Not Your Big Market World Series
Craig Gifford | On 20, Oct 2011
This year’s World Series is one Cleveland Indians fans should have no problem getting into.
Tribe faithful should be be able to empathize with Rangers and Cardinals fans and see fellow fan bases, as well as players and coaches who have come up just short so many times over the years.
Unlike seasons where teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies or another major market has been in the Fall Classic, Indians fans should be able to see some similarities in their team’s history and that of the 2011 participants.
Let’s start with the Texas Rangers. If any team in the last 40 years can be seen as almost a mirror image of the Tribe, it is the Rangers. Through the 70s and 80s, just like Cleveland, Texas muddled through mostly down times, bad seasons and forgettable players.
Just as the Indians were starting to break out in the 90s, on the strength of a dominant batting line up, the Rangers were doing just the same. Much like the Indians, the Rangers were consistent playoff contenders in the late 90s with no World Series ring to show for it. The Indians teased their fans twice in the 90s with trips to the World Series that did not produce a grand finale to fine seasons. The Rangers did just that a season ago.
Indians fans can look at the Rangers and not see a team that has been there, done that many times in the past. The Rangers aren’t a team that goes out and scoops up every available free agent. Much of their success has come from home-grown talent, something else Tribe fans can relate to and appreciate. If any team can get sympathy cheers from Clevelanders, it is the Texas Rangers.
On the other side, the St. Louis Cardinals also don’t represent a nauseating team. Granted this is their third World Series appearance in a decade and they did just win it all in 2006. However, the Cardinals are not a team with the feel of a New York or Boston or Philadelphia. Take away Albert Pujols and St. Louis really has had little else in terms of true star power. Again, like the Indians, the Cardinals have had their success over the years with home grown players, shrewd trades and as underdogs.
The Cardinals rarely go into a season looked at as a heavy favorite to win a title, yet come out most years looking like a top-notch team. A lot of this can be credited to perhaps the team’s second most famous name, manager Tony LaRussa. Now that’s a guy Indians fans can emphasize with. LaRussa has lost three times in the World Series. Two of those times he was a heavy favorite (1988 and 1990 with A’s). He has seen great teams meet bitter ends, much like Cleveland has endured so many times over the years.
Whether you’re a fan who likes rooting for a team because they win with their own talent, have had bad luck over the years or just seem to be a bunch of good guys, the World Series has something for you. It certainly has a lot of things for Indians fans to cling to and have hope that someday soon their team can be in this same position.
Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images