And just like that it was over.
The thing of it is, it was so unexpected, so improbable, so stunning that no one was prepared. This past fall it was a foregone conclusion that the Cleveland Indians were not only going to advance to the World Series, but also that they would win it. The pitchers were among the best in baseball. The team had won 22 straight, breaking an American League record. The fans were all in.
It was “our” year.
Maybe they peaked too soon. Maybe if it’s true that hitting is contagious, then not hitting is also. No matter what it was, it all came to a screeching halt and we are now plunged into what I call “the period of great sadness” when there is no baseball until spring.
This staggering loss doesn’t change my love of the Tribe. I’m just back to that old familiar “next year” attitude and no matter what, my husband and I will be there in the stands or in front of the television or tuned in on the radio. Even without the big prize, the Indians have given us much happiness and entertainment over the years that we have followed them.
We were there when Asdrubal Cabrera made an unassisted triple play. We were there when Jim Thome returned to the team amidst thunderous applause, only to dribble his first hit down the first base line. We all laughed at that, even Thome did! We were there the night the bugs came, creeping out the Yankees’ pitcher even though they didn’t bother the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. We were there when Naquin hit his in-the-park home run, causing an amazing walk-off victory.
And when we weren’t there, we were watching at home. That’s the way our summers go.
I still can’t believe we didn’t retain the base-stealing, homer-hitting Rajai after he almost saved us during the World Series in 2016. For years, I raged at the idea that they would trade Casey Blake, especially when Valbuena wasn’t exactly at the same level he now plays (for a different team, of course). It seemed like every time we were in a win-or-lose situation, they put Valbuena in and we lost. I would scream at the TV to no avail. I shed a small tear when I heard that Martinez cried when they traded him. I whooped with joy when I heard Jhonny was to be gone! I bought a drawer full of Sizemore T-shirts and jerseys, not so much because he was cute (which he was), but because we were at the game when he first went up to bat and his average was zero. Fortunately, he made up for that quickly, yet Goodwill ended up with that collection of shirts once he was out of baseball. I am now stocked with Brantley and Kipnis, but am longing to add to that with Lindor, Ramirez, and Zimmer, except in all actuality my drawer isn’t that big!
I only do baseball. I can’t deal with football, basketball, or hockey. While baseball gives me much joy, it also takes way too much out of me. I can’t take the pressure year round. It’s probably easier to be one of those fair weather fans who hang with the team only when they are winning, but that’s not me. I’m true blue. I’m hooked. I’m a fan win or lose and I love the Tribe for always making my summers.
Less than five months to go and it will all begin again and then maybe next year will be the one. Just maybe….
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to email@example.com.