2020 sucks. The pandemic has affected the vast majority of the world, whether mentally, physically, financially and/or emotionally. However, from this darkness that is this awful year, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This might be a blessing in disguise for the Cleveland Indians.
Baseball season has finally commenced, and it feels like things are somewhat becoming normal. However, it’s definitely a new normal. Face covering and masks being mandated, cardboard cut-outs are replacing fans at games, and now the baseball season is shortened to only sixty games. Furthermore, the MLB postseason is expanded to sixteen teams, with eight teams out of fifteen from the American & National League respectfully. This means over half of the entire MLB will make a playoff appearance this year. Will this newly expanded postseason be enforced from now on after 2020? It’s unsure, but this means that this year gives a strong chance to the Indians that they will make a playoff appearance and postseason run this year.
Destiny has reached her fateful hand to the 2020 Cleveland Indians. Francisco Lindor is at his last contractual year with the Tribe, unless the Dolans pull out the checkbook for the man, however unlikely that seems. The whole situation has a Michael Jordan “Last Dance” feel. The season being shrunk to sixty games means it is a sprint to the title, not the marathon that one hundred sixty-two games is usually. The roster is healthy, the team has its golden boy, Frankie, and the bullpen is promising, especially after Shane Bieber’s amazing fourteen strikeout opening day start. With Terry Francona at the helm, the Indians have one of the best managers in MLB history. He has always been a terrific leader and he can lead the team through ups and downs, especially a pandemic.
Given the shortened season and Lindor’s contract, it’s now or never. The opportunity is there to hit the ground running. There is a chance to take advantage of having sixty games and go on a run. The Tribe can make a statement that they are ready to win their first title since 1948, and nothing can stand in their way of achieving this feat, not even a pandemic. Last year, the Indians were 30-30 through sixty games, which will be more than enough to make the newly expanded postseason. Take, for instance, the 2019 World Series champions Washington Nationals were only 27-33 at the sixty game mark. No matter where Cleveland ends up on the playoff seeding, they can make a deep run in the postseason and beat any higher-ranked team. And with no fans in attendance, there is no true home-field advantage this year, except cardboard cut-outs and dubbed crowd noise.
2020 has not been kind to the world. 2020 has been a historically terrible year, and in the future, it’s a year that most will reminisce on and agree unanimously that it was probably the worse year ever. But, 2020 could become hopeful. 2020 could be a blessing in disguise. 2020 could bring the city of Cleveland a World Series title.