Despite the loss, this was a game Cleveland needed

Tribe Pano Smaller

Tribe Pano Smaller

Last night’s Wild Card playoff was a game this city desperately needed. No, one game is most assuredly not “enough.” No, I’m not satisfied that the Indians peed down their leg with runners on base last night.1 All the same, last night was a game that this city needed and it was a game that the team needed. As I said yesterday, this city has been doing a lot of bickering and in-fighting over the years since LeBron James left town and took all of Cleveland’s playoff hopes with him. What was left was a lot of self-loathing, bitterness and negativity.2 It’s been wearing on this city’s fans and filtering to the players too. With those things in mind, I’m elated with the fact that Cleveland got at least one playoff game so the city could explode positively for a night.

It was absolutely electric, except that’s something everyone says. It was more than electric. The pride, excitement, and nearly palpable effort by Clevelanders last night to will their team to victory was everything we all remember as kids growing up with the 90’s Tribe. It was another taste for those of us in this age bracket, but it was even more important for so many people who hadn’t seen it before or were too young to remember. But that’s just the fans. It was also imperative for Cleveland Indians players to see it.

I’m genuinely sorry that Chris Perez got his first taste of the best of Cleveland Indians baseball fans in what will almost assuredly be his last game wearing the uniform. Perez became the whipping boy for Cleveland Indians fans because he called them out. I didn’t necessarily agree with Perez all the time, but I understood where he was coming from in some cases. He followed that up later by calling out the ownership and front office, but by then it was too late in many fans’ minds. If Perez had only known what this fan-base could be like, it might have all gone much differently.

Remember that a 23-year-old Chris Perez showed up in Cleveland in the middle of 2009. That was pretty far removed from the magical 2007 run to the ALCS. Perez was traded to the Tribe on June 27th, 2009. For reference, Victor Martinez was traded at the end of the following month. Even if you consider that a good, smart trade, you have to admit it was probably the team’s rock bottom moment after the playoff run of 2007. I’m being redundant, but it is worth repeating. Chris Perez showed up just in time for the emotional valley of this era of the Cleveland Indians.

Yes, Perez made a lot of his own problems, but when you really think about it, he just had no way of knowing the true nature of this fan-base in his time here. There’s no need to pity a millionaire player, of course, but I wonder what his feelings of Cleveland Indians fans are after seeing how good it can actually be when they aren’t beaten into submission by sub-par seasons and unpopular trades with no pay-offs? I’ll stop there, because I don’t want this post to be negative.

Even though I’m a bit bummed out today, I’m not feeling negative about this team. They did a pretty extraordinary thing in the month of September. They gave themselves a chance to compete in the playoffs. More importantly, they gave us a chance to show ourselves and all the new faces in Cleveland just how good things can be in The Jake, or Progressive Field.

Maybe the next time when the media asks a new guy like Michael Bourn about attendance – despite the fact that through no fault of his own he has no historical perspective on it – there’ll be some player in the locker room who knows better. There’ll be someone who knows if they can make believers out of the fans, just how great the atmosphere will be.

And the reverse is also true. I can’t let the fans off the hook completely. This team showed you something. They showed you that they don’t have to fade down the stretch. They showed you that things might just be as different with Terry Francona manning the team as you might have ever hoped. They just might have shown that it’s safe to invest in those tickets beyond opening day in 2014 now that the front office is taking a different approach.

As always, we’ll have to wait and see. Just know that right now, I’m a bit down about the early playoff exit, but I’m not dejected about the Cleveland Indians and their future. They were bold this off-season and while it didn’t pay off in the ultimate prize, it was far from a failure. That’s wholly different than the way I felt after last year.

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Footnotes:

  1. I’ll leave the real recap work to the experts. []
  2. Some justified and some probably a bit over-the-top. []
  • nj0

    Agreed. I’d just rather chance the fates than pay Perez, a known commodity imo, $6M+. I think of all the parts of a roster, the bullpen is the one where it’s easiest to patch together something on the cheap. Obviously it’s not without risks, but if you’re trying to save money I think that’s where you do it.

  • Steve

    Right, which is why I was OK when they looked for a LH reliever last winter. It looked like they only really needed to fill one spot. But now that they have to fill three spots? You either have to be the best at spotting sticks, or adjust the strategy.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I agree and who knows maybe Pestano can work through whatever is troubling him. That could be huge.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I tried to but yea he’s still around lol.

  • nj0

    I’m not disagreeing, but Shaw, Rzep, Hill, and Allen all within the last year. Keep Smith and you’ve got two places to fill. Think we can do that.

  • nj0

    And I’m sure we have other young arms on the farm to try.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh a WFNYr wants to tango tell me have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

    I been dying to use that…finally…but seriously leave my Boston world alone it wasn’t bad enough with the dip sip lip whatever comment? We shall avenge Wahoo Nation and dine upon Rays starting Friday!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    CC Lee baby!

  • Steve

    Lee is the guy to watch, Guilmet could be useful, and I think Carrasco is about to get transitioned to a much better role for him, but I think going 1 for 3 in that group should be considered a success.

