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One Month Left

Indians celebrate 16th inning win on 8/31/11.Here we sit, on September 1, 2011 and the Cleveland Indians are in 2nd place, 5.5 games back. No one, and I mean no one, predicted this. At the beginning of the year, every sportswriter, blogger, and fan of baseball (including me) had my beloved Tribe finishing 4th in the AL Central. All of the so-called experts had the Indians winning 70 games, 75 tops. The Indians record right now is 68-65. For them to be 3 games over .500 with a month left to go in the season is remarkable. The fact that they would still be hanging in this race with all the injuries and the lack of experience on this team is a testament to what Manny Acta can do as a manager. (I have to give kudos to the White Sox for hanging in there too. It’s got to be tough having Dunn & Rios suck 8 at-bats every night from your lineup and still be in contention.)

Good times, good times
This season has been fun for me. Because we are winning? Yes, that’s part of it, but seeing this team gel and put together a beginning of the season like they did (remember the 30-15 start?) It’s been fun to see, for all practical purposes a AAA ball club, stay in first for most of the season. It reminds me of 1994 when the Indians had guys like; Thome, Belle, Alomar, Lofton, Ramirez, Nagy, Baerga. While we have the advantage of time and can see how those young players went on to great things, back then they were a young, inexperienced team that had not proven a thing. Only Sandy Alomar’s Rookie of the Year trophy hung in the glass case. Is this team going to go on the run the ’90’s Indians did? I don’t know. I’m not looking for a dynasty, I’m looking for a team that I enjoy watching. I enjoy watching this team.the '94 Indians team

Anyone who has gotten within earshot of me for the past several years has heard me complain about Eric Wedge’s management of the pitching staff. Wedge is one of those managers that when the 6th inning rolls around and his starter gives up a leadoff walk, then a single, then hits a batter, he sends the pitching coach to talk to him. Next batter up hits a bases-clearing double, then Wedgie would go get him. That was my existence from 2003 – 09. Besides the run in 2007, it was a long 7 years. THAT, my friends, is not fun.

Don’t you want to win every year?
I got into a conversation with an old schoolmate who is a Yankee’s fan. I like to jab at his Yankee supporting comments and he gives it right back. It’s fun. In the middle of one of our exchanges he asked, “Wouldn’t u like for the Indians to spend more money and be a true contender each year or u happy with them spending bottom money and being a contender for a few weeks?” Good question. My answer: “Would I like a contending team, yea, but it’s been a hell of a lot more fun this year with them coming together than expecting it every year.”

From 1995 – 2001, I was right there along with him. I expected to be in the world series every year. We went to 2 and won none. I guess I like to live my sports life somewhere between a dynasty & doormats. I want to know that my teams have a chance to win it all.

Our Fate is in our own hands
Will we make the playoffs? I hope so. Will I stay awake and watch (via my iPad) a 16-inning game against the A’s on August 31st? Yes. Because for me, its about being a fan and rooting, rally cap and all for my team to pull out the win. We have 29 games left. 14 are against the Tigers and White Sox. So, if we are going to win the AL Central, we are not going to be scoreboard watching. We win big in those 14 games, we make the playoffs. We don’t and we rest up for next year.

Go Tribe.

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