AND BEING A CLEVELAND SPORTS FAN
Well I will now be officially boycotting the 2007 World Series. I am a die-hard baseball guy, and I will flat out refuse to watch a single pitch. I played baseball from the time I was six years old, all the way up to winning a MAC Championship with Bowling Green State University. I coach baseball at Amherst Steele, and umpire five days a week in the summer. My father had his book on coaching high school baseball published, and when I watch games on TV, not just the Indians, I study every aspect of the game, from the coaching points, to the pitcher's and hitter's approaches, to the different umpires. All that baseball running through my veins, and I will not watch a single pitch thrown the rest of 2007. And it really has nothing to do with the fact that the Indians were just blown out of Boston, dropping three straight to end their remarkable season, (although that does play a small role in it). I absolutely can not stand it that the media does not think good baseball exists outside of Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.
Throughout the ALDS, against the Yankees, even though the Tribe prevailed three games to one, you would never have known it as a casual Sportscenter viewer. If you happened to tune in five minutes late, all you would have figured out was that New York lost. No mention of how good the Indians played to beat the $200 million pay roll, or even that it was Cleveland that upended them. Just that the Yankees lost. Cleveland didn't win, New York lost. It's not what the Indians did to beat the Yankees; it was what the Yankees did to lose to the Indians.
And you got the feeling, especially through the first four games of the ALCS, against Boston, that it was much of this same coverage. It wasn't that the Indians hitters were putting together good at bats, and the Indians pitchers, especially their bullpen were making great pitches to retire Red Sock after Red Sock. The story was how bad Boston was playing.
Watching Game 7 was more of the same. During the pre-game there was no mention of how the Indians acquired the 3-1 series lead, just what Boston had done to tie it up and force this deciding game. Six times before the end of the third inning was talk about the 2004 3-0 comeback against New York. Numerous times Tim McGarver referenced Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter excerpts. Why? New York was not playing. And you really got the sense that during the game McGarver and Joe Buck were almost rooting for the Red Sox. It was actually sickening. People in Denver should expect more of the same in the next week and a half. If the Red Sox lose game one, it will not be because the Rockies have been playing unbelievable ball and will have won 22 of 23. It will be that Boston did something to blow it, or choke. No credit was given to Cleveland, and I expect none to be given to Colorado.
Now to my thoughts on the actual game... I should note that from the moment I woke up this morning, I had zero hope that the Indians would win. Why would I? And if you did, you were fooling yourself. Come on, its CLEVELAND. Are we so quick to forget the following: Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble (I just threw up in my mouth a little), Art Model, Jordan over Ehlo, Jose Mesa and Tony Fernandez, The Indian's late season collapse in 2005, etc, etc, etc... We had no chance to win. We could've had the 11-2 lead Boston had going into the 9th inning, and I still would have been expecting the worst, (earlier this year when Phil Dawson was lining up for a game winning field goal attempt against Oakland, I had the same feeling, and of course I was right).
The Tribe showed signs of life, trailing 3-2, when Lofton reached second base on a Julio Lugo error with one out in the 7th inning. This was the only point in the game when I was on the edge of my seat hoping and expecting something good to happen. And it did. Almost. Franklin Guitierrez scorched a single down the left field line. It careened off the billboard and dribbled into an unoccupied shallow left field. Third base coach Joel Skinner inexcusably held Lofton at third base. The still speedy veteran would have undoubtedly scored, probably without a play at the plate. And in true Cleveland fashion, Casey Blake promptly followed with a 5-4-3 inning, and ultimately season ending double play. Chalk it up to the name of the city on the jersey. Some may argue that tying up the game at 3-3 would've have been a moot point, considering the Red Sox teeing off on the Indians bullpen in the final two innings. These people know nothing about the game. A tie game drastically changes the dynamic of every situation from there on out, so the transitive property would not apply.
Did the Indians deserve to win the series? To win in the post-season, you need your big guns to come up big in big situations. CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Rafael Perez, Grady Sizemore, and Travis Hafner were all downright putrid throughout the ALCS. They all had chances to put their stamp on a triumphant Cleveland victory, and all came up short.
”You can say what you want about the home plate umpires squeezing every Cleveland pitcher that stepped on the mound... As a matter of fact, I will be the first to say it: The home plate umpires squeezed every corner of the strike zone on the Indians' staff. I really believe that Bud Selig hatched a conspiracy to make sure that there was not 6 days without baseball being played, (if Cleveland would have closed out the series and won game five at home on Thursday). He informed the umpiring crew to do what they could to ensure that this series would go seven games. And they did. Just my beliefs, you can form your own opinion.”
The Indians probably didn't deserve to win the series. But they definitely could have. And I won't say that they choked, or that they blew it, or that they gave it away. The Indians simply had no chance to go to the World Series. They're from CLEVELAND. I am thoroughly convinced that if the Cavs, Indians or Browns ever win a World Championship, the earth will implode.
But because of this, we are, and will continue to be the best and most loyal fans on the face of the planet. We will continue to hope and pray and passionately cheer our teams on, no matter what heartache they cause us. We are the fans, that everytime ESPN replays the 1988 AFC Championship Game, even though we KNOW the outcome, watch to the bitter end, and think to ourselves, "He is not going to fumble this time. He is going to break that tackle and we are going to the Super Bowl." We are the fans that are patiently, or maybe not so patiently waiting for one of these teams to deliver us to the promised land. And when that day comes, and the earth begins to implode, it will be the Cleveland fans that refuse to let it. For nothing will be able to ruin the celebration on that day. That day, was just not today.
If you look on the bright side though, die-hard Cleveland fans, like myself, the Browns didn't lose today.
Rositano is a TMC NEWS Gold Card member and wanted to share some thoughts on the Tribe and being a Cleveland sports fan. Feel free to share your opinions by posting a comment.