At approximately 5:56 PM on the evening of Sunday, October 4th, the Cleveland Indians’ 2015 season expired. It passed peacefully after a moderate celebration of its life with a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox to complete a season-ending three-game sweep.
Cause of expiration was the technical completion of the 161st game, leaving the team shy one game from the complete 162-game schedule due to prior adverse conditions. Numerous other contributing factors led to the life span being abbreviated short of its initial projection.
The Tribe was afflicted throughout the season with a variety of ailments that caused the organization to fail to thrive at the level projected by experts.
It suffered extensively from the effects of old age. A variety of injuries and a general ineffectiveness from several parts of the club prevented the team from reaching its goals. In particular, pieces like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn did not function at or near a level to improve the roster. Yan Gomes was injured. The offense failed to work in tandem with other sections of the club, especially Corey Kluber. The bullpen struggled early and a lack of production from the likes of Carlos Santana, Brandon Moss, Jose Ramirez, and Lonnie Chisenhall caused the overall unit to suffer too many losses.
At the end of July and the beginning of August, some malfunctioning and unneeded segments of the club were removed. A transfusion of newer, younger blood had also taken place and the team was beginning to show signs of life. Giovanny Urshela and Francisco Lindor were transplanted onto the left side of the infield to replace Ramirez and Chisenhall. Cody Anderson stabilized the rotation. Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Cody Allen continued to carry the brunt of the work to make up for the minimal statistics provided by the offensive side of the team.
It appeared as though the Indians were turning a corner, improving enough to garner some positive attention from those watching. Parts continued to contribute, including some that had not offered much in the preceding months (i.e. Ramirez and Chisenhall), while others returned from health issues of their own (Josh Tomlin) to breathe more life into the organization.
In the end, however, the moves made in hopes of extending the life of the Cleveland Indians failed to grant it any additional days beyond the original October 4th expiration date.
The Indians simply ran out of time. When the club finally began to function as a fully operational unit, too many valuable opportunities had passed it by.
Toxicology findings for the team were negative; there may, however, have been slight increases in the quantity of adult beverages in the systems of those surrounding the club to help cope with the situation. Others may have sought out other forms of therapy not noted here.
While any final determinations may state that the club passed on Sunday, October 4th, there are those who would question the quality of life that the club had over the course of the six month observation period granted.
Uncertainties regarding the ability of the club to thrive in its environment in the American League Central Division as well as in the AL Wild Card race caused a lack of overall support from those who failed to see any chance at a revival. The team fared poorly in its natural environment of Progressive Field in Cleveland for much of the year, only showing some prospects in the final two months of the season.
Some may argue that the actual date of expiration should be April 10th, when the club lost its home opener and three more games that followed; June 28th, when the club was swept in three straight in Baltimore and had dropped seven of its last nine; or anywhere between July 23rd and July 28th when the club lost six straight at home and four in a row in a sweep by the Chicago White Sox.
Regardless, the team hung on for life a whole lot longer than many expected after the doom and gloom of a 7-14 April was over with.
The team leaves behind a legion of loyal fans who supported the team through the many ups and downs that came with their dedicated fandom over the course of the prior six months. A handful of those fans will likely mourn the loss for several months, especially when considering the other viable professional sports option presently available in the region.
Others will be grateful that the suffering is now over. All, hopefully, will be brought back in the fray come April 4th, 2016, just in time for the next incarnation of the Tribe.
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