This is the first October since 2015 that Cleveland Indians fans don’t have October Baseball. The Tribe failed to land a Wild Card spot and ended the season much as it started…with disappointment. One factor that stings is that each of the four remaining teams has at least one former Tribe player on their roster.
Let’s start with Michael Brantley who, left Cleveland as a free agent, and headed the Houston Astros last offseason. Brantley was not only a fan-favorite, but he was also a leader in the clubhouse. After the Astros wiped the floor with the Tribe by sweeping them in the ALDS series last year, it’s tough to see Brantley wearing their uniform. However, he is such a class act – it’s also tough not to want to root for him to get a World Series win.
“Miller Time” was a popular chant that was heard in Progressive Field when former setup man Andrew Miller would take the mound.
Miller was dominant through much of his time with the Indians. He was also a free agent who last offseason signed with the St Louis Cardinals. During the Indians run to the World Series in 2016, Miller did not give up a single run in the postseason. His season with the Cardinals has been disappointing, but he has pitched well thus far in the postseason and brings veteran experience to the bullpen.
Another trade that pulled at the heart strings of Tribe fans was when catcher Yan Gomes was sent to the Washington Nationals.
He’s had a frustrating season sharing time behind the plate with a batting average of .223. Also, on the Nationals is shortstop Asdrúbal Cabrera, who played for the Indians from 2006-2014.
Last, the New York Yankees or better known as “the thorn in Cleveland’s side.” The pinstripes’ postseason roster houses three former Tribe players; Edwin Encarnacion, CC Sabathia and Gio Urshela. Slugger Encarnacion was the most recent of these players to wear an Indians uniform in 2018.
Urshela made his MLB debut with the Tribe but played sparingly with the team in 2017 and 2018. Sabathia also made his MLB debut with the Indians and played the first seven and a half seasons of his career at Progressive Field. He was integral in 2007 when he led the team to win the AL Central Division. Sabathia also won the Cy Young that year.
As Cleveland fans lick their wounds of not having the opportunity to root for their team this postseason, they do have the option of going a different route. They can choose a former player and root for them to advance to the World Series. Then as the longer winter approaches on the shores of Lake Erie….
There’s always next year…