Putting the Reds possible division clinch in perspective. “The Reds have played 2,425 games. Three people have owned them. Eight have managed them. They’ve had four general managers, two ballparks, where 28,245,219 fans have come watch them play since the last time this franchise tasted any champagne. They played on turf and they’ve plaed on grass. They’ve employed hundreds of players and spent more then $593 million on them. They’ve said goodbye to legends at shortstop and in the broadcast booth. They’ve traded for one of the all-time greats, watched him hit homers 400, 500, and 600 in their uni, and they’ve traded him. They groomed, promoted, played, paid, and dealt of the most prodigious sluggers of the era. They’ve dealt players who became postseason heroes elsewhere and they’ve fired managers who won World Series elsewhere. They’ve brought back a cornerback to play outfield. They’ve seen important members of their franchise’s history get inducted into Cooperstown.” [Mo Egger]
It was over really before it got started, as it was in game 5. Excitement was quickly replaced with urgency. Finally the reality of the situation had just set in. The Cleveland Indians have one game to save their entire season of work, and it’s a game 7 against the Red Sox at Fenway with their 100 million dollar guy on the mound.
When we were watching the ballgame, we had just finished saying that JD Drew was a career disappointment. That with just one big homerun that would result in a grand slam, he could redeem an entire season of killing rallies and not coming through in the clutch.
Then it happened.
Just like that, the Cleveland Indians are one game away from letting this series and season slip away from them. Go help them this evening.
As you all know, tonight is game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Editor George and I have met up for a Diamond Hoggers meeting of the Chairmen of the Board. It’s going to be an important night of Cigars, Dewars, Dip, and end up at the Winking Lizard bar. The game of the century for the Indians is on tap, and the fate rests in the hands of Fausto Carmona.
If the Indians make the series tonight against Curt Schilling in Boston, I’ll go completely nuts and celebrate late into the morning hours….I really will.
Pictures to come from tonight. GO INDIANS!
The Cleveland Indians tonight have a chance to rewrite all that is good in baseball. This is what teams play games, seasons, careers for. This is the reason they lace it up, the one’s that love the game anyways. This is what ties a million dollar world-class athlete to his boyhood dreams after all the lights have gone out each night in the big city that he plays. The dream of playing in the World Series. Some are playing for their jobs and as Jake Taylor says in Major League, “some of you won’t be back next year.”
This is some players’ only chance to make it to the World Series. It could be all of this team’s only chance. Fates and careers will be decided tonight. There is no grander stage. There is no better drama in movie theatres. This is when the dreams are while you are awake. The Cleveland Indians up I-71 are playing for a chance to go to the World Series tonight. By tomorrow morning we might very well be talking about the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. We might be hearing about the party that went late into the night and into the wee morning hours as the rest of us go to work.
This is our team, our Indians. This is the blue collar team who wins ugly and represents it’s city well. These guys are tight knit, and they play hard every night. They’ve gotten this far. One last step remains to make this season a memorable one and to win their 3rd pennant in 12 years.
Legends have been carved on this stage. You think back through the years to the images of other teams celebrating on this stage and wondering what it will be like to wake up one morning and have your team playing for it all. This is the Indians chance to carve that history and be that team. There is no turning back now.
Hold on baseball fans. 27 outs from now, the Cleveland Indians just might be in the World Series.
8:13 PM- I’m going to liveblog tonight’s game for as long as possible. It’s the biggest game of the year so I figure that It’s maybe a good time for this. I want to have one of the biggest games in Indians history down in recorded form on our blog here. Mccarver and Buck are setting the mood, as much as they can. I’m about to insert my game-time dip. Report is it’s a bit nippier than last night in Boston. Keep it locked right here if you would, and make some comments in the game thread. It’s postseason baseball on a saturday night, lets just hope it’s not the final saturday game of the year for my Indians.
8:17 PM- Schilling is warming up. I sure hope he’s off his game tonight. Odds are against it. We’re going to find out if Fausto is the ace right now.
Schilling starts 0-2 to Sizemore. Splitter in the dirt takes it to 1-2. Sizemore K’d 3 times last night. This is first postseason start for Schilling since game 2 of the 2004 World Series. Count evened at 2-2. I’m not going pitch by pitch for every at-bat, but Sizemore gets special treatment. Sizemore lines a double to left center field. Changeup on the outside corner lined right where it was pitched and Sizemore has his first ALCS hit of his career. Asdrubal Cabrera looks to bunt Sizemore over here. We gotta get that run in, early leads are the name of the game. Cabrera pops the bunt straight up and he’s out to Mike Lowell at third. That’s just huge. As Tim Mccarver is telling us, he dropped the barrel of the bat. No shit there genius. Travis Hafner up. Hafner has looked great in the postseason so far. Just a base hit here Hafner. Hafner flies out to the edge of the Green monster. Manny has it, 2 down. Sizemore must stay at second. The wind helped them out there, I guess I’m biased. Victor Martinez at the plate, I wouldn’t rather have anyone at the plate, as Victor hit over .400 with RISP and 2 outs during the regular season. He’s down 0-2 right now. Off the green monster it’s 1-0 Indians with Sizemore scoring. That ball almost got out of here. Here’s Ryan Garko who is built like a cornfed football player. Garko taps out and the inning is over. Indians get a run.
Carmona strikes out Pedroia in 6 pitches. Walks Youkilis on a full count. Ortiz up with 1 down. Ortiz walks in 4 pitches, not good. Manny Ramirez rolls into a 4-6-3, inning over.
