Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Indians Are the 2017 AL Central Division Champions!

hey there, Tribe fans, i've got good news! the Minnesota Twins were eliminated from the AL Central Division race and so the Cleveland Indians are now the 2017 American League Central Division Champions! this is the second consecutive season that the Tribe won the division, as they clinched it on September 26 last year, and first time they've won the AL Central in back-to-back years since their dominant stretch from 1995-1999. it's also the club's third division title since 2007 and ninth title overall in franchise history! congratulations, fellas!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘Š

photo courtesy of @indians on instagram

on the afternoon of September 16, the Indians
defeated the Kansas City Royals in Game #149 of the campaign, which began at 4:10 pm. with 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning and the Tribe up, 8-4, Drew Butera hit Nick Goody's first pitch and sent a fly ball to right field. Jay Bruce made the catch to seal the win and the Indians' magic number was reduced down to 1. you can view that video from here.

the Twins, on the other hand, did not play their game until 7:10 pm. once they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2, just after 10 pm, that officially gave the Tribe the title. (if you'd like to see video of the final out in that game, click here.) unfortunately by that time though, the Indians and all their fans were looong gone from the ballpark, so nobody was around to commemorate the occasion. admittedly, that's an awfully unexciting way to win a division and, much like last season when they clinched on the road, they didn't get to celebrate on the field in front of their fans. some players did have a little gathering afterwards, however, according to Cody Allen, who revealed it to writer Paul Hoynes. but never fear because the Indians announced on twitter that they would raise the flag๐Ÿณ before the 1:10 pm finale contest versus the Royals the next day [on September 17] and then pop champagne๐Ÿพ in the clubhouse after the game.๐ŸŽ‰

and that's exactly what they did, starting with Terry Francona addressing the crowd prior to the game, followed by the 2017 AL Central Division Champions flag being raised behind the bullpens in center field. "the chance to clinch at home, in front of you, with you, is so meaningful," Tito professed.๐ŸŽค check out FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video for more.

photos courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

when the last out was recorded and the game was over, all the Indians congregated onto the field to high five, hug, and congratulate each other on their 3-2 victory, as can be seen in this video. then it was time for the real fun. everyone received their 2017 AL Central Champions t-shirts and hats, and most of the guys threw some shirts into the crowd. a brief video of the latter was provided by the Indians' twitter account.

photos courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer
photos courtesy of Dan Mendlik & Allison Farrand via TribeVibe

"it's awesome to do it here in front of your own fans, people that appreciate you more than anybody," Allen said on the field in an video. "we'll take it wherever we can get it, but to do it at home is a little more special."

shortly after, they moved the party into the clubhouse and everybody popped champagne bottles while cheering and chanting.๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

photos courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer
photos courtesy of Dan Mendlik & Allison Farrand via TribeVibe

as for Michael Brantley, he did not play in the [September 16] game that contributed to clinching the division. matter of fact, the poor guy was not even a part of the very recent historic 22-game win streak at all either because he's been on the 10-Day DL since August 9, and presently there's no end in sight. he did start running on the AlterG treadmill in the beginning of September, but he still cannot run unassisted on the field and it's unknown as to whether or not he'll get to play in any postseason games/series. that "mild" right ankle sprain does not seem to want to heal. nobody could have ever predicted this would be the case for Michael AGAIN and because of that, i feel so bad for him.๐Ÿ™

on the bright side, this time Michael was allowed to fully participate in the melee, as opposed to last year when he had to stay back to protect his shoulder and avoid the chaotic scene. but i was certainly concerned he might slip and fall on the wet locker room floor.๐Ÿ˜จ

photos courtesy of Dan Mendlik & Allison Farrand via TribeVibe

yes, that's Bradley Zimmer, who's fresh off surgery and nursing a broken bone in his left hand, about to get snuck up on and bathed in champagne by Brantley. but Zimmer got in the middle of things as well. he walked around with his beer and a plastic bag over his cast, equivalent to what Carlos Carrasco had to do a year ago, dumping beer๐Ÿบ on people and taking selfies๐Ÿ“ฑ with his teammates.

photos courtesy of Dan Mendlik & Allison Farrand via TribeVibe
photo courtesy of @benweinrib on twitter

as usual, Trevor Bauer had his GoPro recording all the action. click and download the InfieldChatter app to see everything he captured.

once the initial champagne showers subsided, some of the players were interviewed, and they all agreed how special it was to celebrate at home for a change. "it's nice to do it here," Corey Kluber remarked in Jordan Bastian's article. "last year, we didn't have a chance to share it with the fans at all, so it's nice. they have been so supportive of us all year. it's nice to share it with them and let them kind of celebrate with us."

