Showing posts with label Cleveland Indians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleveland Indians. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I love the Indians more than ever now!

I blame global warming.

I just see no way how the Tribe does not win Game 7 of the 2016 World Series if it were 50 degrees, like it should be in Cleveland on Nov. 2.

Our pitching would win over the bats. It would be too cold to hit. We'd probably sneak by with a 2-1 victory.

Instead, it was a calm, warm 69-degree night throughout the game. The ball was carrying out, and the Cubs defeated the Tribe 8-7 in a 10-inning thriller in Game 7 of the World Series to overcome a 3-1 deficit and become world champs.

Unlike 1997, I am not curled up in a ball in my New York City apartment, weeping, after a cruel 11-inning loss in Game 7 to the godforsaken Florida Marlins. This time, I accept the fact that the Indians lost a 3-1 series lead, did not win the World Series and lost in extra innings in Game 7.

Of course, a lot will be made of god intervening with a 17-minute rain delay in between the ninth and 10th innings to take away the Tribe's momentum. Maybe God did intervene. But I contend that America's god — money — intervened more, and my Tribe deserves mad props for what it did.

The fact that my Tribe nearly won the World Series with a $98 million payroll against a team that has a $167 payroll makes me smile.

Major League Baseball is an uneven playing ground. The Tribe also beat the payroll of the $199 million Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. And we won the AL Central over the $199 million payroll of AL Central rival Detroit Tigers.

Turnabout is fair play. The Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the 2016 NBA Finals. The Indians gave up a 3-1 lead in the World Series. So be it.

In my lifetime, the Tribe is now 0-4 in World Series close-out games. The Tribe is also 0-2 in extra inning Game 7s during my life. But somehow, through it all, I feel that my love for the Tribe has only become more intense because of those facts and this season.

We're talking baseball. We're talking Tribe! ... I care deeply about my Cleveland Indians, and I am certain that fans in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles do not have a relationship that compares to mine with the Tribe.
I am not taking anything from the Chicago Cubs and their championship. Congratulations! You just ended a 108-year drought of winning the World Series. The Cubs deserve credit where credit is due. I have nothing against the Cubs.

But this is a story about the Cleveland Indians, love and what it means to follow a major-league team in a small market. This is something people in New York, Chicago and L.A. will never have. I highly doubt anyone's high school in those markets ever experienced having half of their high school walk to opening day and watch the opener. I did!

This World Series has only confirmed my love for the Tribe. There's something to be said to be always rooting for the underdog. That's called loyalty.

There's something to be said for listening or watching approximately 80 Tribe games per year, every year, even when you live in Los Angeles. That's called love of baseball, love of the Tribe and loyalty.

Thank you so much, Tom Hamilton, the voice of the Indians, for giving me another great year of love, hope and even a World Series! The Tribe made it to the seventh game of the World Series. We lost. But this was absolutely, 100 percent the best baseball season of my life.

Yeah, the Tribe lost, but I think it proved something. We are a lovable team, a lovable franchise, a lovable city. New York, Chicago and L.A. will never have what I have. You guys got the population and economics. We got the heart.

Thank you, Tribe. I love you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chief Wahoo has always been cursed!

Maybe Chief Wahoo has always been cursed!

It's interesting in my lifetime that I have changed my feelings and view of Chief Wahoo. The fact that I feel that way signals some sort of progress.

Back in 1995, I was a grad student at NYU, and I was approached to write an op-ed article defending Wahoo. I went with a tongue-in-chief thesis: "Wahoo should stay because Cleveland sports fans have gone through more pain than Native Americans."

Years later, I have readjusted my stance. Wahoo must go! ... But the good news is that the Cleveland Indians franchise also believes that fact, as do many fans, and Wahoo is being fazed out.

