The Cleveland Indians’ 2011 season is ending — as have many such seasons — without a pennant or a playoff appearance. Yet still, there is cause for optimism.
The Tribe started the season like a house on fire. At one point early in the year, if I recall correctly, they were 15 games over .500 and well ahead in their division. Since then, however, injuries have hit the team hard, and the Tribe has struggled mightily. They now sit one game below .500, looking up as Detroit has clinched its playoff berth.
I applaud the Tigers, who played exceptionally well down the stretch to clinch a playoff berth. But I also must give credit to the Tribe. The Indians were a young team that dealt with injuries and stayed in the thick of the race until they wilted in September, with no consistent offense to sustain them. I don’t believe in moral victories, but I do believe that this is a team that has made considerable progress. Although the Tribe has ended the season with a whimper, and unfortunately not with a bang, there may yet be cause for optimism. In Cleveland, that is worth clinging to.