  • Steve

    Shaw was a pretty proven guy, and we had to give up a lot to get him (imagine Choo in RF instead of Stubbs this year . . . actually don’t). That’s the equivalent of paying Smith to me.

    Rzep and Hill were part of the scrap heap looking, we got one good guy from there. And Allen was one guy we got from the minors. Those were the successes, but we had to throw a lot of sticks to get those successes.

    If they can re-sign Smith (which may take all of that $6M we were discussing before), turn one guy in the minors, say Lee, into a useful piece, and find a scrapheap guy, that’s a lot right there, but that’s the minimum to put together a playoff pen.

  • Steve

    And after 06 and 08, yes, I’m going to consider the pen wildly more important than most.

  • nj0

    I have faith. And still think the easiest place to save money is the bullpen.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea I read the outrage over the three guys and could just think, good grief!

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I’m hoping Kazmir comes back on a slight discount. Hoping the Tribe finds some way to give Asdrubal a fresh start somewhere else and gets something in return. Hoping to upgrade 3b / DH. I don’t feel like I have a good view of what I want yet, exactly. I was certainly impressed with Chiz’ game yesterday, but it was just one game. Huge questions about his future as I’ve discussed on the podcast.

  • nj0

    I’m not one for outrage, but this sort of thing comes pretty close to deserving it imo.

    Redface? Really? You don’t have to be some commie-loving, PC liberal to see how wearing a costume with exaggerated racial characteristics should be frowned upon. It’s called good taste.

    What next? Blackface? Chinese slant-eye glasses? Jew hook-nose prosthetic?

  • Garry_Owen

    See, now I feel like the bad guy. I was just trying to be funny, in an anonymously mean way, about a character that was not supposed to have a real life, or personality, or feelings. Why’d you have to go an humanize it? Sheesh. Really makes it hard to be a heartless jackwagon, Craig.
    (But, looks like more Tootsie Rolls don’t get handed out than do, if you know what I mean . . . See, now I feel bad again. It’s not supposed to work that way!)

  • Steve

    I’m not sure you can get enough for Asdrubal after this season with only one year left on his deal to get a legit major league starter back. I think you’re pretty much stuck rolling the dice that he has a great walk year, which I’m ok with.

    Chisenhall has impressed me since coming back from the minors, I think he can be a useful piece, just not the all-star we hoped. Hopefully the fans can appreciate that, and not get on him like they got on Peralta, another guy who was decent, but didn’t live up to our hopes.

    As I said above, I think the pen is going to take quite a bit of effort, and require some of that money we want to spend elsewhere. The pen wasn’t great last year, and I think they’ll need it to be to help cover up some holes that will eventually show elsewhere in the roster. Spinning straw into gold there would be huge.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hey watch it I’m part liberal well part conservative too I guess what I’m saying is I’m bi! Wait, that’s not right. Damn you WFNY_DP your in my head, I’m off my game!

    Anyways my good grief applied to the attire as well as the outrage. I’d like to chalk it up to being a little carried away and since there were just three guys out of 45,000 plus I think we can do without the national outrage.

    Btw I’m of Italian descent I’m very irritated that you failed to include a WOP or Dago reference!

  • nj0

    My apologies, pizano. I wish people wouldn’t be focused on those three guys but on the larger issue of Wahoo. If what they did is wrong or in bad taste then I think Wahoo is too.

  • Steve

    Wish they would treat it like a streaker, don’t show it, don’t set a precedent that such idiocy will get you on TV.

  • Steve

    You know, obviously on top of wishing that Clevelanders wouldn’t do something so dumb.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Oh, the pen! Put me in for keeping Joe Smith. Other than that, I’ll trust the F.O. to find some pieces. They did well with Scrabble despite my reservations.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Get it right it’s PIASON! I guess I’m guilty ‘cuz I still dig the chief I just save the warpaint and feathers for my private life when I’m conducting raids on the settlers wives and daughters!

  • mgbode

    2 pass completions, FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nj0

    Sorry, my eye-talian is rusty. I’m polska through and through.

    If dressing up like your mascot is offensive or in bad taste, then it may be time to take a second and re-evaluate. Just my opinion.

  • nj0

    I just remember one game where Dawson kicked like five or six field goals. And, of course, his epic snow ball line drive. Like amongst most team, he was our series MVP the last decade.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    OH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEA!

  • mgbode

    No, this is the greatest game in the history of football:

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200910110buf.htm

    DA: 2/17 23yds 0TD 1INT

    AND THE WIN!!!!

    Bills have almost 7X passing yards and lost. This may have happened before in the NFL, but I would be shocked if it has happened in another game since 1960.

    This is also the game I can happily reference anytime that someone mentions that all that matters is a QB “wins the game”

  • nj0

    I believe I made a post last year either here or at Cleveland Frowns detailing some of the ugly, remarkable play that has transpired during the Browns/Bills rivalry.

    Not sure if they were gems or eggs, but they’re fun to consider (but usually not watch).

  • Jason Hurley

    Garry_Owen – super-villain of WFNY.

  • Garry_Owen

    Mwa haa haaaa!

  • nj0

    *head shake*