As the Cubs season has moved past us, I’ve continued to watch baseball. Sometimes thinking about what might have been, as I still think the Cubs were the one of the top two teams in the National League to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they would have found their way past the buzz saw that is the Colorado Rockies. Proving once again, that all you need to do is make the playoffs. After that, it’s anyone’s game. This year has proven tough, as I typically pull for the underdog, and this year’s final four can typically always be considered the underdog from year to year. Boston may be the only exception to that in recent history, but really with the Yankees in your division, you’re always going to be a second place team, if not by virtue of the standings.
My family has strong roots in Cleveland. My father and two uncles both attended John Carroll University, before it was even co-ed (hee hee). My one uncle moved back there after a short stint in Chicago, and now my cousins have laid down families there as well. Even my wife’s best friend from college and her husband live in the suburbs of Cleveland. We’re pretty connected to the city, and I typically hear my relatives of Ohio complaining that if it weren’t for Chicago, the Cleveland fans would have the worst teams to cheer for. I agree to a certain degree. I pulled for the Indians back in the nineties, I loved Matt Williams in his lone year with them in 1997. That team was stacked, with a young Brian Giles, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, David Justice, Sandy Alomar, and Omar Vizquel. After the Cubs, I root for the Indians, and I was let down again back in 1997. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. Then again, it’s still like rooting against the White Sox, right?
This year, I was treated to opening day tickets from a friend. It wasn’t to the Cubs, it was for the White Sox. I know, blasphemy! He’s a season ticket holder, and I never pass up free tickets, no matter who’s playing. That day was against the Cleveland Indians. There was no way I was passing that up! I sat there in silent joy, as the Indians beat up the Sox twelve to five, leaving the Sox faithful disheartened, and somewhat flummoxed at what they had just seen. Over a steak at the Chop House, my buddy and his two friends that tagged along, was certain it was an aberration. There was no way the Sox would look that bad all season. He was right, they didn’t, but they certainly didn’t look that good either. It was the Indians that impressed, and I’ve been secretly cheering them on the rest of season, as I do every year.
I’ve said before, that I have a man-crush on Eric Byrnes. That man-crush is only eclipsed by Grady Sizemore. I love watching him gracefully and effortlessly play outfield. If you haven’t watched and of the games, check him out. He makes baseball look easy. Not too shabby fora white guy. Then there’s Travis Hafner. Last summer, while visiting friends and family, we took in one of the Cubs and Indians’ games in Cleveland. We were introduced to Pronk. My cousin informed me he was brandished the nickname in the minors from being half prodigy-half donkey. I’m not sure what the heck that means, but after watching a ball reach the deepest part of the second deck, I was in love. He can flat out hit. Along with Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Garko, with veterans like Casey Blake and Kenny Lofton…..mmmm, Kenny Lofton, this team plays both small ball and the power game the way it should be. Which makes for fun baseball.
These Indians are rockers and I am too, So, Cleveland Rocks!