It’s always nice to see when the Cleveland Indians have a packed house. Many of us can still remember the 455 straight times in happened during their hey-day in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
And for the Home Opener this season, there will be a full ballpark again, as seats for the Tribe’s first game at Progressive Field sold out in 15 minutes. Even though the Indians sell out every home opener (This will be the 22nd straight year), people are pointing to the speed that these tickets were snapped up this time around.
Now that fans have taken care for the first home game, as they have reliably done every year, what’s the story on the rest of the season’s home stands?
Well, that post-season didn’t last very long.
In what turned out to be a Wild Card game in which the entire top of the batting order forgot what got them to this point (i.e. hitting!), the Cleveland Indians bowed out of the playoffs, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays. Sadly, this continues a disturbing trend in which Ohio teams can’t get over the hump against Florida teams.
The saying goes it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Sure, the offensive performance put on by the Tribe was putrid, to put it mildly. But realistically, there are many of us who underestimated how this team was going to perform to even get to this point.
It bears repeating that the Indians are in the playoffs. Yes, it’s the newly-minted Wild Card slot in which they play one game for the chance to play in the American League Divisional Series. And it’s a possibility that this may very well be the last game of the season for the Tribe.
But, of course, the fans, diehard and casual, want to see this team in it for the long haul, through the ALDS, AL Championship Series and maybe even the World Series. One series at a time, though. The focus should rightfully be on their opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays.
I won’t lie. I, along with countless others across Northeast Ohio, have harbored a long-standing grudge with Larry and Paul Dolan, the owner and CEO of the Cleveland Indians, respectively. There were numerous time where we all chimed in on the “Little Fan Larry” quip and how we thought he was cheap.
And let’s not forget how many of us nearly blew our stacks when Paul said on dreary day in Cleveland that the Tribe wasn’t going to be a perennial contender. We’re sure that he gave reasons, but I don’t doubt we tuned it out and went about our ranting.
That statement, if memory serves correct, came after two years in which the Indians traded Cy Young Award winners. Back-to-back. It was the first time in the modern baseball era that this ever happened. Our rage clouded the fact that CC Sabathia was in the final year of his contract and there was no chance he’d resign or that Cliff Lee would also be equally unlikely to sign when his contract up up the subsequent year.
At the 2011 trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians decided their best way forward was not with first-round pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. With they, they decided to look to Colorado, where Ubaldo Jimenez had gotten off to a blistering start, winning 11 of 12 decisions to start the year.
Once he arrived in Cleveland, though, Indians fans spent two years wondering if they’d get either Good Ubaldo or Bad Ubaldo (also know as Ugh-Baldo, Eww-Baldo or other creative, less complimentary monikers). 2012 was the low point, where Bad Ubaldo showed up a lot; 17 times, in fact.
Should I explain what I’ve been doing for the, oh, last decade and a half?
Of course not. There’s too much going on right now.
First thing’s first, folks. You all know that Chris Perez is essentially done as the closer for the Cleveland Indians and, quite possibly, for the remainder of his career. That’s right. Pure Rage has turned into Pure Goo.