Our Man in Center Field
The end of the season for the 2018 Cleveland Indians came far too quickly, but for those of us who watched the team all summer, we’d have been lying to ourselves if we said we expected a far different outcome. Sure, we thought, maybe the Indians would pull together some magic against the Astros and win a game or two, or maybe even steal the series. But it was tough to imagine that Indians team, with its leaky bullpen and inconsistent offense, getting past not only the Astros but the Yankees or Red Sox as well, not to mention whoever came out of the National League.
Wait for it
Previewing the 2019 Cleveland Indians
On September 30th of last year, the 2018 Cleveland Indians wrapped up their regular season. It never really felt like the 2018 Indians hit their stride. The bullpen was historically horrific, the offense was inconsistent and the team never reeled off a long, galvanizing winning streak like they had during the past two seasons. Still, the Tribe had cruised to their third straight division title. The AL Central, which consists of three rebuilding teams (the Tigers, White Sox and Royals), one underachieving team (the Twins), and the Indians, never really stood a chance.
A preview of the 2017 Cleveland Indians
After coming within a run of winning their first World Series in 68 years last season, it would have been understandable if the Indians’ front office mostly stood pat. Despite all that went wrong – Michael Brantley was effectively out for the season, two starting pitchers went down injured before the playoffs, and Indians’ catchers as a whole slashed an abysmal .185/.244/.320 for the season – the 2016 Indians were on the brink.
One for the ages
Revisiting Game 7 of the 2016 World Series
It’s an unseasonably warm November night in Cleveland, Ohio. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs, is into its second calendar day. The Indians and Cubs are the two most cursed franchises in baseball: the winner of this game sheds their curse forever; the loser adds another painful chapter. This game earned its place in history before the first pitch was even thrown, not only because of the teams involved and their baggage but because the way the Series had unfolded so far.
Wait till this year
A preview of the 2016 Cleveland Indians
If you were to analyze the 2015 Cleveland Indians season, you might as well divide the season into two parts: one part between Opening Day and June 13, 2015, and the second from June 14 through the end of the season. June 14 was the day Francisco Lindor made his Major League debut, and it’s stunning how different a team the Indians were after he made his debut. The biggest change was the defense, which bottomed out in May but got steadily better throughout the year as documented by this Grantland piece.
Once more, with feeling
A preview of the 2015 Cleveland Indians
Going into the 2015 season, the bad news for the Cleveland Indians is that the renovations to their 21-year old ballpark might not be complete by the home opener. It was a historically cold winter in northeast Ohio, and despite the conservative planning and scheduling and the best efforts of the construction crews, the renovations to Progressive Field fell a little behind and it might end up being too much ground to make up this late in the offseason.
The unexpected first half of the 2014 Cleveland Indians
The Indians opened the unofficial second half of their season last night with a comeback 9-3 win over the Tigers. The Indians started the second half at 47-47, and despite the fact that 47-47 is only .500 and only good enough for third place, I think I’m mostly relieved, if not pleasantly surprised, at what the Indians have managed to make of their season so far. The Tribe aren’t out of it by any means, and if they’re able to reverse some of the problems they’ve had in the first half, we’ll be well on our way to another October run.
Something to build on
A preview of the 2014 Cleveland Indians
This past Christmas, my parents gave me a board game called Ticket to Ride. The game begins with you choosing up to three route cards, which become your mission for the rest of the game: it becomes your job to build a network of railroads across the United States that fulfill each of your route cards. You can only build track between certain cities, and your opponents may be competing for similar sections of the same route.
Some skin in the game
A preview of the 2013 Cleveland Indians
Opening Day 2009, after a much more subdued offseason. This offseason was a lot more interesting. The Cleveland Indians, to say the least, had an atypical offseason. During most offseasons, Indians fans gaze wistfully and briefly through the toy store windows at high priced free agents who are being wooed by richer teams, before coming back to reality and settling for secondhand free agents who are longshots at best.
In defense of Chris Perez
Day 1 of the Lake Erie Baseball Odyssey
Progressive Field on May 17, 2012, where the Indians hosted the Mariners and a controversy began. Over the weekend starting May 17, 2012, I went to three different baseball games in three different cities featuring six different teams. There’s a story with all of them, and since my trip took me around the perimeter of Lake Erie, I made the three posts a series called the Lake Erie Baseball Odyssey.
The 600 club
Last night, Jim Thome clubbed his 600th career home run into the bullpen at Comerica Park. As he rounded first base, the man who has almost 100 more home runs with the Indians than any other Indian, the man who is tied for the all-time lead in walk off home runs, the owner of the 17th- and 34th-best career OPS and OBP, respectively, and the man with the eighth most home runs in baseball history, Jim Thome simply pumped his fist in the air and ran around the bases.