Home Not-So-Sweet Home?

June 28, 1948

When the Cleveland Indians trot onto the field tomorrow afternoon at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, they might have a quiet calmness about them, something fans don’t see from their wig-wammers at home.

When the Tribe takes the field on the road, they are much more successful than when they trot out on the shores of Lake Erie. The 37-23 Indians, leaders of the American League, have built their record in a unique fashion. Cleveland is 21-7 on the road and just 16-16 at home.

Despite train travel, late nights and hotels, the Tribe seems to have much greater comfort and success on the road than they do at home. One theory to the Tribe’s home struggles is that Cleveland Stadium is symmetrical and lends no advantage to either right-handed or left-handed hitters. On the road, normally one side of the plate has an advantage that the Tribe can exploit.

Another theory is that the large crowds Cleveland has attracted at home might actually be affecting the team for the negative. For much of the season, the Cleveland faithful have been very guarded and reluctant to believe manager Lou Boudreau’s boys will remain in the race. Often the robust crowds riddle the team with boos for poor plays and sarcastic cheers. The Tribe has not been in serious contention since before the war, and the Indian-faithful are slow to believe that this is the season, despite their attendance in droves.

However, in the last home stretch, many of those boos had turned to cheers as the enthusiasm around the Indians has reached new heights in the season. The play on the home field did not improve though. Cleveland was just 6-9 in the most recent home stand.

To date, there is no plausible explanation to why the Tribe is so strong on the road and mediocre on the road.

Back on the road and closing in on the All-Star break, Cleveland will look to extend their lead in the standings. Boudreau will send his three Bobs to the mound in Detroit, hoping to utilize his hottest pitchers before traveling to St. Louis for the weekend. Bob Feller (6-8, 3.78) will pitch Tuesday afternoon, followed by Bob Lemon Wednesday night and Bob Muncrief Thursday afternoon.

Photo: cleveland.com

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