As a fan of the Cleveland Indians, I can only say: Thank God for the woeful Cincinnati Reds! Now, let’s build on our little four-game drubbing of the little brothers to the south.
The Tribe has played a few inter-league games so far this year, but the blood-and-guts games really start tonight, when the Tribe squares off against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. I’m hoping that the Indians beat the snot out of the Cincinnati squad.
I’ve always disliked the Reds due to one incident: Pete Rose’s decision to bowl over the Indians’ Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game. Rose scored the winning run and added to his legend as a tough, all-out player, and in the process he wrecked Fosse’s shoulder. Fosse — who was my favorite player — was never the same again. I recognize that players will play to win, but I always thought Rose’s decision to smash into Fosse, rather than trying to slide, was a grandstand play that had no place in an all-star game.
I suppose Rose got his comeuppance when his gambling habits got him banned from baseball, but I still like to see the Tribe avenge Ray Fosse and spank the Redlegs whenever they play.
This year the games between the teams should be a pretty even match-up. The teams sport identical 32-27 records and are both in the thick of the races for the lead in their respective divisions. The all-time series is pretty even, too, with the Tribe leading 39-36. Let the Battle For Ohio begin!
The Tribe beat the Reds last night, 5-4, in what must have been a thrilling game. (I didn’t watch it, for reasons that have previously been discussed on the blog.)
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?
I think it’s time to end inter-league play.
I was sorry to read of the death of Sparky Anderson, the long-time Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers manager. I never rooted for the Reds or the Tigers — I have always been and will always be a Cleveland Indians fan — but it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that Sparky Anderson was a good manager and a good person.
Anderson managed The Big Red Machine during its glory days in the 1970s, and he was fabulously successful. The team won four pennants and back-to-back World Series crowns in 1975 and 1976. During those years the Reds had one of the greatest lineups in baseball history, and Anderson handled them — well, like a well-oiled machine. Although the Reds had incredibly talented players like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez, the team seemed free of the personality conflicts and antics that characterized other talented teams of the era, like the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. I think Sparky Anderson had a lot to do with that. Anderson then left the Reds and went on to manage the Detroit Tigers, whom he led to another World Series title in 1984.
Anderson had white hair throughout his managerial career, so he seemed like an ageless figure during his decades in the big leagues. I was surprised, and saddened, to read that he was only 76 at his death. He will be missed by baseball fans everywhere.