I love baseball. I love the rhythms of individual games and of 162-game seasons. When I'm home and on the couch during baseball season, more often than not a game is on, even if only as background while I'm getting some other work done or reading a book. If MLB announced that the Indians would be no more, I would be incredibly disappointed, but it wouldn't squash my affection for the game. I'd probably never have a favorite team again, but I would continue to follow along anyway.
Right now though, the baseball is hard for me to enjoy. In part this is due to the low quality of play we're seeing from the Tribe, with the lineup flailing away one night, the starter getting shelled the next, and the bullpen blowing a lead the one after that. Like any Indians fan old enough to remember anything before 2013, I've experienced bad seasons before though. I can enjoy following a bad team, if only because I've had plenty of practice. The last five weeks have been different though, because rarely have I ever had to make do with a bad team when I expected a good one. More than the quality of the baseball, it's the divergence from expectations that I'm taking so hard.
My disappointment will wear off eventually, and when that happens I'll mentally change gears from the excitement of following a contender to the milder (but still very real) pleasures of following a non-contender. At the moment though, I can't do that, because we're not even a quarter of the way through this season. The Indians have the worst record in the American League, but they're also "only" 6 games back of the second Wild Card spot --currently held by... Minnesota (?!)-- and coming back from a six-game deficit is complicated by the sheer number of teams that have to be passed along the way, it wouldn't place anywhere on the list of biggest comebacks in the long history of the game.
As is, I continue to hold out hope that the Indians will have things snap into place and rip off a big winning streak, getting them back into the thick of things. The talent is there for it, I really believe that, and I can't bring myself to give up on the possibility that this team finds a way into the postseason.
For as long as I'm holding onto hope though, the losing is especially painful.
If the Indians can win ten in a row, or 15 of their next 20 or something, and be back in the mix by early June, that would be super, but I'm tired of them winning one and then losing two. If they're not going to contend, I'd just as soon see them lose ten in a row, and let me start making peace with the fact that this isn't the year.
So do me a favor, Tribe, and for the next two weeks either win 'em all or lose 'em all.