Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Thoughts on the Cleveland Indians' Loss to the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series

shortly before 1 am on November 3, 2016, the Cleveland Indians lost Game 7 to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings and therefore lost the World Series. this came after the Tribe was up, 3-1, in the series. alas, they could not manage to win one game out of the last three, or even one of their final two games at home. and i'm stunned.

i had such a sweet, heartfelt blog draft started (much like how a lot of real writers pre-write their stories) for if the Indians won the World Series, and i'm really sad that it's never going to see the light of day. so instead, i have written a blog with my thoughts on their losing the 2016 World Series, something i honestly did not consider a possibility. warning: i am a diehard Indians fan who's taking this loss hard, and this blog does contain some harsh, explicit remarks and potential knee-jerk reactions.

the 112th Fall Classic was met with a very intriguing matchup between two teams with the two longest championship droughts in Major League Baseball. the Cubs had last won the World Series in 1908 and the Indians last won in 1948--that's 108 years ago vs. 68 years ago. except now, the Indians are the biggest losers in baseball and their drought will officially extend to 69 years at the commencement of 2017.

Chicago, a 103 game winner in the regular season, was the
heavy favorite over Cleveland (94-67) in this series and the national media did not even try to hide that. (and if the Tribe didn't get any respect coming into this World Series, they likely never will now.) most people outside of Cleveland saw the Cubs as superiors because of their starting rotation and bats, and gave the Indians little chance with their depleted rotation and without their best hitter. thanks to the American League beating the National League in the 2016 All Star Game on July 12, however, the Indians had home field advantage in the series, which ended up meaning very little because Cubs fans flocked to Progressive Field in droves for all four games.

the Indians won Game 1 but lost Game 2 at home, and then went on to win Games 3 and 4 in Chicago before losing Game 5. when the Indians returned home for Game 6, they let their first of two chances to clinch slip away as the Cubs defeated them and tied the series at 3 wins a piece. at that point, Indians fans undoubtedly got nervous, thinking back to 19 years ago and fretfully recollecting what happened in 1997. and unfortunately, 2016 turned out to be eerily similar because the Indians once again lost the World Series after going to extra innings in Game 7 and consequently aligned themselves on the wrong side of history.

#thepartysover photo courtesy of Gus Chan via The Plain Dealer

this sucks. it really sucks. i'm not gonna lie. initially, i wasn't sure if the Indians would get out of the ALDS versus the Boston Red Sox. then when they did, i didn't know if they could win the ALCS versus the Toronto Blue Jays. then once they did that and made it to the World Series, i totally bought into the belief that we were gonna win the whole thing. just getting to the World Series seemed so improbable, especially without Michael Brantley's bat and starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. but once they did, i was sold. shit, after the Indians won their third game, i was already making plans to take a trip to Cleveland for the parade. and then they lost the last three games and completely let all the air out of my tires. i first couldn't believe they were even in the World Series, and then i couldn't believe they blew their lead and lost it. ain't that something.

let's flashback... it's 1997 again. the Indians are playing Game 7 in the World Series against the Florida Marlins. and they end up losing in extra innings, albeit not in their home ballpark. (although, i will point out later in this post that they practically did play this Game 7 on the road.) and we don't see the Tribe in another World Series until now, 2016, 19 years later. and now there's another Game 7 that goes to extras, this time at home, and the Indians still lose. that's one hell of a déjà vu, as will be my tears when i attempt sleep later on tonight.

now flashback again. it's 2007. the Indians have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS versus the Boston Red Sox. then they lose Game 5 (at home) and have to play two more games in Boston. and they lose both those games and blow their series lead and do not advance to the World Series. remember that? and guess who managed the BoSox then? yep, it was our very own Terry Francona! now let's come back to the present, in 2016. we had a 3-1 lead against the Chicago Cubs. we lost Game 5 in Chicago, but had two more games at home to try and beat them. except we lost Game 6, and then we lost Game 7 with our ace on the mound. how much more déjà vu can a Tribe fan take?!

but there are some differences between the 2007 series and this one. this time, we only had three starters in our rotation, one of whom suffered a deep cut to his finger in the middle of the ALCS and had gotten out of his normal off day routines for a bit. Francona opted to use Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Tomlin in the first three World Series games and then continue to ride those guys out until the end. i thought that was a bad call and i'll explain why.

Kluber in Game 4 i didn't mind, but i had no idea if that was going to be a successful strategy again in Game 7. (and it wasn't.) i really didn’t like the plan of Bauer pitching in Game 5 on short rest either, and his Game 2 performance did nothing to help his cause in my mind. (i recall thinking at the start of the playoffs, if we have to rely on Bauer as our #2 guy for the World Series, we might be in trouble. and so it turned out to be true.) i wanted Ryan Merritt to start with a prospective piggyback of Mike Clevinger and Danny Salazar. what i wouldn't give to have seen that go down. then we might have finished the Cubs off on their home turf and already had a parade in Cleveland. Tomlin in Game 6 didn’t bother me much, but i knew we were likely to lose that game because the Cubs had Jake Arrieta on the mound and we did not hit him well in Game 2.

