It was a struggle — particularly in the ninth inning, which seemed like it would never end — but the Cleveland Indians have moved on to the American League Championship Series. The Tribe improbably swept the Boston Red Sox and now advance to play the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kudos to the Sox and David Ortiz for a great season and great career . . . but the Tribe is moving on. Let’s see if our secret weapon, by the name of Terry Francona, can carry the Tribe on to the World Series.
Go Tribe! Keep us from thinking about the presidential election a while longer!
The All-Star Game marks the unofficial midpoint of the baseball season. It is a good time to take stock of your favorite team.
Fans of the Cleveland Indians can look back at the first half of the 2011 season with pleasure. No one expected the Tribe to be in contention, yet the team has held first place in the American League for most of the season. Although a late stumble leaves the Tribe a half game behind Detroit at the All-Star break, every Indians fan has to admit that the team has exceeded expectations.
The success hasn’t come without a struggle. Asdrubal Cabrera, who leads the Indians in virtually every offensive category, has had a great season, but the team often has had to scratch and claw for runs and count on pitching and defense to pull them through — and the pitching and defense, for the most part, has done so. Starters Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin have pitched extremely well, and Carlos Carrasco had a stretch where he was close to unhittable. The bullpen has been reliable and closer Chris Perez already has notched 21 saves. The defense has been stout. And manager Manny Acta and his staff have done a good job of molding and motivating the team.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played, of course, and we could well see the 2011 edition of the Tribe fade into oblivion — or we could see the bats in the Wigwam heat up and keep the team in contention until the season’s end. It will make the second half of the season a lot more interesting than Cleveland fans had any right to expect.
I’m glad the Tribe won, of course, but the fact that they beat the Cincinnati Reds doesn’t mean anything to me. It was interesting and different when American League teams and National League teams started to play each other during the regular season years ago, but now it’s just another series.
The excitement of inter-league play is long since gone. The Tribe plays the Reds every year. Big deal! And that’s the “rivalry” series. The games against the other National League teams, with whom the Indians have no history or tradition, are even less interesting. The Tribe will play the Pittsburgh Pirates, the San Francisco Giants, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Colorado Rockies. At least the Giants are defending World Series champs — but other than that, who cares about these games?