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The Indians lost in the World Series, and I don’t feel like I thought I would

This feels different than I thought it would.

Without any context, if you would have told me at the beginning of the year the Indians would lose in extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series, this is not how I would have imagined I’d feel.

You think about all those pictures and memes of losing teams fans with their heads in their hands, tears in their eyes. Staring out into the abyss, trying to process the heartbreak they just witnessed play out over an agonizing 4+ hours. Walking out of the stadium staring at the shoes they’re barely managing to drag across the ground.

We were going to lose the biggest event in our sport, a do-or-die Game 7, by 1 run, at home, in 10 innings? Basically the most soul crushing loss a professional baseball team can possibly endure? That was gonna be us?

Hello darkness, my old friend.

I will admit, I did some staring and dragging myself last night. Like rubbing your thigh after getting hit with a pitch, you know you’re not supposed to do it, but it helps with the pain and that’s all you care about in the moment.

Like it was queued up on a playlist, I was almost immediately surrounded by a raucus chorus of Go Cubs Go in the bleachers following the final out. I stood there a while and listened. And watched. And waited.

I wasn’t anything at that point. I wasn’t mad, sad, depressed, angry, anything. I was simply there, existing in my body, watching a team and a fanbase celebrate the most crushing defeat I can remember experiencing as a fan. I was waiting for that darkness that I expected I would feel.

Funny thing – it never came.

Of course I was sad we lost. If I could choose between winning and losing Game 7 of the World Series, I’d obviously pick the former. But I didn’t feel that crippling depression that I thought I would. It was a weird feeling of vindicaton, that we did the best we could with the hand we were dealt.

We were without two of our top three starting pitchers and our left fielder. We weren’t supposed to win the ALDS. We swept the Red Sox. We weren’t supposed to win the ALCS. We did, on the shoulders of a 24-year-old rookie pitcher with 11 major league innings under his belt. We weren’t supposed to compete with the Cubs. We went up 3-1 and won two games at Wrigley Field. We had one of the best pitchers in baseball throwing for us in Game 7, with a fully rested bullpen. Our veteran platoon outfielder who led the league in stolen bases, tied the game with a two run homer in the 8th inning off the hardest thrower in baseball.

Then it rained.

Then we lost.

I love baseball.

I felt a lot of things immedately after the game, and I feel a lot of things now. Misery isn’t one of them.

Also I certainly didn’t feel embarassed, like some people are trying to tell us we should feel because we let Cubs fans into our stadium. This is a team with one of the largest fanbases in baseball, from the third largest city in the country, with the richest suburbs in the Midwest, playing for their first World Series in 108 years.

This series could have been played on fucking Mars and it would have been impossible to find a hotel room. I have a hard time imaginging it would have been any different had 4 games been played in Toronto or Arlington or Baltimore.

(I had mostly good experiences with Cubs fans during this whole thing. There were some jackasses, sure (comes with the territory – season tickets in the bleachers), but for the most part they were cordial and respectful. I shook hands with the old men sitting in front of us last night and told them to enjoy it when I left.  I don’t think I’ve ever shook hands with an opposing fan after a game, especially not after his team just beat mine to win a championship.)


So why then, these feelings of completion and finality instead of depression and sadness?

It’s like in Fantasy Football when you’re strugging to decide who to play that week. You set a lineup with some regret, the games play out, and you lose. But even if you had played the guys you decided to bench, you would have lost anyway. There’s literally nothing else you could have done. There’s a weird sense of acceptance after those types of weeks. Not so much the weeks when you leave a guy on your bench that puts up 30 points.

The Indians didn’t leave any 30 point scorers on their bench.

They exhaused all options. The over-worked starting pitching staff and, consequentially, the over-worked bullpen finally caught up to them at the worst possible time. Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller gave up 6 runs. David Ross hit a homer off Andrew Miller. That’s when you know it’s not your night.

You had your ace taking the mound or Game 7 of the World Series at home, with your bullpen fully rested. Previous events caused that matchup to not turn out the way we wanted. Nothing more we could have done.

