There probably won't be any big baseball news today, but by force of habit, I suspect a fair amount of you will drop by LGT anyway, and in the spirit of the holiday (well, the ideal spirit of the holiday, not the stuff your face and watch football, then go stand in line for discounted electronics spirit that more realistically embodies today), I thought I'd pass along a few things I'm thankful for as an Indians fan, and invite you to do the same...
I'm thankful for Terry Francona, who showed what a difference the right manager can make, and for Mickey Callaway, whom I suspect may be a wizard, after seeing the turnaround so many Tribe pitchers made, and for the front office, which convinced Francona that the Indians were a team worth coming back for last offseason, then went out and spent more money than any of us expected. I'm thankful to Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, who could have accepted someone else's millions of dollars instead, to play for teams people thought had a better shot at contending.
I'm thankful for Opening Day, when the Indians defeated 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, the first of seven Cy Young pelts they would nail on their wall during the season's first month and a half. I'm thankful for Justin Masterson, who was the winner that day and who then beat 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price in his next start, becoming the first pitcher ever to beat both reigning Cy Young winners in the season's first month. Masterson became the first Indians pitcher to throw three shutouts in a season since Dennis Martinez in 1994, and was the Tribe's best starting pitcher for the third year in a row, something that doesn't happen very often.
I'm thankful for Jason Kipnis, who is the team's best player. Let's sign him to a contract extension!
I'm thankful the team didn't throw in the towel after a 7-game losing streak in early June left me believing the season wasn't going anywhere.
I'm thankful for Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar, who burst on the scene bigger than just about anyone anticipated, and both look like legitimate MLB starting pitchers who'll provide the Indians good (cheap!) production in coming years. I'm thankful for Zach McAllister, his stuff isn't as impressive as his rotation-mates', and his potential isn't as tantalizing, but there's plenty to be said for a league-average starter at the back of the rotation.
I'm thankful for the double-header in Chicago that I watched in person on June 28 (and the early hours of June 29 too). Seeing 19-10 and 9-8 victories and meeting a couple LGT readers... 10 well-spent hours at the ballpark. I'm thankful for the White Sox, against whom the Tribe went an incredible 17-2 this year, setting an expansion-era franchise record formost wins against one team in a season.
I'm thankful for Carlos Santana, the team's best hitter, and one of the best in baseball. I wish I knew how to make everyone else appreciate his talents. I'm thankful for Yan Gomes, one of the biggest surprises in baseball, who's taken over as the team's catcher (because among Santana's many talent, playing strong defense behind the plate is not one of them).
I'm thankful for Progressive Field. After 20 years it's still one of the best spots in the world to watch a ballgame, and for Slider. He's a divisive figure around these parts, but I'm proud to stand with him.
I'm thankful for Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, both of whom have probably thrown their last pitch for the Indians. They were two of the very best pitchers in baseball during the second half, a year after one of them was among the worst in MLB, and one of them was about as far from MLB as you can get in baseball.
I'm thankful for Jason Giambi, who provided the team with its most fantastic moment of the season.
I'm thankful for the historic 10-game winning streak the Tribe finished up the regular season with. Baseball has rarely been as fun to follow as it was during that stretch.
I'm thankful for all the players I haven't already mentioned, because they all played a part in the best Indians season in years, one which ended in the playoffs (if not quite the way we hoped). All of those people and things make the Indians the Indians, who are a bigger part of my life than is probably healthy.
I'm thankful to my fiancee, who wanted a fall wedding next year, but agreed to September instead of October, after I asked, What if the Indians are in the playoffs?!
FInally, I especially want to thank Ryan (as should we all), who has done more to build this site into a must-read destination for Tribe fans than anyone. Last year Ryan reached out and gave me a chance to contribute here, which has been a thrill from Day 1. A year later, Ryan asked me to step into his role, when 'real' life left him with too little time. To serve as head editor is not only a thrill, it's an honor. I was out with friends last night, talking with someone's new boyfriend, who asked what I do. I told him I'm a teacher, then added:
"I also run the best Cleveland Indians blog in the world."
I'm so very grateful that I get to say that,
And not just to say it, but to know that it's true.
LGT wouldn't be what it is without readers,
So a happy Thanksgiving to each one of you!