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Higher Ground

A new series, a new opponent.  And for us, as diehard Indians fans, let's also add a new approach.

The Division Series was incredibly stressful and draining for any number of reasons, one of them being a huge amount of baiting back and forth between the Good Guys (that's us) and the Bad Guys (those cretin Yankees fans).  I don't regret that one bit.  Sure, it got a little dark at times, but it was honest, and they asked for it, and they deserved it.  It is fantastic to see the Yankees lose, and to see our Indians take it from them, even better.  But we have been, in our own way, as bad as the mainstream media outlets we criticize.

Is there any doubt that every moment we spend focusing on the Yankees -- the putridness of their team, their organization, their owner and, yes, a huge number of their fans -- is a moment we could have spent celebrating our Tribe?  Our great team, that does great things and does them the Right Way?  That has no mega-contracts and lots of exciting young players?  That's such a totally great bunch of guys aside from that one time J-Mike punched a cop?

I've had enough of the troll atmosphere.  I spent enough time indulging them and not enough time banning them, and I won't spend one more minute baiting the opposition.  For one thing, it's a lousy way to spend October, and for another thing, Red Sox fans are just not worthy of that kind of treatment.  I know there's been some discussion here about hating the Red Sox and their fans as much as or more than the Yankees and their fans.  Let me be real clear about this:  It's not even a close call.

For starters, Red Sox fans have not had more than their fair share -- still just one championship in the past 88 years.  Hell, we've got more than that.  For another thing, while the Red Sox are now doing crazy overspending things, they have never been the aggressors, they have never jumped the market, and they are still nowhere near the Yankees in this category.  While the Red Sox (and their fans)  enjoy a similar unfair advantage over small market clubs, they didn't start this.  They're responding to the Yankees the only way they can.

There are two main types of Red Sox fan.  One is the type we always used to complain about, unbelievably self-important and bathed in their own suffering, far more insufferable than we've ever been or (God willing) ever will be.  I'll tell you something funny, these guys have actually gotten a bad rap.

I want you to think about how you feel about the 1997 World Series, our big game-seven loss.  Think about how much of a big deal we've made about it in the past ten years, how much we've complained.  People, those Red Sox fans, they had four Game Sevens -- 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986.  I know we had terrible teams for 35 years, and I know that they should count themselves lucky for even having had four Game Sevens in four World Series to lose.  But still ... can you imagine what miserable sons of bitches we'd be if we lost another two or three Game Sevens in our lifetime, without ever winning one?  Can you?  Okay, now add in Bucky Dent, add in Aaron Boone, add in just the pure competitive proximity to the disgusting Yankees, year after year after year.

You'd be a totally insufferable son of a bitch, that's what you'd be.  Yes, you would.  So have a heart.  Anyway, have you talked to any of those guys since 2004?  They're teddy bears now.  Laid back.  They still root for the Sox, still follow them closely, but the bitterness is all gone.  Those aren't the Red Sox fans who've been irritating you for the last couple years.

No, the ones who are irritating you now, showing up to all those away games, are the second type of Red Sox fans, the bandwagon guys.  And yes, they're irritating as hell -- but all bandwagon fans are irritating, and all good teams have them.  Boston has more mostly because, well, there's a hell of a lot of people from Boston around the country, and a hell of a lot of people whose Dads were from Boston.  The Red Sox win a ring, and suddenly all those people rediscover their deep, deep emotional connection to the Red Sox.  You don't see this from the Angels or White Sox, two other recent champs, because those teams never had any fans anyway.  So that's all I'm saying -- the irritating ones are just regular bandwagon fans, standard-issue lowlifes, and they don't deserve their own special category of abuse.

Moreover, we deserve better than to spend the rest of our postseason baiting people and being baited.  We deserve to celebrate our own team and relish in the celebration.  So while I won't speak for everyone else and can't give any orders, I hope you will all join me in taking a decidedly different tack for the ALCS.  No baiting, no trolling.  Just rootrootrooting for the Indians.  Ryan and I will deal with trolls as they come up, and I would ask each of you not go trolling elsewhere.  Hopefully the guys at OverTheMonster will join us in this.

For in the words of JFK, "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children's future.  And we all know that the Yankees and their fans are the worst scum on the face of the Earth."

Go Tribe.