so it was all gonna come down to Game 7. and Kluber just wasn't his usual self. you can't blame him, he did all he could. did anyone really expect him to pitch another gem on short rest for the second time in one series and third time overall in nine days? Tito was asking too much. hindsight is 20/20, but i'm sorry, i don't like how he managed Games 5-7 and i am upset at this moment and he's gonna be my scapegoat. (but it's okay, he can handle it.) you can't play seven games in a World Series and only use three starters and be confident that it's going to yield positive results.

and so we've lost and i am not taking it well. Cubs fans, on the other hand, are having a grand old time in Cleveland tonight. yes, in Cleveland. let me say that i'm so glad that while many Indians fans were unable to get tickets to their four World Series home games, Cubs fans like Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder, and John Cusack had the ability to use their celebrity status to come to every game in Cleveland and sit in some damn good seats. that shit just isn't fair.

and now that that has me riled up, let me keep going and talk more about Cubs fans in our house. i am not happy with the amount of Indians fans who actually had tickets to these home World Series games but chose to sell them online for a profit. the number of Cubs fans at Progressive Field made it almost feel like we played the whole series in Wrigley Field. more Indians fans went to the road game watch parties at our ballpark than the actual games. choosing money over supporting your team is something i could NEVER do nor will i ever. so while some of y'all are probably going to have very Merry Christmases with your extra cash, the rest of us who paid out the ass for tickets will likely be getting one new Indians t-shirt and calling it a holiday.

truthfully, i'm not sure if Clevelanders are really all that bothered about the Indians' loss because they already got a championship four months ago (which i don't fully understand because that doesn't help the Indians franchise in any way, shape, or form.) but for someone like myself and the people outside of Cleveland who (proudly) only like the Tribe and don't follow the city's other teams, this is devastating. i wasn't merely content that the Indians were there in the World Series, i wanted them to win it. i don't know how many people can commiserate with me tonight, but if you can, i feel you and i'm sorry. i've come to accept that i love a team that loses, and loses a lot. and i will continue to do so until the day i die. but this is hard. when you want something so bad and you think you're finally gonna get it and then you don't, man it's tough. but that's life. and sometimes life fuckin' sucks.

and even though the Indians' themselves may say differently, they have to be disappointed that they couldn't win a championship for a franchise that's been in a 68-year drought. i wanted it so bad for this team, because they deserved it. and it seemed like if any team was going to be able to win, oddly enough, it was gonna be this one. with a few minor tweaks, i think it could have been. dammit!

their season truly was a team effort. we all know the adversities they faced throughout the year with the various injuries and certain player suspensions. but every other player stepped up when called upon to do their job. the team chemistry was off the charts. there were no bad seeds in the bunch, they all got along and genuinely wanted to help make each other better players. everyone wanted to be there, even the injured players who easily could have stayed at home while recovering; no, they were around the team as much as possible.

these guys are a great group of hard-working players who are so unselfish and couldn't give two shits about personal accolades--you won't find any narcissistic, all eyes on me attention-whores here. these are SUCH good guys, i can't speak enough about that, who are modest, humble, and mature. anytime something went wrong, everyone took their own accountability and didn't place blame on anyone else. nobody quit when times got tough or demanded changes. they simply continued to go about their business with obvious dedication, tenacity, and resiliency.

these players have never taken their fans for granted. they never attacked the fans or put them down, not even when the seats weren't necessarily being filled on a nightly basis. instead of making critical or unfounded remarks to the media, the boys kept playing their hearts out for the fans who did show up.

this 2016 Indians team was a team everyone could get behind and support without any reservations. the motive was always the same--stay focused on the task and win a championship for the name on the front of the jersey. and that's just what they almost achieved.

they are good teammates, they are good friends, they are good husbands, they are good fathers, they are good sons, and they are good men with great character and they deserved to be crowned the World Series victors. they would have been a perfect representation of champions not only for the Indians franchise, but the city of Cleveland as well. and i'm sorry that they aren't.

if i'm looking for a silver lining, it would appear as though this team is built to win for years, and regardless of if we lose a few players (i'm assuming Mike Napoli is gone, since he turned out to be the new David Price of the playoffs #thepartysover), it's still gonna be good for years to come. just please don't let it be another 19 years before our next WS appearance. hopefully with a healthy Brantley, Carrasco, and Salazar back in 2017, we "should" be AL favorites to return to the World Series next season, but you never know how things will turn out.

maybe by the return of baseball in spring training 2017, i won't be so bitter and can finally come to appreciate what an amazing accomplishment this season was for the underdog Indians, because it really was. they weren't expected to win their division, let alone the ALDS and ALCS, yet they almost became World Champions. they were one only win away from the trophy. some day i will be more proud of that than hurt over their World Series loss. maybe that day could even slowly begin to come to fruition tomorrow, but it's not right now. and until then, i'm gonna wallow in my sorrows.

so let me end this the only way i know how... #hoynsiewasright lol kidding

thanks to an (unexpected) extra month of play, there's only 151 days remaining until Indians Opening Day! can't wait! the JUST ONE BEFORE I DIE rally cry continues!

tomorrow i will be posting a blog about Brantley's postseason, so check back for that, follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23, or look for the email alert in your inbox if you're subscribed to my list.

if anyone wants to leave any thoughts or comments about the series, expressions of anger, etc., feel free. and now this dejected Tribe fan is outta here.

No comments:

Post a Comment