FINALLY. Spring training is in full swing, and the team took their first full-squad practice the other day. As I am sitting here looking out my window at the snow, all I can think is that maybe there is something finally brewing over there in Goodyear, Arizona. Something that we have been waiting for for a very very long time. Honestly, it sure feels that way, and it is something that I don’t really every remember having before. I understand that this might sound like we are all fair weather fans after our success of last season, but when you look at it, all of they hype that the tribe is stirring up is justified.
For the past couple seasons when spring training came around, it was always more of a “let’s see who we can bring up to maybe give us a better chance” type of deal. There really was no guarantee that we were going to make any progress at all, and it was almost more of a therapy session. I would watch the games thinking “well…maybe, but the conditions have to be right.” We all had hope that maybe they could be something, but it was always shadowed by the misfortunes of our past. However, it’s a little different this time around, and I am not just saying that because I am a super fan or because we actually did well last season, I just think we finally have met those conditions.
First off, even though we lost in the wild card game last season…we STILL made it to the playoffs. Also, while some teams would come home disappointed and it would rock them into the next season, for us Cleveland fans, it gave us HOPE and opened up the skies to make us realize that we really do have something going here. For seasons we have always been the team that kind of drags their feet, and worries about what will happen by the end of the season, but now that we got a little taste of the glory, we know what we can do. Momentum is key in all sports, and just that little preview of what we are capable of gave us that momentum, and is still going strong into spring training.
Next, we have (finally) one of the best coaches in the league. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed when we got him, but boy did I eat my words. Yes yes yes I know that some super fans still have a bitter taste in their mouth for what he did with the Red Sox against us, but who cares, he is with US now, and that’s all that matters. Plus the fact that he essentially turned this team around in a single season! That is something that few can do. He has a drive and a level of expectation that is hard to meet, but because of this, our players try their hardest and know that the minute they mess up, they are on the bench. Not to mention the rest of the front office. For a while I was skeptical of them for their decisions, but I trusted them. Thank God I did.
Finally, and most importantly, the team itself. Over the years I have been following the Tribe, I have never seen a team this cohesive and supporting of each other and the fans. They look like, and act like, a team of backyard baseball players. While this might sound like a bad thing, it really isn’t. It shows how confident they really are with each other and with the team. They truly enjoy stepping on the field every game and work together perfectly as a unit. Also, they are GOOD. They can actually play ball, and might be one of the best up and coming teams in the league.
I see lots of good things coming up for these guys, and I truly think these next few years will be the best Indians baseball we have seen in quite a long time.