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.
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!
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