Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Last Post of Mourning

Then I swear we'll get things back to normal around here. Whatever that is.

I'm not sure this should have a special place in general TCE lore. Yes the Indians were up 3-1 and all they had to do was win one of their next three to advance to the World Series, but the series did go seven. And the odds of the Red Sox winning three in a row are about the same as the Indians winning three in a row - which they did. And let's not beat around the bush either: the Red Sox were a better team. True, they spent about $100 million on that better team, but that's neither here nor there.

Others are pulling their hair out for the obvious baserunning gaffe in game 7 where Kenny Lofton could have easily scored and tied the game at 3-3, but was inexplicably held up by third base coach Joel Skinner. While I'm not at all defending the play, some are suggesting that this would have so changed the trajectory of the game that the Indians wouldn't have gone on to give up 9 more runs. That's not true, the Indians were dead before the ship even sank on this one.

No, that's not what's bothersome about this collapse (lowercase). It's not that they lose three straight. It's not that they left a run off the board here and there. Here's what's bothersome: They got absolutely nothing from their best players. They managed to win three games despite not getting any production from their two best position players, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, and nothing from their two best pitchers, CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. If they had gotten even just one great performance or even a couple average ones, they could have won the series. And that's what was so awful to watch on Sunday night.

Believe it or not, I would have actually been - I don't know if "comfortable with" is the phrase I want - understanding (?) if the Indians went down getting "normal" performances from their best players. But instead, the Indians' four best players all simultaneously came down with a case of the jitters.
So while it's no shame losing to the Red Sox, those four individuals should be ashamed at their performance. The saving grace is that they'll surely get a chance to redeem themselves in the near future.


That's all I can write about this abysmal end to the 2007 Indians season, so I'll let the rest of the bloggers take it from here. Starting this week, we'll get back to our regular programming. And I do apologize for the shitty blogging the past couple weeks. I know you readers demand more than just Cleveland Indians updates.

Anyway, here's the best of what's out there on the Indians season end.

Steve Buffum.

I do not want to wax poetic on the nature of The Cleveland Experience, or to acknowledge the fickle essence of the short series. I want to give credit to the Red Sox, and I congratulate the Indians on a fine season, but I do not feel these things. I feel like my team, and I say my team intentionally, as if I have an organic attachment to them even while acknowledging logically and objectively that no such thing exists ... that my team was presented with an opportunity to succeed in a situation in which NONE of MY TEAMS has EVER SUCCEEDED ... never ... not once ... ever ... and not only did not succeed, but almost went out of their way to NOT succeed. And this is not simply a lamentation of opportunities missed or any sort of attribution of character (here I will be explicit and rational: the men who make up the Cleveland Indians were not weak or cowardly or otherwise deficient, but rather should be applauded for their fine play this season: I have this much perspective) or anything, but rather something that is hard to express. I wanted this championship. I wanted it very badly. It had nothing to do with me, and I still feel emotionally bereft. It isn't rational. It isn't reasonable. It is how I feel.

Brian McPeek

But she has come to understand that the season starts again every spring and that I'm still here every night where I'll always be. She's become a bit more hardened to the nature of the game and players coming and going. She's become very appreciative of the feeling that a ninth inning win can bring and in the value and the beauty of a well-turned double play. In short, she's become an educated and die-hard Indians fan.

And that's what makes last night's sudden death of a dream all the more difficult to take. Because those tears weren't from a child who had just lost a toy. Those were the tears of a true-blue Indians fan mourning a lost opportunity and a chance to share greatness in some small way. And while it was difficult to try and explain to her the concept of perspective while she was wearing the jersey of the Indians catcher who was crying in his own dugout, I did my best.

And I promised her tickets to Opening Day 2008.

Because that's what we do here in this city. That's who we are.

And I've raised a baseball fan. Those tears tell me there is victory in defeat.

Kissing Suzy Kolber

Boston fans fail to grasp a standard rule of sports fandom, which is: Any team that wins a title that is not your team is fucking annoying. It doesn’t matter how the other team won. They’re not YOUR team, so they can eat a fat dick. Fuck this “appreciating” other teams shit. Normal fans don’t do that. At least Cowboy and Yankee fans have a solid understanding of just why people can’t fucking stand them.

Gary Benz

This is a young Indians team that needed its leaders to step up when things seemed darkest. It's hard to gauge, but the failures of these two could linger well into next season. Look what's happened to Alex Rodriguez. Even if the Indians make the playoffs next year, the story line will focus on Sabathia and Hafner and their 2007 failures. Can they handle that additional pressure? It's a question that will be asked until adequately answered on the field.

God Hates Cleveland Sports

The Indians turned not into a pumpkin but a tomato can in Game 7, as we took a punch in the stomach, a smack to the head, and an uncalled shot to the groin all in order. Down we go, crumpled in a heap, once again waiting for next year.

The Cleveland Sports Animal

This team was supposed to be the team of destiny. All year, they always seemed to come through in the biggest of spots. They brought the magic back to the Jake. They seemed to possess that un-quantifiable "grittiness". Maybe that isn't the right word, but oh well. Even tonight, it looked as if they were never going to give up. Westbrook was lucky to only give up 3 runs, and the Tribe was beginning to chip away. Then the Boston bats came back out against our best reliever. And that was that, the end to the 2007 season.


(note: here are my predictions way back in March. Check out how awesome I am. I nailed 7 of the 9 playoff teams (yes, I'm counting San Diego as a playoff team).)


Adam said...

I'm sorry Geoff. I'm sorry.

Kelly said...

my sadness has subsided. this reader is demanding more - lets get on with the good stuff. (regina spektor is going to be at stubbs - hmmm)

sk said...

you know Buffum lives in Austin, right?

gk said...

No I did not. We should totally hang out.

p.s. I promise. I will blog again.