Follow the author: @Banjo_440
We’ve all heard the mantra, “Cleveland is a football town.” While that may hold true, we hold the Tribe very dear to our hearts.
The Cavs brought us our first title in 52 years. 52 years of agony, of heartache and disgust. Never, as a fan base, have we ever been so happy. A sense of relief came over the entire Northeast Ohio region.
Then the World Series rolled around.
Remember all of those 3-1 jokes? The Indians had that same choke hold on the Chicago Cubs — and blew it. One win away, one run away, one rain delay away from something that would mean so much to this city. A Cleveland Indians championship. Even though the Cavs brought us one just over four months earlier, something just did not feel right. You felt, in a way, incomplete.
This team has been so close so many times. 1995 against the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. 1997 against the then-Florida Marlins. All you need to say is Jose Mesa and everyone in this region still cringes to the cold, hard bone. 2007, yeah, another blown 3-1 lead. That was in the ALCS against Boston. A lineup, a rotation, that gave us our best shot at winning it all in 10 seasons. But the 2016 Fall Classic will forever rip at our hearts the most and leave us asking one simple question, with yet so many different meanings and answers — “What if?”
What if Brantley had been healthy? What if Carrasco never got injured? What if there wasn’t a rain delay? What if Game 7 wasn’t up to Michael Martinez?
We will never know the answers to any of those gut-wrenching questions. What we do know, however, is that this year’s team is even better than the one that surprised the entire sports world last season. Believe me, when I say, this is the year. It may only be three games, but wow. What a fun three games it has been. Glimpses of greatness have been flashed every time we have tuned in to this young season. And if this team does what we think it can, it will be a season that this city has longed for.
June was the most memorable moment in Cleveland sports history. No question. But an Indians championship? Nothing could ever top that.
Growing up, we all had an Indians cap with a big, red Wahoo on it. We wore that and our favorite player’s jersey every time we went out to the backyard to play catch with our dad. We all stood at a makeshift home plate holding a wooden Louisville Slugger. The scenario in that moment — Game 7 of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, 3-2 count. You hit a walk-off grand slam and the Cleveland Indians are World Series champions.
We love baseball. We love the Tribe. An Indians championship would be absolute sublime. Something that would mean so much to Cleveland. Something you just can’t explain.
So while Cleveland may be a football town with a really, really good basketball team, we have an infatuation with the team that plays at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Follow the author: @Banjo_440
Image from ‘Waiting For Next Year’