Tito did the abosolute best he could with the hand we were dealt. He got the most out of every single player. He almost pulled off the impossibe. But the impossible is called the impossible for a reason.

Looking towards next year helps quite a bit too. It’s not like we pulled off some blockbuster trades at the deadline to pick up rentals to “go for it” like so many teams do. We went for it, but on our terms. Our core is locked up. Our pitching staff will be healthy. Anything you get out of Michael Brantley is a bonus. Young guys have another year under their belts, and everybody has the experience of a deep postseason run. You have no glaring holes to fill. Next year has a chance to be what this year could have been. And the year after that. And the year after that.

I’m excited to watch a team next year that knows they can get to the World Series.


We all knew the 3-1 jokes would come early and often if we ended up losing to the Cubs. So far, spot on. They don’t really phase me for two reasons.

One, they’re not accurate. I understand the people slinging the jokes aren’t necessarily worried about accuracy, but when you say the Indians blew a 3-1 lead, that’s just not right. The Indians operated at capacity for all 7 games. That’s all they had. The Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit. That’s accurate. Not all comebacks by one team are blown opportunities by the other.

And two, if they really do believe the Tribe blew a 3-1 lead, that’s actually a huge compliment to the Cavs. If you’re gonna say the situations are the same, than you’re comparing our basketball team to a baseball team that just put together one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. And they’re poised to do it again and again for, oh, about a decade.

I’ll take that as a Cavs fan.


Maybe I’m still numb, and this loss will hit me in the coming days or weeks. It’s possible. But I’m enjoying this little bit of clarity and optimism while it lasts.

Gonna go sleep for three straight weeks and rev up the Cavs engine.

 

Hell of a season.

 

KEEP THE CHIEF

 

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Tribe takes Game 3 despite John Hirschbeck’s best efforts, other WS thoughts

Well that was harder than it should have been.

Despite home plate umpire John Hirschbeck’s best efforts, the Indians won Game 3 of the World Series last night 1-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. The last Tribe team to go up 2-1 in the World Series?  The fellas of 1948. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

Per @IndiansUmp, Hirschbeck blew 7 ball/strike calls last night. All seven went against the Indians. Here’s a few highlights:

I’m not entirely sure what I would have done if we didn’t win that game, but it wouldn’t have been good. Thank god it was Tomlin out there, Trevor Bauer might have spontaneously combusted right in front of our eyes if he got consistently hosed like that. Our boys beat the Cubs and John Hirschbeck last night.

Some other thoughts:

  • Example number 12,983 in these playoffs of Tito being smarter than me? Pulling Tomlin at 58 pitches before the Cubs got a third crack at him. I didn’t agree with it at the time, at all. He was rolling. But of course, not only did it obviously work out for the game last night, he’ll have plenty in the tank for his potential game 6 start and Chicago didn’t have the chance to get any sort of momentum against him going forward.
  • Speaking of Tomlin, great piece from Anthony Castrovince on his start and his parents being there for it here. Must read if you enjoy happiness and trying to hide the fact that you’re crying from everyone around you.
  • I don’t want to hear shit from ANYONE when Bryan Shaw gives up 4 runs in the 7th inning on a Tuesday in June next year. He defeated the mighty Kyle Schwarber.
  • Jason Kipnis would be on the DL if this was the regular season. You can see him laboring whenever he has to run the bases.
  • I’m honest to god stunned when a hitter puts the ball in play against Miller or Allen.
  • Tito confirmed Trevor Bauer will throw tomorrow in Game 5. I thought a combination of Salazar and Merritt might work out nicely given how different they are as pitchers, but hopefully Bauer will reward Tito’s confidence in him. See first bullet point.
  • Two more wins and we win the World Series. Corey Kluber has two starts left.

KEEP THE CHIEF

Kevin Hogan Should Start, Football Betting Tips, And The Tribe

The Bottlegate “staff” has officially grown from 2 to 3. Excited to welcome Dan Whalen to the team.

