Posts By Jonathan Knight
Now that Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez have been tossed down the Columbus Chute, Tribe fans are likely scanning the rest of the roster the way your wife walks around the house in early spring: looking for things to fix.
If only they can find the weak links, many fans believe, the Indians can turn this season around and become the type of team we (or rather, Sports Illustrated) expected them to be.
But here’s the thing: while the Indians haven’t been good, they also haven’t underachieved.
Over the past few months, Did the Tribe Win Last Night? has been running a series of articles looking back at the 1995 Indians in conjunction with their 20th anniversary. The series is called “The Greatest Summer Ever” because, unless you’re one of those lucky Tribe fans that remembers 1954 or 1948, it was.
It’s a great series that’s only going to get better. But for as great as that summer was, you have to admit that summer doesn’t truly encapsulate the Cleveland Indians experience.
It’s easy to forget that not that long ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers – the newly crowned champions of the NBA’s Eastern Conference – were an embarrassment.
As late as mid-January – roughly the midpoint of the season – the Cavs were a wide-awake nightmare. Despite the return of LeBron James and the assembly of the most talented trio since Superman II, the Cavs were only marginally better than they were a year ago. A six-game losing streak dropped a moribund team that was supposed to lose only about 15 games all year to 19-20.
It appeared LeBron had lost his mojo, Kyrie Irving wasn’t hitting it off with LeBron, and new head coach David Blatt was being compared with Yakov Smirnoff.
So – elephant in the room – it would appear that the Indians aren’t going to win the World Series.
And it’s safe to assume that most of us blame this on Sports Illustrated.
Those voodoo-priest bastards just had to go and throw Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber on the cover and pick the Tribe to win the whole thing. But give SI credit – the juju they’ve got cooking in their black-curtained editorial offices works fast. Almost as fast as the last time they put the whammy on the Indians with an LSD-induced World Series prediction in 1987.
Let’s pause our panicky discussions about the dumpster fire the Tribe is making out of the season to talk about another flaming hot mess.
While America shook its collective head in wonder a week ago when the Baltimore Orioles played a game in an empty ballpark, we in Cleveland saw the haunting photos of barren Camden Yards and shuddered at the similarities to a typical night at Progressive Field.
This is meant not as a snarky jab, but rather to point out a rather gargantuan disappointment. For all the work the Indians did and the millions of dollars they spent improving their ballpark in the offseason, they still can’t get butts in the seats.
Now that the Cavaliers are back in the playoffs for the first time in five years, the majority of Cleveland’s sports focus will be on LeBron James & Company over the next few weeks (and/or months).
Of course, the Indians are used to being ignored. But the Cavs taking over center stage may not be a bad thing for the Tribe right now. Considering how anemic the Indians have looked thus far, it might actually be beneficial to have Cleveland turn its attention elsewhere while the Indians try to get their act together.
It’s a holiday in downtown Cleveland. The day we’ve been perpetually waiting for during that interminable winter that lasted about 37 years.
Weather permitting, as always, there will be baseball at Progressive Field this afternoon. And, with all sorts of new bells and whistles on the ballpark, it will perhaps be the most meaningful home opener since 1994.
But really, each home opener is meaningful. Sure, it’s just one game, and may not in any way forecast the season to come, but everything’s under a microscope in a way that it won’t be again until the playoffs (God willing).
You may want to double-check where the “Previous Channel” button is on your remote control.
While Monday night marks the symbolic return of spring for Indians fans, it also signifies the final chapter of winter, at least in sports terms. While the Indians toil with the Astros in Houston, the NCAA men’s basketball championship will be played simultaneously in Indianapolis – or for most of us, just a push of a remote control button away.
Well, they went and did it again.
Twenty-eight years after forecasting an “Indian Uprising” that resulted in a 101-loss dumpster fire, Sports Illustrated has once again picked an upstart Tribe team to emerge from the middle of the pack and win it all.
And they packaged this news in essentially the exact same wrapping paper: Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley grinning like mental patients from the cover, not unlike Cory Snyder and Joe Carter back in 1987.
Naturally, this is the time of year when baseball fans look ahead to the coming season and pinpoint things to watch for.
It’s also when many begin planning trips to the ballpark, which in recent years have more frequently dovetailed with the high points of a team’s promotional schedule.