Whether you were at home watching TV or at your child’s soccer game, if you’re a Cleveland Indians fan, you will probably never forgot where you were the moment Carlos Santana caught a foul ball that sent the Indians to the 2016 World Series. It was almost, but not quite, like when the Cavaliers ended a 52-year Cleveland championship drought.
Cheers erupted throughout Northeast Ohio. In a city that’s accustomed to disappointment, this years’ Indians, so far, have added to the new winning spirit. Unlike the Cavs, few predicted the Indians making it this far into the post season.
There are many reasons for the pleasant surprise.
Young shortstop Francisco Lindor made himself a household name in Cleveland this season, and he's only 22 years old. According to FanGraphs, Lindor had 17 defensive runs saved this season. Offensively, he blasted 15 homeruns, proving he’s an all-around player, who has garnered the respect of his teammates.
Several of those teammates are new veteran additions who held up their ends of the bargain. Mike Napoli had 101 RBIs and 34 homers. Raja Davis had 43 stolen bases and Coco Crisp added a boost to the team as a late addition.
The biggest shocker of them all may have been pitcher Ryan Merritt. Merritt had only a little bit more experience pitching in the big show than I do when he threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Cleveland's American League Championship Series-clinching win.
With Terry Francona at the helm, the chemistry on the team grew throughout the season and it became most apparent in June when the team went on a 14-game winning streak.
Even so, the tribe, just like the city it plays in, is perceived as an underdog, and as they head into the World Series, against the Dodgers or the Cubs, that likely won’t change.
The perception of Cleveland is different than the reality that those who live in The Land know to be true. See, regardless of the lack of star power or the history of its teams, it’s the moments that the entire city share that give it’s teams their edge. No matter where fans may be or how they are watching or listening to a game, the tribe has a city behind them that always rallies together.