Here’s his new weekly column (we’ll think of a name for it soon.) Go give him a follow on Twitter at  @dwhalen5


Like most of you, I felt no need to tune into the Browns game this weekend. Misery turned to apathy a while back-if I can remember correctly, for me it happened right around the time Johnny Manziel was drafted by Ray Farmer and the gang. So I’ll start my weekly diaTribe of five feelings here:

1. I’m not revealing anything you don’t already know when it comes to the team, the franchise, the management yada, yada…but I came instead to shed some light on the quarterback situation and how it should play out for the remainder of the year, since they, ya know, passed on the guy I touted as the best in the draft, on the day of the draft. See: @dwhalen5, dak in your closest twitter search bar. Do you know we’ve had EIGHT general managers since 1999?

The Browns have to go with Kevin Hogan as long as they can, until and maybe even after Kessler is healthy. And I’m not “stats tell the full story” guy at all, but if you go back and look at Andrew Luck vs Kevin Hogan, you get ALARMINGLY similar statistics and win/loss records when comparing the two. Except Hogan went 3-1 in bowl games and Luck wend 1-2. But WHATEVER. Point is, the kid can make plays, he learned from the best, in arguably the most pro-friendly offensive college system there is, and quite honestly, sometimes the second quarterback you draft just ends up being better than the first. So drop the ego, change the culture, and let the kid sling it while Kessler picks his fragile ass back up off the ground.

Otherwise, they may miss out on him altogether, he’ll go be a stud for somebody else, and we will draft another shitshow who sets the squad back another three years.

 

2. I fancy myself a bit of a football handicapper, especially when it comes to picking the correct underdogs on the money line. So here are a few picks for the weekend:

A) Va Tech to cover -4.5 at Pitt for a little Thursday night action if you’re itching to make a play before the weekend. I think the defense is too good, and Pitt’s defense is woefully bad. When Pitt plays good teams, they lose.

B) Washington -10 at Utah. Huskies are the real deal. And they’ve got a hell of a defense. I get to watch Utah every single week due to rooming up with a former Ute footballer, and their offense has a tendency to sputter at times when they get inside the red-zone. This game will have some turnovers, and they’ll all come from the red and black side of the football. Pac-12 south runs through Colorado this year.

C) Auburn -4.5 at Ole Miss. There’s a trend this week with the road favorites, but trust me that’s coincidence-like I mentioned above, I’m an underdog guy. However, if you witnessed what LSU did to Ole Miss on the ground last week (312 yds/8.6 avg), and you had a chance to see Auburn’s ground game against Arkansas (543 yds/9.5 avg), then you should see that this could be another bloodbath of sorts. Even with Chad Kelly being night and day when he plays at

home vs on the road, he ain’t getting in a 3-technique to stop the deluge.

 D) Cowboys -4 vs Eagles. The Eagles are a different team when they have to travel. And not a single defense has shown they can stop Zeke. Cowboys have been money at home. Oh, and Dak.

E) Underdogs to keep an eye on straight up: Navy, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Arizona State, Redskins, Lions, Raiders

3. Also, was happy to see that Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes took this kind of chilly dip instead of this kind of chili dip for losing a bet to a clever Tribe fan. One time I’m sure he’s happy to be wrong.

4. The only thing better than being there when the banner is raised tonight in Cleveland, is being there tomorrow night for game two, which I’m pretty jacked up for.

5. That said, with respect to my most beloved franchise in town since age seven, I’m going with Indians in six games, starting with Kluber tonight. From my perch here in Chicago, Cubs fans are a bit out over their skis and are already planning their parade. And if we know anything about being underdogs, it’s that they play these games for a reason, and you shouldn’t count anyone out before the fact, because you never know when you might blow a 3-1 lead in The Finals.

PS: If you couldn’t tell this was supposed to be posted last night but Austin and I were downtown all afternoon. Stay tuned for the next installment on Tuesday.