COMMENTARY: I rode a roller coaster last Wednesday; an emotional one. Like me, you may have been on it, too. It was similar to the one we rode 19 years earlier during the fall of 1997. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m referring to the Cleveland Indian’s quest for baseball glory.
I rode a roller coaster last Wednesday; an emotional one. Like me, you may have been on it, too. It was similar to the one we rode 19 years earlier during the fall of 1997. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m referring to the Cleveland Indian’s quest for baseball glory.
Precisely, this ride started nine days earlier at Cleveland’s Progressive Field with victorious Cory Kluber taking us up the first incline before falling sharply the next day as the Cubs dropped us like a gross of rotten eggs.
Moving on to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the coaster climbed higher the next two games with magnificent Tribe victories, courtesy of Josh Tomlin and Kluber; even though they were laboring on three days rest instead of four. With a three to one game lead, it should have ended on Sunday, but no luck.
A day’s rest was all our boys of summer needed, we said. That, and a day or two of rain could go far in rejuvenating their pitching arms. After all, how can they continue to pitch 103 mph fastballs without proper rest?
Returning to Cleveland with a one game lead, the sixth game continued to tumble my spirits. But it was that last up and down game, that nearly did me in. My hopes dropped sharply when Chicago scored two in the first inning and then they climbed again as the Indians answered with a run in the second.
If only we could freeze their score, we’d have a good chance of winning a world championship for the first time in 68 years, I said to the family hound. She just blinked here eyes and returned to snoozing. Ace and Cy Young Award winner Cory Kluber took the mound in this deciding game. But three days rest between games proved not enough, not even for Kluber, and the Cubs struck with determination.
Midnight brought rains and a halt in the game. With the cloudburst, my hopes were slowly restored. If the umpires call the game and then continue it tomorrow, I thought as I stretch my reasoning, surely Tomlin could give us enough fresh pitching until we score.
Those thoughts accelerated my hopes up another steep incline until Chicago scored two more in the top of the 10th, sending me once again plummeting to the lowest level; possibly even lower than sea level.
But all was not lost, I told myself as my quest for a victory continued. We were playing at home and had last bats. Cleveland’s come back so many times this past season, even with an inside-the-ballpark, walk-off home run by rookie Tyler Naquin. Surely it’s not a stretch to believe they can do it again. After all, this is Believeland isn’t it?
Down by two runs in the bottom of the tenth, my hopes once again grew when Brandon Guyer made it to first with a two out walk. Taking second put him in scoring position with Rajai Davis batting. It was Davis who tied the game with an eighth inning two run homer that gave the Tribe another chance.
A sharp single to right field sent Guyer home and now this thrice mended ol’ ticker of mine was pounding. The Buckeye state was about to shine until Michael Martinez hit a weak grounder to third and the toss to first dropped me once again to the depths of misery.
It may only be the third of November, and we still had a presidential election to get through, but my spirits were lifted when I realized what this team had gone through and still achieved. With numerous injuries to their pitching staff they reached the seventh game of the World Series. That was nothing short of miraculous.
My spirits rose even higher the next day after realizing spring training was only 105 days away.
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