"very happy, very happy," Francisco Lindor beamed when talking to SportsTime Ohio in-game reporter Andre Knott in a video on "this is fun. this is what we get to do every time we win and we're blessed that we are here. we're enjoying the ride, especially doing it with our family and our fans, it makes it a little more special."

newcomer Bruce spoke with STO announcer Matt Underwood about getting traded to Cleveland in an video, claiming to be "really, really thankful. i understand how hard it is to get to this position, and to be able to add to a team and join a team like this is just, i'm fortunate, man, because not a lot of people get to do this. i just want to help and i just want to be part of something that's bigger than me, like i said, and i wanna do this three more times."

Jason Kipnis was excited, too, but he expressed a more serious take on the situation than some of the others. "this is one of the stepping stones we wanted to get to," he declared in Bastian's article. "but we all know this isn't the end goal."

"it doesn't take 25 guys to get to this point," Josh Tomlin insisted. "it takes a whole organization. it's a whole team effort and a whole city. we're fortunate to have a good group of fans and the support of Cleveland, and that means a lot to us."

even with the guys inside the clubhouse, many fans remained in the ballpark outside. and those that did stay got to watch the children of several players' families take the field and run around the bases and the infield grass in their own alcohol-free fรชte, per Bastian and twitter videos from and Tom Withers.

currently, this team has 93 wins so far and there are still 12 games left to play. they're definitely on their way to blowing my 92-70 preseason prediction out of the water.๐Ÿ”ฎ

while it might be looking easy lately, i assure you, the Indians have dealt with a lot of adversity. they had numerous guys out with significant injuries for large portions of 2017.๐Ÿค• some of the key players who landed on the disabled list this season include Kipnis (three times), Lonnie Chisenhall (twice), Austin Jackson (twice), Kluber, Danny Salazar (twice), Brantley (twice), Tomlin, and Andrew Miller (twice). in addition, Zimmer, not formally placed on the DL because it's September, is on the shelf indefinitely right now. hell, even Tito missed a handful of games when he underwent a heart procedure in early July before the All Star Break. but it just goes to show that the depth on this team is incredible because when each of these players went down, another stepped up and got the job done. it's been a collective accomplishment all the way around.

so many guys have come up clutch in big game moments and are having amazing seasons. Kluber, despite missing a month with a lower back issue, is now the heavy favorite to win the AL Cy Young. Carrasco is looking like an ace this year. Bauer has developed into a reliable starter and Mike Clevinger just became the fourth pitcher in our rotation to accumulate 10 wins. (the other three already have at least 16!๐Ÿ˜ฒ) Lindor set a franchise record for Indians shortstops with his 30 home runs. first-time All Star Jose Ramirez is putting up career numbers and will be in AL MVP talks. Carlos Santana is having a tremendous second half and playing great defense at 1st base. Edwin Encarnacion has become the player everyone hoped he'd be when he was signed as a free agent over the offseason. Jackson has proven to be a highly underrated FA signing. Bruce was a phenomenal pick-up in August for this club. Giovanny Urshela finally returned to the majors and is flashing his outstanding defensive skills as a 3rd baseman again. Yandy Diaz worked on his swing down in Columbus to re-emerge as a more dangerous hitter. when he was healthy, Zimmer's speed and defense in center field were unbelievable. maybe more surprisingly, the two kids from Double A, Francisco Mejia and Greg Allen, have been a positive factor here, in high-pressure situations, no less, during their first taste of the big leagues. coming out of the bullpen, Allen has 27 saves. Bryan Shaw has now pitched in 70 or more games in each of his last five seasons. Tyler Olson still hasn't given up any runs in 24 appearances. the list goes on and i'm not going to name the entire roster, but the point is they are all providing real value when called upon and they're having fun doing it. the 2017 Cleveland Indians are the true epitome of a team in every sense of the word. we fans should all be extremely proud of this ballclub.๐Ÿ‘Œ

so congrats once again to the Tribe! if they can't win the World Series with this squad, well, then i don't know what else they're gonna have to do. everything seems to be clicking for these guys. i think this is, at long last, going to be the year that they win it all and end the 69-year championship drought! GO TRIBE!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ“ฃ

now i want to hear from you! what team would you prefer the Indians play in the American League Division Series and why? also, do you think the Tribe can make it back to the World Series and win it this time? let me know your predictions in the comment section below!๐Ÿ’ญ

for all the latest news and updates on Michael's ankle sprain and the progress he's making in his attempt to return before the end of the season, be sure to follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23. and if you'd like to receive notifications whenever i post new blogs, you can sign up for my subscription list by entering your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the right side of the page.๐Ÿ“ง 

editor's note: i initially posted this blog on the night of September 16 to publicize the division clinch immediately after it happened. then on September 17, i edited it to add in all the player quotes, celebration pictures, and video links.

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