The Cleveland Indians play their first postseason game since 2001, welcoming in the New York Yankees for Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They play the ungracious host, as a three-run first and a five-run fifth inning lead the way to an easy 12-3 victory.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 52 days
The number 52 has had a good run in Indians history, despite its late start appearing on the field.
Tuesday night, the National Basketball Association opens its 2017-18 regular season schedule as the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Boston Celtics in a game that has much more meaning than the usual opening night game.
The Cavs and Celtics have become rivals over the course of the last few years, with Cleveland knocking Boston out of the playoffs twice in the last three seasons. The two clubs went toe-to-toe in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, with the Cavs winning that series, four games to one, to send Cleveland to its third straight NBA Finals. As many remember, that trip did not end nearly as well as the previous season, when the Cavs gave the city of Cleveland its first championship since 1964 with the first title in franchise history, leaving the Indians as holders of the longest active championship drought in the city.
While the Cavs will begin their defense of three straight Eastern Conference titles, the game’s real emphasis will be on the return of star guard Kyrie Irving to Quicken Loans Arena, where the former first overall pick in 2011 spent the first six years of his NBA career in Cavs’ wine and gold before demanding a trade in the offseason. The Cavs front office honored that request, sending its second-best player to a rival club, but may have, possibly, become a more well-rounded club in the process. That remains to be seen, as the results will play out over the course of the largely meaningless 82-game NBA schedule over the next six months.
In 2007, CC Sabathia was on the mound for Cleveland in the postseason at the tail end of a Cy Young Award winning year for the Indians as he became the second Tribe pitcher to ever bring home the top pitching award of a season. Seven years later, Corey Kluber joined him on that short list when he became the fourth Indians hurler to be recognized as the American League’s top pitcher.
On Friday night, the two will square off from opposite sides in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Starting pitcher Cliff Lee takes home the American League Cy Young Award after his 22-3 season for the Indians in 2008. Cleveland has now won back-to-back Cys after ending a drought dating back to 1972.
The Indians lefty earned 24 …
The Cleveland Indians play their first postseason game since 2001, welcoming in the New York Yankees for Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They play the ungracious host, as a three-run first and a five-run fifth inning lead …
Kluber joined the ranks of recent Indians’ greats CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee as pitchers worthy of the highest acknowledgment of pitching prowess. Looking further back, he also joins Gaylord Perry in the club of Cleveland Indians pitchers to win Cy Young awards since the award’s inception in 1956. The Cy Young was originally given to the best pitcher in all of baseball, but is now given to the best pitcher in each respective league.
The then-27-year-old Sabathia’s fantastic efforts on the mound helped to lead the Indians deep into the playoffs in what was one of the club’s best opportunities to make and win a World Series. The devastating American League Championship Series collapse against the Terry Francona-led Boston Red Sox ended the dream prematurely.
When Sabathia was announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as the American League Cy Young winner on November 13th, 2007, it gave the team its first winner in 35 years, when Gaylord Perry took home the honor with a 24-6 record and a 1.92 ERA in 1972. Sabathia became just the second Indians pitcher to win the award since it was first established in 1956 in honor of the pitching legend Young, who spent 12 of his 22 years representing the city of Cleveland on the baseball diamond.
It’s a tale the Indians know all too well: a once dominant and promising team comes off a season of highs and enters into a season struggling to stay afloat. It’s happened this year, and it has happened before, all too recently.
Do you remember 2008? CC Sabathia was the reigning Cy Young Award winner and beginning his final contract year with the Indians under manager Eric Wedge. The Indians were coming off their playoff run of 2007 and, as the 2008 season got underway, the team was off to quite a rocky start. When they reached a record of 37-51, it became fairly obvious that the strong players on the roster, such as Sabathia, would not be sticking around much longer once their contracts were up. Mark Shapiro began the task of taking those stronger assets and selling them where he could in order to maximize their worth to the team. Sabathia was not performing up to expectations of seasons past, as he was 6-8 and posting a 3.83 ERA when he was traded in July of 2008 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
This week the DTTWLN staff is doing an in-depth look at the Cleveland Indians attendance. While everyone knows the Indians have an attendance problem, how they necessarily got to this point appears to be an explanation with many answers including play on the field, population and economic changes and improvements in technology. Regardless of the reasons, one thing is certain, the Indians have an attendance problem. This afternoon, we examine the tipping point in the current attendance decline.
Previous Stories This Week:
From the Perfect Storm to the Indians Attendance Disaster by Bob Toth
Times Have Changed While Indians Attendance Issues Have Worsened by Mike Brandyberry
Indians Attendance Issues Have Spanned Over 65 Years by Vince Guerrieri
In 1986, the Jacobs brothers were heralded as the latest people to save baseball in Cleveland.
The Indians’ grip on the town had been tenuous for the past 30 years, and seriously discussed leaving the city on several occasions. But in each instance, a change in ownership led to some stability in the team – but usually its own upheaval in the front office, leading to decades of mediocre baseball.