2015: A Year for Tribe Patience
Laurel Wilder | On 01, Jan 2015
As the calendar flips to 2015, it’s officially the time of the clean slate and the blank page, and the every-exciting New Year’s resolution.
This season, let’s adopt a short and easy resolution when it comes to the Cleveland Indians: Patience.
One word. One concept.
As the new season grows closer, it’s essentially a new year with the same Tribe. Brandon Moss has been the major new addition to the squad, and the rest of the core players have remained relatively the same. Since the Indians aren’t going to be resolving to rebuild an entire team with a whole new roster, they need to resolve to better the roster they currently have and played with much of last year as much as they possibly can.
On a recent cab ride, our loquacious cabbie told us about his own version of New Year’s resolutions, where he picks on word to focus on throughout the year instead of choosing eight or nine individual resolutions to complete. Perhaps the Indians could take a leaf out of his book when it comes to their 2015 year — instead of deciding the Indians should resolve to improve their defense, should increase their bat power, or should, simply, resolve to bring more or better talent to Cleveland, the team should resolve to use what they have and focus on how those pieces work together to produce a better product on the field.
The Indians (and fans) could use a New Year’s reminder of a few words that could help with this year’s resolutions. All could resolve to use more patience with players, to not decide to attack their playing abilities their first week or two on the roster. As mentioned before, Moss is a prominent, new addition to the roster, and many fans are already disappointed that the Indians are not making more moves beyond just signing Moss. Moss will need to learn to fit in with a group of players that have played together for at least one season and will need to also get conditioned to a new ballpark and new set of fans. The team and those watching cannot get exhausted with Moss’s performance right away if he doesn’t live up to expectations. A resolution for patience could save a lot of griping early in the season.
Patience can also be had when it comes to young players moving through the system. Francisco Lindor will likely, hopefully, see the Major League stage at some point this season, though it likely won’t be during game 1 or even game 2. It needs to be understood that Lindor will make his appearance when he and the organization deem him ready. Too soon, and he’ll have the chance to be the Johnny Manziel of Cleveland baseball — a young, hyped-up talent who may not live up to expectations. With a little patience, Lindor will make his debut when the time is right, both for him as a player and the team as a whole.
There also needs to be patience with the seasons of players such as Jason Kipnis, who suffered fairly significant injuries that deterred much of their previous season. Patience is needed in deciding if these players are ready and able to perform up to their old standards, or if they need more time to heal and get back in the swing of play. It’s not saying that they’ll never find themselves back at their old level of play, it’s that they may just need more time to get there. It’s not easy to wait, but often, it’s necessary.
Fans also need to be patient with the front office. Yes, they are not always transparent and often seem to not listen to the fans at all. When it comes to trades, they often make moves that boggle fans’ minds and leave more questions marks than what was started with. However, at the end of the day, the front office staff should know what they’re doing, and fans should take a deep breath and have patience that their choices will make a difference. Last season was a breakout season for a number of players that was not previously expected, and by having patience with the decisions the front office had about those players, fans were able to watch those players grow. That’s not to say that fans should blindly agree with every decision the front office makes, but a bit of calm waiting is helpful before deciding that the decision made was truly awful or fairly decent.
And now, we patiently wait for the season to begin.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a championship baseball team in Cleveland will not be built in a season. After two above-.500 seasons, though, it’s clear that something is working in the organization. If the fans and players alike have a little patience with the choices being made around them, a payoff in the form of a playoff could be the light at the end of the waiting tunnel.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images