Happy Thanksgiving eve everyone, I know I speak for everyone here at CTC when I say that we hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy time with family and (hopefully) a break from work/the real world for a little while. In a season all about giving thanks I thought I’d try and break through some of the negativity that surrounds the MLB offseason as a Cleveland fan by highlighting a few things that I think we tend to lose sight of when discussing baseball. The good news is that the root of the intense discussions is always a deep love and appreciation for the Guardians, and I’d like to highlight that appreciation here. So without further ado, the top 5 things I’m thankful for this year as a Guardians fan. (In no particular order)
#5: At least we’re not the A’s
Ok, this definitely a low bar to clear, but given that there’s an entire fanbase that no longer gets to have a team, it’s truly something that we need to remind ourselves of. Anyone who lived through the dark ages from 1960-1994 knows the anxiety associated with your team potentially moving away. In writing the 75 Years and Counting series, we’re coming up on a point where every encyclopedia entry I read about each season has some reference to “and the team nearly moved to ____.” The certainty that the Cleveland Guardians will remain in Cleveland for a while is a blessing that should not be taken lightly.
Also, sell the team John Fisher you absolute butt-munch. Seriously, take daddy’s money and go do something else with your life, try and earn or build something yourself. The people of Oakland deserve better. Oh, and Rob Manfred? I don’t have enough time here to lay out all of my problems with you. I’m getting distracted, this is a thanksgiving thankfulness article, Festivus isn’t for another month. I’ll save more of the airing of grievances for then.
#4: The Naylor Family
Seriously, where would we be without them? My goodness can those Naylor boys hit. I would’ve liked to have completed the trio by adding Myles, but I suppose Josh and Bo will have to suffice. Bo was absolutely on fire in the last month of the season posting an OPS north of 1.000 and walking more than he struck out. On top of that his defense came along quite nicely. Every November the new Call of Duty comes out, so sharing this 360 no scope that Bo pulled off seems fitting.
Also, who can forget Josh’s absolutely scorching hot month of June. Remember when he got off to that really slow start in April and everyone kept sharing those baseball savant images with all the red circles saying he’d be totally fine? Well they were right. I know we’re in an era where batting average doesn’t particularly mean much, but .370 in the month of June is still absurd. Seriously, the dude felt like an automatic hit every time he stepped into the box. Most importantly, he made a truly massive improvement against LHP going from being a platoon candidate to hitting nearly as well against lefties as he does righties. Josh clearly put in the work in the offseason and it showed.
I’d also like to mention how massive it was that he virtually picked up right where he left off after his injury, he and Manzardo will be a formidable force in the middle of our lineup next year and I’m beyond excited.
#3: The Emergence of The Bash Brothers
I’m excited about the potential of Chase DeLauter and Kyle Manzardo, seriously how could anyone not be? Watching them absolutely tear the cover off the ball in the AFL was a sight to behold, especially after it seemed like an outfielder didn’t have to break backwards on a ball the Guardians hit once all year. Is DeLauter’s swing funky? You bet. Has it worked so far? Oh hell yes it has. The tools are LOUD with him, the type of tools that could’ve seen him go 1-1 in the draft had he not had that foot injury, the potential feels limitless with him and I can’t believe he’s in our system.
With Manzardo I’m having a hard time not getting carried away and being wildly irresponsible with my comps for him. So you know what? Screw it, I’m not being graded here, if I’m wrong it’s not like I lose my fan card, so I’m just gonna say it. Dude looks like Freddie Freeman. The kid can just flat out hit, and he showed his power in a big way hitting some absolute BOMBS, including this one that went 460 feet!
Kyle Manzardo cranked a home run 460 feet yesterday for his 3rd home run at the AFL!— The Call Up | An MLB Prospect Podcast (@The_CallUpPod) October 13, 2023
The Guardians prospect has a 1.022 OPS with 10 RBI in his first seven games in Arizona. pic.twitter.com/oGQqIlNA4P
I bet those prospect outlets that gave him “40 grade raw power” are starting to feel a little silly.
#2: Jose Ramirez
Not a lot to say here, growing up I remember crying real tears when Manny and Thome left via free agency. I went through my first breakup on the same day we traded away Cliff Lee (easily my favorite player), and I remember the feeling that any time we got a top player in the league that it’d be temporary. “Enjoy him” still haunts my nightmares.
While we’re only 2 years into the new contract, I can’t express how thankful I am that Jose will basically be a Guardian for life, he’s got a case for being one of the best players in the history of the franchise, and to know that he’ll likely spend his whole career here is incredible. Jose’s a star, he’s on his way to being an all timer, and he’s ours.
#1: The CTC Community
Ok this one’s a little cheesy, but I mean it when I say that this community has been absolutely incredible. I know I haven’t been here very long but y’all have welcomed me with open arms as I’ve learned and adjusted to this job. We have a truly excellent team of writers and I’ve learned a TON from reading all of your comments. We really do have the best fans in baseball and I’m beyond thankful for each and every one of you who makes this site what it is.
Also a huge thank you to Matt Schlichting, Matt Seese, Zach, Quincy, Brendan, Eli, Madelynn, and Westbrook for the work they do to keep the content flowing here.
Happy thanksgiving everyone!