Look. The Tribe just blasted the Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. Game 2 is on tap tomorrow (weather permitting). Today is unchartered territory for me. It is the first time in my lifetime that the Cleveland Indians have led 1-0 in a World Series. (They lost the openers in 1995 and 1997.)
It also is the first time the Tribe has led 1-0 in a World Series since 1920, when the Indians beat the Brooklyn Robins 5-2 to win the World Series. That is no mistake! Back in 1920, the World Series was a 9-game series. Man, history is crazy. In that same year, women got the right to vote!

Wahoo, or the lack of Wahoo, may be the factor that will give the Tribe its first World Series since 1948. The reason I say this is that the red-skinned Chief Wahoo did not come into existence until 1951 — after the Indians actually won the World Series. From the beginning of the franchise in 1915 until 1947, no Native American-type of image was connected to the franchise.

When vanguard owner Bill Veeck owned the franchise, he created an Indian image and horrible mistake. From 1947 to 1951, the Tribe had a mascot that was this:
And while this mascot was in effect, the Tribe won Series in '48, so in a way, all was good back then.

But beware of 1951! That is when the red-skinned Wahoo we all know took charge. During the red-skinned Wahoo's reign, the Tribe has won zero World Series, and heartache lasted almost all of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

In 2013, the Tribe organization took a stand and made Chief Wahoo the secondary logo of the team. Excellent move! We're fazing out Wahoo! It would be too drastic simply to cut off the chief. Ohioans might go ape with such a drastic move.

All has been moving in the right direction. But that is why I am shocked to still see Wahoo on the hats of the Tribe during the 2016 playoffs. Why not just the letter C?

Look. All I'm saying is this: The Cleveland Indians have won zero series with red-skinned Chief Wahoo as the primary mascot from 1951-2013. Now, it's looking like a way better chance since that 62-year stretch. Coincidence?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Talent is a myth

What the hell is going on here?

My Tribe — the team that I follow religiously day in and day out — is one game away from the World Series.

Look. This does not necessarily mean the Tribe will win the World Series. But right now, I'm feeling major feelings of validation that have taken 43 years to obtain.

Maybe, just maybe, the Tribe has done it right all along. When it comes to baseball, what are the necessary ingredients to win? ... Now and for a long time, the answer has been a given — talent and payroll. But here we are again, not seeing those ingredients prevail.

When it comes to baseball — and life — I believe that desire, humility, team work and guile trump talent. Basically, I believe this: Talent is a myth.

Look. There is no doubt that LeBron James had immense talent when he was at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. He might very have well been the most talented high school basketball player ever.

However, that did not make LeBron into what he is today. Prep stars flame out repeatedly. LeBron didn't. He had the necessary work ethic, grit and desire to become the man that brought Cleveland its first championship in more than five decades.
It's not as if I am making this theory up out of thin air. It's out there, and I recommend the new book "Grit" by Angela Duckworth if you truly want to explore how the idea of talent hinders us as opposed to elevates us.

As I look at my own life, I realize that I went into writing, even though I typically had better test scores in math. It turns out I really loved writing, put 30,000 hours into it and become passable at it. It's not about talent. It's about where we put our time, understanding the big picture and accepting our own foibles.

Now, that's why I love this 2016 Tribe. They are not "supposed" to be here. They have the 22nd highest payroll of 30 teams. Six teams have double the payroll of their 25-man roster. Those are the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Cubs and Giants.

I believe money well spent is a better trait than simply spending money, and no doubt about it, I want the Indians to win it all, not only for my own connection to them, but because it would mean more than even the freakin' Cubbies winning it.

Francona matters. The use of the bullpen matters. Going to second on a ball in the dirt matters. That is more important than the Cubbies' freaking $176 million payroll.

When it comes to success, grit trumps talent. I'll tell you what. As hard as it pains me to admit it, the Tribe in the 1990s tried to do it on talent alone. It did not work.

Plus, our 1990s manager Mike Hargrove did things often because "that's how we always do it." Oh god. That was a recipe for pain and disaster.

 Right now, the Tribe is definitely in good hands with Tito Francona who knows how to adapt on a fly — even when his starting pitcher can not make it past the first inning!