sure want Martinez to do well here. However one would believe the Angels would have enough to pull out this series. However, I have said this so much before and the Red Sox still pull it out. I want the Angels to win this series. Personal reasons. Sorry Vic!
Oh the Yankees and the money they spend for a man named C.C. I like to say these initials stand for “choke choke” I will be cheering for the Twins. After all, of all the former Indians, “Choke choke” is my least favorite. Perhaps it was the way he treated the fans when we asked for an autograph. He always acted so standoffish. After my experience with A-Rod in this same fashion, I can see why New York fits for C.C. Go Twins, be the David to their Goliath!
I may win, I may lose with these choices. However, I will definitely have fun watching while I steam about what the current owner had to let go in talent!
There have been many who have been concerned, e-mailing me, wondering why I have not responded in blog format about the Indians since July. I understand. My parents taught me if I had nothing good to say about someone, then I should not say anything at all. My anger has been intense toward the organization since the trades of Lee and then Martinez. After all, while so many want to move on from Cleveland, Martinez, at least it appeared wanted to stay here. Still the owner approved these moves to save payroll. He also said it will be hard to keep Sizemore here whom I always wanted to be a Robin Yount or Tony Gwynn-like figure staying with the organization throughout his career.
The back of my mind thinks that the owner wanted Sizemore to sit and see that we can still win without him, never mind that he needed surgery. Mr. Dolan, Grady is the best CF this organization has had since Kenny Lofton.
This season, it is hard to look forward to anything knowing this owner’s track record of threatening the fans to trade players away if we do not come to the games. I work them. I go to others. Times are tough, Mr. Dolan. You punish us, the fans when you traded away Mr. Lee and Mr. Martinez. Your loyalty to Shapiro and Wedge are mind-boggling. However, in the poorest city in America, with a badbaseball team, a worse football team, one can wonder what Mr. Dolan wants.
After all, he only hopes that we go to the playoffs once every five years and wishes we can make it to the World Series and win it at the next big opportunity. Well some of us dream big, some 61 years and some like myself, all our lives just to say Cleveland:World Champ. When you have World Cheap as an owner, things just do not look bright for 2010 and beyond. They look bleak and gray and cold like this late September evening where there is still an long shot to make 70 for a win total.
So will I write more? I’m sorry to redstatebluestate for letting them down. I will write more. I am still so mad at Dolan though for what he has done as an owner.
Tonight as I was watching the Yankees show power over the Rays, I was enjoying the fact that the Indians were off for the first time in about a month and enjoying the fact that the Indians were coming off a series win vs. the White Sox taking two out of three games due to fast balls thrown right over the heart of the plate leading to back to back homeruns twice in yesterday’s game and 8-4 win. The rookies on the team really shined with home runs from Luis Valbuena and Chris Gimenez followed by homeruns back to back from Victor Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo. What made it extra special was this offensive showcase was against Bartolo Colon, a former Tribe pitcher. These homers along with a defensive gem from Trevor Crowe helped the tribe shine to a series win.
Knowing the Royals are 1-9 in their last 10 games gives me confidence this series will also help our team overcome the odds, and come out on top. If we do then we should be out of the cellar. We shall see as our first adversary will be Brian Bannister. Good luck tomorrow, boys!
I just returned from the game after working at Progressive Field. Here were my overall observations.
Question off the cuff: Is it just me or does Trey Hillman look a lot like this fellow Royal?
I was very happy to see Victor get 4 hits in 5 at bats including what turned out to be the game winning homer in the 8th.
Also, Grady helped me as I picked him in the MLB.com Beat the Streak contest. For me lately, the contest is one called “Start a streak” He also helped me get a homerun and advance in the HR version of Beat the Streak.
The Indians won so my Survivor streak was lucky enough to increase to six games.
We tied a record for double plays in a game: 6 total in 6 consecutive innings. It was wonderful to see Aaron Laffey keep the ball down and only give up one run in 7 innings of work. He was like the calm water on a clear day.
Then came the 8th.
The 8th inning had our bullpen give up 4 runs to the Royals to cut the lead to 6-5. Thanks to that 6th consecutive double play stated by Jensen Lewis, the Tribe held the lead. Our bullpen is so far the reason I watch like the team is walking on eggshells.
Kerry Wood was firing it in there and holding the lead well until Coco Crisp hit a ball off the end of the bat that made it look more like a cue stick. This was followed by “I betcha can’t hit this up and in” answered by “Yes I Can” by David DeJesus. Luckily the lead was held onto 8-7. However, it was too close for comfort for me and while working I couldn’t turn the channel.
I was very happy to see them hold onto a lead and win. Hopefully, this will build up some momentum as the Tribe continues a 9 game homestand tomorrow. I’ll be working at the game again.
Mark DeRosa had another homer for the second day in a row. Grady matched Friday with another homerun. Asdrubal hit his own version of the Grand Slam. Shin Soo Choo hit a three run shot of his own, also
The Passion story, familiar to Christians throughout the world, tells about betrayal, denial, surrender, suffering, injustice, abandonment, loneliness, doubt, abuse, pain, jeering, silence, thirst, forgiveness, death, loss, trust, faith, hope love, and resurrection. I have experienced all of this and can imagine the team has too.
