In something resembling a tradition, I’ve written some kind of denouement about the Cleveland Indians and the season that was for the last seven years or so, over a series of platforms.
There are usually things to reflect upon — last year we had the 102 wins, the 22 game win streak, the Cy Young by Kluber. The year before needs no further discussion. Even 2015 was neat in some ways with Lindor’s debut and Cody Anderson appearing to be good for a couple months, even if they fell short of October. It’s hard to ever be anything but excited about baseball because it’s my favorite thing on TV, my favorite thing to read about, my favorite pastime, and just a good neat thing that I love.
But this season was weird and different. Not really in a good way. In a word, the whole thing just kind of sums up with the word “disappointment”. And that’s a sad, terrible way to leave a baseball season. Anything, really, but going into the winter with not even a bitter taste in the mouth like after 2016 and just falling short, or 2017 and getting blindsided, but instead just feeling like it was all a waste of time is a little depressing.
The whole season there wasn’t anything magical or special that captured the hearts of the fans. Nothing seared in our memory to remember the 2018 season. It could have been Bauer’s Cy Young, or Ramirez’s MVP, but both fell short. Part of that had to be our own faults, because it was generally agreed if not explicitly stated that nothing mattered until the playoffs. The rest of the division even acquiesced to this feeling, all four teams just rolling over and dying. After about mid-April there felt like no drama in the standings.
The Indians themselves even tried to make it more interesting by having a terrible bullpen for half the year. Which is a terrible way to spend a season. I think it was Mike Hattery at Waiting For Next Year who said it, maybe not, but the perfect way to ruin a baseball season is with a bad bullpen. And it was something we all fretted over all offseason coming into it, that and the outfield. Both places were where all the worst kind of drama circled — injuries and ineffectiveness. Nothing interesting was going on, just the bad, sad stuff that we just had to complain about.
Even when Jose Ramirez caught aflame and was an MVP candidate for four months, even that couldn’t clean up the dirty water pouring out of the bullpen and the constant reminders that relievers always get worse and the ever-decrepifying outfield. THen even HE fell apart and turned into his 2015 self, barely hitting the ball out of the infield most days. So instead of another 7 or 8 WAR season to look forward to ,we just get to worry about whether he’s been figured out and is going to be bad now. Never mind that the bullpen and outfield are, if anything, even bigger question marks. So not only is the season disappointing, but the winter is going to merely be a repeat of last year. How is this fun?
Maybe this is all a mountain from a molehill. But I don’t write this stuff because I have to, I don’t watch because I must. This is what I enjoy, this is my favorite stuff. Surely the readers here at Let’s Go Tribe, to say nothing of the writers, are some of the biggest Cleveland fans in the world. How do we reconcile what we went through all year with what is supposed to be an enjoyable pastime? It’s going to take all winter to figure that out. And I know I’ll be just as excited in April as I was the year before, and the year before that. The faces will have changed a bit, and I’ll miss Michael Brantley and Cody Allen just as I did Carlos Santana. But next year should probably be good again, at least in terms of the winning and the playoffs. If only they could figure out the ending. Just once. Is that so much to ask?