It's Thanksgiving, a day to gather with family, friends, or whomever is handy, and hopefully sit down for a good meal. As it says right there in the name, it's also a time for giving thanks for your blessings and thanks to the people who bring you happiness, security, stimulation, laughter, and love.
As an Indians fans, I'm thankful for...
...Corey Kluber, the deserving winner of the 2014 American League Cy Young Award. In any given season, only a few fan bases have the opportunity to watch someone like him every fifth day.
…Consecutive winnings seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
…Michael Brantley, who went from player to be named later to solid MLB starter to one of the best players in the league.
…Terry Francona, who calls for more bunts more than I'd like, but has gotten good results from his bullpens, has overseen more wins than losses in close and extra-innings games, and whose players seem to really enjoy playing for him. It's difficult for outsiders to know what impact a manager has, but for the things we can see, I think Francona does his job well.
…Yan Gomes, who went from being less than half the return in a trade for a so-so relief pitcher to one of the best catchers in baseball.
…A front office that seems to have drafted well in recent years, and which I trust to make intelligent decisions. In 2014 they gave Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes contract extensions that both look like absolute steals now. They also had the wisdom not to re-sign Ubaldo Jimenez (wisdom most of us had too) or extend Justin Masterson (wisdom most of us did not have).
…Carlos Santana, who led MLB in walks while also leading the Indians in home runs. He continues to be misunderstood and underrated by far too many Tribe fans, which just makes me love him even more.
…A starting rotation that was the best in baseball over the final couple months of the season, due not only to Kluber, but also to Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and T.J. House.
…Upgrades to Progressive Field that are underway as we speak. It's already a great place to take in a ballgame, and soon it should be even greater.
…Francisco Lindor, the prospects we've been following intently for three and a half years now, who seems poised to arrive in Cleveland next spring or summer, and to continue the team's tradition of excellence at shortstop.
As a person I'm thankful for...
...A life with enough going right for me to have the time and energy to care about 25 guys playing a game in pajamas. Seriously, if you have the time, energy, and wherewithal to get worked up about sports, and read and write about them online, you're better off than most of the world's population, and that's worth remembering from time to time.
…Getting to lead Let's Go Tribe, which I firmly believe is the best site in the world for Indians fans. I'm grateful to Ryan for giving me that opportunity, and to the other guys who pour their time and passion for the team into making this site what it is.
…You. Writing about the Indians is only rewarding because you come here and read what we have to say, and engage with us in the comments. As I've mentioned before, I came upon my Tribe fandom randomly, when I was 6 years old and the Indians were my t-ball team. I grew up without knowing a single other fan of the team, and so my rooting was a solitary experience. It is a continued pleasure to have others to share in the experience with.
…My wife. I spend far too much time on Let's Go Tribe, between writing more than 650 posts so far this year, plus who knows how many thousands of comments, and various other commitments of being in charge. Liz (a Cleveland girl) has shown impressive patience when waiting for me to finish some research on bullpen usage, or when going to bed alone because I'm staying up to write the recap of a west coast game even though I have to be up at 6:15 the next morning.
On September 13th the Indians lost a game to Detroit that basically ended the Tribe's chances of winning the AL Central, yet that was easily the best day of my year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.