Monday, October 22, 2007

Cleveland postmortem

Steve Silva/

In tones that can only be described as "exasperated," Dante asked, "Am I in the twilight zone?" With the Red Sox up 5-2 in the 8th, manager Terry Francona decided to leave Hideki Okajima in to start his third inning of work. Hmm... 5-2, 8th inning, pitcher being left in for too long in Game 7 of an ALCS... where have we seen this before?

Not this time, though. These Red Sox, unlike past kin, are unburdened by the pressure that comes from not winning a World Series in entire generations of fans' lifetimes. The score may not be indicative of how close the game was (did I not say the Red Sox would tack on a few runs late? Granted, I didn't expect so many...), but make no mistake, the Sox won definitively, and amid the dust clouds they kicked up a heartbroken city is left wondering, "Are we cursed?"

No, cursed isn't quite the right word, but the situation is unfortunate, certainly. (Imagine being Kenny Lofton, championship-less, having seen his team lose series 3-2, 4-3, 4-3 and 4-3 after being ahead 2-0 (with the Indians), 3-1 (Cubs), 3-0 (Yankees) and 3-1 (Indians again).) If it's any consolation -- and it isn't, I know -- a very deserving team won in one of the better Championship Series in recent memory.

Not much more to say at the moment, so I'll just leave off with this comment from "Yagur," which appears in the above link:

I'm also a Red Sox fan, and registered for this site just to say this to y'all:

Your city fielded a great team this year, and you supported them with heart and soul. Boston fans were taken aback by the spirit and noise and clamor we saw at the Jake, and wondered -- well, I wondered -- not only if we wouldn't be able to beat this team, but whether or not we deserved to. The 2007 Indians were the kind of team I love to root for -- young, over-performing, inventive, a team that found a dozen ways to beat you other than the dozen than you expected. Plus: Trot Nixon! For a while there, in comparison, our guys looked like a bunch of overpaid mercenaries who were getting distracted thinking about spending the winter in their mansions, and our fans seemed puzzled and dispirited by how your guys were just outclassing us between the lines...


  1. Having been at Game 4 at the Jake, I can say that I have never seen the place so alive (and I was at numerous playoff games during the 90s runs). The town is just so desperate for a championship, and it's so frustrating to continually come up short. It all adds up to Cleveland's belief that it will always finish 2nd, whether in sports or in anything else. A championship would mean so much more to Cleveland than just saying "We're the best in baseball." It would be a symbol to a decaying city that it can take on the big powers like New York, Boston or Chicago and come out on top. For my generation and my parents generation, that feeling has not been prevalent. Instead, we are left with a losers' complex. We wonder what will go wrong, not how will we succeed. Yesterday's events (known by some in Cleveland now as the Collapse or the Hold or simply as Skinner) add another chapter to Cleveland's sad tale of playing 2nd fiddle.

    My grandpa, now 83, said last week: "Just once more before I die." Sadly, I don't see it happening. And I pray that I'm not echoing those same sentiments in some 30-40 years.

  2. Really well said ... for the record, the Jake was rocking as loud as any stadium I've ever seen, and even in defeat, that image/memory should be one of the lasting impressions of this postseason -- not just for Cleveland but all of baseball.

    A lot of people discount home field advantage in baseball, but I think it actually really mattered this series. I've seen few teams get lifted by their home crowd quite like the Indians were -- if it weren't for Beckett, they would've clinched in five.

    Where am I going with this? A corny phrase like "Keep the faith," I guess. But sometimes the most obvious cliche should be heeded. Take heart: the Indians will be really good next year, since you have the core of the team returning, as far as I can tell, and never underestimate what getting oh-so-close can do for a franchise.

    I'll leave you with this post, from a guy at the blog Let's Go Tribe (

    Re: New Game Thread

    This might end real real ugly. But I'll be damned if I'm going to show them the disrespect of turning off the television.