Monday, October 03, 2005

"Choke" - Not just a novel by Chuck Palahniuk anymore, Tribe fans!

"Summer has come and passed. The innocent can never last. Wake me up when September ends..."

First of all, let me just this say this: Eric Wedge and the Cleveland Indians' corporate marketing team can spin this whatever way they want to (and will) - but this team choked when everything was on the line. It's just that simple. They had their destiny grasped firmly in their hands - until they dropped it like a fly ball to Grady Sizemore in centerfield.

Aaron Boone can't bunt - and the Indians "manufacture runs" like Yugo manufactures cars.

My autographed Ben Broussard ball sitting up on my mantle was beginning to BLEED this weekend after all the vulgarities being screamed at it by angry Tribe houseguests. Sorry, Ben, it was nice meeting you - you were a cool guy - but I have to wonder if you will be around in the spring (or deserve to be, quite frankly). Maybe I should have autographed a baseball for him... it would be worth about as much on eBay right now.

Yes, the Indians have "progressed" this year - but they only have gone from "choking" after being one game behind the Twins last year, to choking in the final week of the season this season. That's progress, huh-?

As much as I predicted the White Sox would choke, the Cleveland Indians turned around and collapsed even harder in the most embarrassing, inexcusable manner possible - let's not sugarcoat it, because that's exactly what happened this week - and everyone knows it. Ironic, huh-?

"I don't know much. But I do know talent when my producers tell me about it." - Krusty the Clown ("The Simpsons")

That being said, it was - and is - great to have an actual baseball team to cheer about again this summer in Cleveland! I cringe when I think about those damn Yankees and whiny "woe is me" Red Sox fans in the playoffs - no, FOX, not everyone wants to see that matchup in the postseason - there is life here in middle america, too.

This team is exciting to watch, talentwise. Travis Hafner is the new Thome. Grady Sizmore is the new Lofton. Victor Martinez is the new Sandy Alomar. Jhonny Peralta is - well, nobody will ever replace Omar Vizquel - but Peralta is as good as a replacement as you could hope for, I guess. And Coco Crisp-? Who is this crazy wildcard who came out of nowhere-??? Who cares, we're cuckoo for Coco Crisp here in Cleveland! And Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia are going to be a potent (and nasty) 1-2 pitching punch to beat.

I'm still not completely sold on Ronny Belliard - despite some amazing defensive plays. Kevin Millwood will most likely have his bags packed after Larry Dolan holds out his empty pockets like that Monopoly guy on the "Pay $15 poor tax" Community Chest card...

It's not guaranteed that this team will only get better, either. Bob Wickman may not return - and things change. This year was our shot at the postseason and The Cleveland Indians did not capitalize on it - but that's life here in The Plum ...sometimes it's the pits.

I choose not to sit and sulk in the Cleveland corner anymore - I had a chance to throw out the opening pitch at Jacob's Field this summer and those are the kind of memories I want to hang on to of the greatest moments of my life.

You can choose to do likewise, my friends. You can choose your own destiny, Cleveland, so which is it: Ziggy or Superman-?

So, thanks for a great baseball season, Indians, even it resulted in another bitter end. But it's not my bitter end, nor should it be yours...


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