I thought I'd pass along a few things I'm thankful for, as an Indians fan, and invite you to do the same.
I'm thankful for Carlos Santana, who is one of the best catchers in baseball. If he can continue to play 90-100 games a year behind the plate, he's got one of the best bats at the position. Even if he's forced to play more and more frequently at first base, his bat still profiles as well above average there. Great production and he's reasonably signed all the way through 2017.
I'm thankful for the Minnesota Twins, who nobly kept the Tribe from holding the worst record in the American League. If anyone points out the Indians' run differential was in fact the worst in the A.L., just tell them "I don't know what 'run differential' means!"
I'm thankful for Jason Kipnis. In his first full season he was already one of the ten best second basemen in baseball. He's got a good bat, he runs the bases really well, his defense is improving, and he's got fantastic taste in first names.
I'm thankful for the Houston Astros too, because they'll be joining the junior circuit next season, and that's another team that might make the Tribe look good.
I'm thankful for Lonnie Chisenhall. He was just 23 years old this season, but when he got the chance to play, he played pretty well. I don't expect him to be Beltre or Longoria, but I think he's going to be an above average player at third base and I'm thankful for anyone above average on the Indians.
I'm thankful for the MLB Network, Extra Innings trial runs, and the good old internet. As a Tribe fan from Chicago, I grew up not being able to watch many Indians games. In the mid to late 90s they were on ESPN semi-frequently, but otherwise games against the White Sox were my only real opportunity to watch actual games, and those broadcasts carry the incredibly high cost of having to listen to Hawk Harrelson (speaking of things to be thankful for, anyone who DOESN'T have to listen to Hawk Harrelson should be most thankful for that!). Today's technological offerings make it far easier to see how the team looks (yes, I'm claiming that's worth being thankful for).
I'm thankful for Vinnie Pestano, one of the best relief pitchers in baseball and he's still dirt cheap.
I'm thankful for Slider. A goofy looking mascot goes a long way in my book.
I'm thankful for Michael Brantley. LaPorta hasn't been what we all hoped for when Sabathia was traded away, but Brantley has become a fine player.
I'm thankful I'm not a Yankees fan. All through my childhood years, my father lectured me on the importance of building character. Cleaning my room, finishing my disgusting vegetables, writing a thank you letter to my great aunt Myrtle... They all built character. Did shoveling our sidewalk build character? Yes. Shoveling our neighbor's sidewalk? That too. How about spending an hour and a half shoveling out eight strangers' cars? You'd better believe that builds some character. I can think of nothing that does less for one's character than cheering for the New York Yankees. So, I'm thankful I have character.
I'm thankful for Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera. They've been the Indians' best players over the last five years. Those five years haven't been the most enjoyable in team history, but that's the fault of others, not these two, who've done more than enough to earn permanent spots in the hearts of Tribe fans everywhere. Now it is time for them both to be traded for high end prospects, so that we all might have more to be thankful for another three years or so.
I'm thankful that the starting pitching will be better in 2013 (I mean, it has to be... right?).
Finally, as I consider my blessings as an Indians fan, I'm thankful for Let's Go Tribe. Joining the staff here in September has made my fandom far richer and more enjoyable. In part because I'm not from Ohio and have never lived there, in part because many people aren't wise enough to love baseball as much as I do, I don't actually know any Tribe fans.
I've loved the team since I was six years old, when I got my first t-ball jersey and it said "Indians" across the front. There have been more downs than ups, but I wouldn't trade them for any other team. For two and a half decades I've lived and died with the Tribe, but it's been a solitary road. I may not ever totally grow out of that, but it's fun to be able to share in it with others now too.
I appreciate that we have a staff and community of readers that makes me a more informed fan by passing along news I hadn't heard and insights I hadn't thought of. I appreciate the passion so many of you have for the team, and for what we write about that team here.
So, along with Santana and Kipnis and Choo...
...A big Turkey Day thank you to each one of you.