Peralta singles to right field to lead off the inning. This, at least thus far does not appear to be the dominant Schilling. He’s around the plate so it’s helping the Indians hitters in knowing they’re going to get strikes to hit. Lofton at the dish and he takes a bad cut and pops out to center. 1 out. Franklin Gutierrez is now hitting, I wish Trot Nixon was playing. Gutierrez has really been struggling. 6-4-3 book it. Inning is over. Tribe clinging to a lead.
Ground out to begin the inning. The hitter was insignificant. JD Drew is up. Casey Blake is over at third sporting his playoff beard. Great play by sloppy Johnny P. over at short to get JD Drew. Varitek at the plate with two down. Carmona is not allowing many hits but he is throwing a lot of pitches. Last pitch on the gun was 96 MPH clocked. Varitek hits a shot liner but right at 2B Cabrera. Sizemore coming up, leading 1-0.
Casey Blakes strikes out trying to hold up. Here’s Grady Sizemore. Sizemore flies out to Manny Ramirez in left field and there is 2 down quickly. This game is working into a pitchers duel. I’m scared. Cabrera flies out to medium depth in center field and this inning is in the history books.
Coco Crisp singles under the diviing Cabrera to begin the inning. Hot tempered Julio Lugo hitting right now. We need another DP ground ball to roll up. Scratch that, Crisp steals 2nd base and Victor’s throw was poor. Lugo attempts a bunt and misses to bring the count to 2 strikes. Lugo fouls off a couple of pitches to hang around. Carmona strikes out his 2nd of the night with an inside sinker-type. One big out. 50 pitches already for Carmona. Needs a quick inning or its going to be a bullpen night. Pedroia at the plate. 3-0 count now to Pedroia, who is probably the most annoying Red Sox player. Pedroia walks, 3rd walk for Carmona so far tonight. Kevin Youkilis up with some Sox on the bases. Youkilis fouls one off the hands and it’s 0-2. We need this out, as David Ortiz is looming on deck. Get a groundball here Fausto. Fausto strikes out Youk’ with that same sinker on the inside of the dish. Here’s the killer spot in the game thus far. 96 mph on the first pitch blown past Big Papi. Papi fouls it off dangerously. 1-2 is the count now. I’m so nervous. Papi singles one off Carmona’s glove, with no shift on it would have been an out to Peralta. Bases are now loaded for Manny Ramirez and there is a pitching conference on the mound with Carl Willis. On second glance the run was saved probably by Carmona, a shift was on and Joe Buck was just wrong. Come on Tribe, get this out. Don’t let Manny find green here or it could be death. Ball 2 is in the dirt. Carmona has got to settle himself down right now. Ball three to Ramirez was close but a hair inside. Is Manny green lighted here 3-0? Here is the pitch……… Carmona has walked in a run on 4 pitches to tie the game! Unreal. I guess that is respect coupld with inexperience. 12th walk for the Sox already this series. This is very bad. Mike Lowell is up. Lowell fucking singles to right field. 2 runs score. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. JD Drew bounces out. 3-1 Sox. Fuck.
My fiance is taking the computer so i can’t complete this, I will be back. Go Indians.
As I thought about this matchup on my drive to work this morning, a good thought came to me. I was thinking about the fact that the Indians are underdogs, and the fact that not a lot of people are giving them a chance at winning this series over the loaded Red Sox, who are supposed to be the best team in baseball. At the same time, the Indians have been pretty good–and not many people really want to count them out either.
This reminds me so much of the 1997 American League Championship Series, where an Indians team that got hot came in and beat a Baltimore Orioles team with 98 wins and homefield advantage, in 6 games. The Indians did it that year with a big blow from Tony Fernandez in game 6. I remember where I was at when he hit that homerun, as well as Marquis Grissom’s clutch blast off Armando Benitez in extra innings, in which my mother had to wake me up in my sleep to tell me that the Indians had won. That was the turning point of the series indeed.
There is just something special about this Indians team that tells me you can’t count them out; and don’t you dare say you see the Red Sox winning the series. Even if you feel that way, you need to wait and hold your opinions, because this team just might end up making you eat your words.
At the same token, I’ve just got this weird feeling that the Indians will do something similar this year as they did in 1997–possibly something like getting past the Red Sox in 6 games–only to go to the World Series and lose to the Colorado Rockies for their 1st World Championship. It would seem both inevitable and poetic that this team lose it in a game 7 that goes 11 innings, blowing a lead late with their closer in the game and allowing for Colorado to celebrate on their own field due to an Edgar Renteria-like seeing eye single up the middle. At least Charles Nagy is no longer an Indian.
This series means so much for this young group of core players on Cleveland. It means so much to this championship-starved city. As I sit and watch tonight, and take in every gut-wrenching delivery from Josh Beckett, I will be rooting as hard as I’ve done before for this group. Many would like to sit back and say “If not this year, we’ll have a long string of chances to win with this group.” As a baseball fan I know that is not ever the case. There is an imaginary window that resides for every ballclub with talent to make the postseason. How long that window remains open to get a World Series championship through it is never certain. Make no mistake about it; there is no guaruntee that the Indians even take this team back to the postseason. The urgency needs to be felt and the time to strike is right now. This team has the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of them and I truly believe the winner of this ALCS is your 2007 World Champion.
I’m going to go ahead and and make my pick of this series, and yes I’m betting on the team from Cleveland. Yes I’m going with my heart which is something you should never do in sports. I might be going against some amounts of logic, but I’m taking the Cleveland Indians to upset the Boston Red Sox in this series in 7 games. That would mean the Indians win the final game, on the road in Fenway Park. As unlikely as it sounds, this team has something about them that won’t let them go away. They have staying power. Tonight as I watch from a bar seat at Easton mall in Columbus sipping away at my Jack and diet’s to calm the nerves, I’ll be pulling with all that I have on every pitch.
As a baseball fan, for a baseball fan…. it just doesn’t get any better than this.