To follow Jesus is not easy. To follow the Indians is not easy either.
With the Indians at 0-4, there are a lot of feelings by fans I encounter and feelings I express at this time.
Betrayal– Let me be the first to say, I feel sorry for Travis “Pronk” Hafner, Shin Soo-Choo and Victor Martinez today. There has been a lot of offense, yet the pitching has let down the hitting early. What more of an effort can you ask for from these folks battling back to tie the score late 7-7 with homers throughout the game. Yet the pitchers turned around and gave the lead right back to the Jays. What in the world is going on here? How dare they? I feel like someone is to blame. Yet, like Christ, I say nothing.
Denial– I often want to deny the reality of the Indians woes and keep telling myself its early. Also I have wanted to deny that this team is bad. A third time I want to deny I am a fan and say perhaps I should just cheer on the Minor League players for the Tribe’s organization. Some fans I encounter want to deny they even know the Tribe and say “Go Cavs!” or “Go Browns!” This is after 4 games. But oh how the patterns make the 4 games look like 25 losses already!
Surrender– I have to surrender. I throw up my hands after thinking they had so much promise and realize they still do. With God’s help alone as well as hard work and dedication can we pull this off! However, I am too exhausted and need to let go. I’m tired of being so emotionally attached with every play.
Suffering-I am suffering with this 0-4 start and the painful thing is in seeing Roy Halladay tomorrow and reviewing Cliff Lee’s last outing wanting win #1 badly!
Injustice– Seeing how hard this team is working and still losing shows me that someone needs to take the blame. Yet, it doesn’t seem fair. Unlike Christ, the team seems to deserve the loss efforts they have so far.
Abandonment– I have fans abandoning this team so far. Its only 5 games. Yet they see Lee, the 2008 savior getting beat up physically, They see Pavano give up 9 uns in one inning. They see a former Buckeye give up a hard fought lead to the Jays and say who’s next! “Fahgettabout it”, this team sucks and is the ’08 Tigers” I disagree. I don’t want to give up but I see a big mess and wonder if I should just cash it in. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!
Loneliness– I feel at times like the only fan in the building I work in. What loneliness!
Doubt– The feeling is here already by frontrunner fans in this town to give up. With every fan, each day brings more and more doubt!
Abuse– I am tired of all of the abuse I am taking as a fan lately yet until the results change, I will have to accept this. Imagine how the players feel with all the press. Some don’t deserve this.
Pain– see above
Jeering– try sticking up for this team and getting ridiculed by the people in this town who always see Cleveland in a negative light…never winning anything, ever! People jeered Jesus and wondered why he could not save himself.
Silence-Its so easy to not have anything to say and give up, then where would this blog be?
Thirst– I still thirst for a World Championship since 1948.
Forgiveness– Effort and winning will forgive any team’s misfortune any year!
Death– I must put to death these selfish self-centered attitudes I have the rest of the season no matter what occurs.
Loss– I am at a loss for words other than losses at 0-4 and counting.
Trust– I must regain and put my trust in God to straighten out this mess, not this blog or the Indians themselves.
Faith– I must increase my faith in God to make this season improve that God will bring good out of the bad each and every time this season.
Hope– I hope eternally for the Indians to finally win and improve for the better.
Love– I love this team a lot but I should love God more.
Resurrection- Here is hoping that through this year, the Tribe will become elite. All we need are wins and a true miracle from God to bring life out of this deadly start by the Tribe.
Here is hoping all readers can relate to something about their teams here and perhaps God and/or their own life. Let me know your thoughts so far. Happy Easter to all Christians and Happy Passover to all Jewish people. Happy Spring to all secularists.
One thing I realize is that the Cleveland Indians seem to do better when the spotlight or expectation is off them. Today for example, the talk was all about “the reigning Cy Young” taking the mound today. Last year when Cliff took the mound, Cliff Lee was an afterthought. No one seemed to care whom he was. Yet today the promise of a winner began with him. This is understood and expected and comes with the territory of a Cy Young.
One thing I admired about Cliff was what I heard. I analyzed the game that was played Monday afternoon in Arlington. I saw that when Cliff was hit in the forearm on a “come backer” off of Hank Blalock that the mental edge was not there. After that, He seemed to keep the ball up. He wasn’t exhaling right before the pitch was thrown like last year. He never appeared to be in a rhythm. As a result, the hits and runs kept coming. Yet when asked after the game, Cliff said this was not the reason he lost. He was not going to sulk and make excuses. Plain and simple, he did not have it this day. Chalk it up as a loss. We will get them next time.
The offense also seemed to be out of sorts trying to be timely with the big hit. Yet we didn’t seem to get the timely hit when we needed it with runners in scoring position. It looked ugly for us fans, yet the good thing is there is always Wednesday, a chance to regroup behind Fausto, which I believe we can do. The mental part of the game has to be sharper in order for us to pull off a win which I think we shall. Here is to looking forward and hoping for a win on Wednesday.
On a side note, I picked Victor Martinez who was able to get one of the Indians’ five hits and get me on the board for the Beat the Streak Contest. His final stats were 1-4 as he hit a single in his second at bat off Kevin Millwood to left field while batting left handed with Grady Sizemore on second driving him to third. Hopefully this “streak” will continue tomorrow.