Being a Cleveland and Notre Dame sports fan (as I am) requires some blind optimism. I am usually as blindly optimistic about Cleveland and Notre Dame sports as any one person can get. In fact, I have been so blindly optimistic that in March I was telling people that I though Kyrie Irving would remain a Cavalier long-term amid reports that his “camp” said he wanted out and that LeBron James would return to the Cavaliers this summer, despite the fact that, at that time, there was no real indications to believe so. In 2012, with Alabama, Oregon, and Kansas State all undefeated and ahead of Notre Dame in the BCS rankings, I believe Notre Dame would somehow sneak into the title game. Thankfully, in these instances, my blind optimism and belief turned out to be correct.
Both the Browns and the Cavaliers have gone through major overhauls in their rosters that have the city and its fans reeling and looking forward to upcoming seasons—and presumably upcoming successes. Unfortunately, the team that is currently in season, the Indians, has not had quite the same amount of good luck.
After avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals today, the Cleveland Indians are currently 52-53, 7 games out of the race for the division behind the Detroit Tigers, and 3.5 games out of the race for the second Wild Card spot behind the Toronto Blue Jays. Although neither of those deficits are completely insurmountable (particularly the deficit in the Wild Card race), I personally cannot help but feel hopeless when it comes to the Indians’ playoff prospects.
Let me be clear, baseball is by no means my favorite sport. I very much am more interested in basketball and football. However, I love the Indians and love watching them play. Lately, however, the Indians have been unwatchable, even with the blind optimism I usually exhibit to the Cleveland sports I love.
Since going 96-66 in 2007, the Indians have had a winning record only once, going 92-70 and earning their way to a Wild Card berth last season before losing in a one game playoff. The Indians were supposed to build on the success of last season. Instead, once again, the Indians are playing mediocre, .500 baseball. Friday night’s game against the Royals sums up the Indians season thus far and perhaps paints a perfect picture as to why I feel hopeless in regards to the remainder of the season: Corey Kluber has a great individual performance ruined by a bloop double down the left field line and then a bizarre defensive blunder by Ryan Raburn allowed an unearned run to score. The inning after, the Indians loaded the bases with one out, only to have our All-Start outfielder, Michael Brantley, ground into an inning-ending double play. Later, after the Indians tied the game on a Yan Gomes single in the 9th inning, the Indians had a glimmer of hope to salvage the game and earn a win. This temporary hope was lost when they eventually lost the game in the 14th inning, summing up the Indians season.
Any time there has been a glimmer of hope or a winning streak, it has been met with disappointment and a crushing losing streak. The Indians have been unable to get on the same page all season and rarely can match quality pitching with timely hitting. They say the most agonizing place to be in sports is “in the middle.” Being good or being just plain bad is much easier to deal with as a fan base, in my opinion. I just hope that something propels the Indians in an upward direction before the end of the season, as it has been far too long since we have seen quality baseball in October in Cleveland. Like I say, however, this team has not given me much of a reason to be optimistic.
Follow me on twitter for more reactions on Cleveland sports and please feel free to tweet me your own thoughts and opinions. I would love to hear them! www.twitter.com/CST_BenB
(Image courtesy of rantsports.com)