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One last look back at 2020 and moving forward

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Thank you for making Let’s Go Tribe an online destination in this troubled year

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

If you are reading this at the time of its publication and not on a cyber tablet in 2023 from your nuclear bunker: Congrats! You have officially made it to the waning hours of 2020.

You do not need me to tell you it was a terrible year for everything.

We did get to watch the sport we love in some fashion, but it wasn’t the same. A hundred fewer games, an underlying fear that it wasn’t worth it, and so much more made this baseball season an imperfect monster. A year ago the crack of a bat making hard contact was a rare treat reserved for the blown-out speakers of an ESPN broadcast. Now I’d give anything to have it drowned out by the hum of a crowd; with any luck, we’ll get there in 2021.

My amazing wife is a Nurse Practitioner at a local private practice, which means that — while I spend every day worrying she’ll contract a deadly disease while helping keep others safe — she was able to continue working and supporting our family of five through the pandemic. Between that and me be able to do this weird half-pretend job remotely that they pay me for, I realize I am luckier and more privileged than most.

Even with the shortened season and constant tragedy in and out of the game, a lot of people used Let’s Go Tribe as their escape. At least I hope it served that purpose.

The landscape of baseball is going to look a lot different when next season rolls around, perhaps for none more than Cleveland. A new name is on the horizon, and given the speed at which they are changing the roster, there is no telling what they will look like once the players finally return to the field. This very blog will have a new name this year, hopefully sooner than later.

This year we recapped every game of the 60-season and provided a lot of analysis and just plain weirdness along the way. My hope is that, in some measurable way, coming here and reading the works of the dedicated staff and input from insightful commenters (and even the not-so-insightful ones) helped give you a few seconds of peace.

Or at least a place you felt free to yell about Francisco Lindor being traded.

Whatever reason you’re here for — thank you. It’s because of you that we can keep writing, making podcasts, and having excuses to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about baseball. Let’s do it again next year.

I’d like to leave you with a few evergreen pieces written by staff this year that I’m particularly proud of. Perhaps it can be something for you to read in the last few hours of this year and into 2021, or if you’re new here, a jumping-off point for getting into LGT content.

I also want to give a huge shout-out to Jason Philipps, woodmeister, and westbrook, who tirelessly keep churning out the Morning News and Notes posts every day even in the darkest, newsless voids of the offseason.

Feel free to drop any that I missed into the comments.

  • Merrit Rohlfing’s deep dive into Cleveland WAR leaders throughout history has been a treat to edit and read. If you haven’t already, check them out throughout the History section of the site. I also highly recommend using SB Nation’s new feature that turns articles into audio and using some of the longer ones as mini audiobooks.
  • Early in the year, Chris Davies took a Twitter challenge from Russell Carleton and went all-in on building a Cleveland team from the last 25 years. His Let’s Go Read series has also provided an insightful look into baseball that cannot be overstated.
  • While the rest of us were freaking out at the idea of Mike Clevinger being traded in the middle of a playoff run, Matt Schlicting saw the potential of Josh Naylor — a potential that came to fruition at the right time and almost saved Cleveland in the playoffs. Almost.
  • Blake Ruane’s take on the Austin Hedges portion of the trade explained why Cleveland even wanted a 28-year-old catcher with a bat worse than Roberto Pérez. The answer? They really, really value catcher defense.
  • Shortly after Triston McKenzie made his long-awaited MLB debut, Brian Hemminger dove into his story and multiple setbacks on the way to the show. Dr. Sticks, as his minor-league teammates called him along the way, overcame it all.
  • Brian’s handling of the LGT Top Prospect list every year is a huge undertaking and always turns out to be one of the best possible ways to kill time in January and February — often leading to a lot of great conversations with longtime commenters. Keep an eye out for the next iteration soon.
  • Chris’s criticism of and subsequent apology to Brad Hand is the greatest character arc 2020. I mention it mostly because if he did not do the initial post about Hand, I would have. And it would have been my culpa being mea’d.
  • With the help of an in-house expert known as his girlfriend and accomplished voice and vocal performance expert Karen Perta, Matt examined the science behind Tom Hamilton’s voice. It’s a topic I never knew I needed and now I can’t get enough of.
  • Prior to Clevinger being traded to the Padres, Merritt saw something in Clevinger’s curveball that just didn’t quite look right.
  • Major League Baseball had a bad idea, and Blake saw through it immediately. Turns out making it easier for teams to get into the postseason actually doesn’t encourage them to spend more money. Weird!
  • A month later, Matt came through with an idea to fix tanking — one that would actually fix tanking — by rewarding teams who try but just don’t quite make it.
  • Matt also addressed the revered Naquinhead Nation upon the outfielder’s departure.
  • Like trading Corey Kluber last offseason, no one likes the idea of Carlos Carrasco being dealt prior to 2021. Merritt faced the idea head-on and weighed the benefits against the anguish.
  • July 24 was a historic day for baseball, as it somehow managed to open a baseball season amid a global pandemic. It was also a huge day for Shane Beiber, who struck out a club-record 14 batters in his first Opening Day start.
  • I’m not saying our pre-season predictions were hilariously bad, but more than one of us predicted Bradley Zimmer would be the team’s breakout player in 2020. At least four of us picked the Dodgers as World Series Champions, and three picked the right matchup!
  • It feels weird including my own posts in this list, but I was especially proud of this look at Triston McKenzie’s unreal wingspan, this analysis of César Hernández being good, this really dumb, but also completely factual, way Cleveland could have temporarily replaced José Ramírez at the end of last season.

Stay safe — we’ll see you in 2021.