Courtesy of MCT
The leaves in some parts of Columbus are beginning to change and, occasionally, a chill greets me when I walk out the door every morning. That means fall is drawing near, and playoff baseball will soon arrive.
Save for the two Wild Card races in Major League Baseball that have, there haven’t been many hotly contested divisional races.
Now that baseball season is winding down, I must say that I’m surprised to see that the Cincinnati Reds have fallen so far from grace after capturing the National League Central crown in 2010.
Similarly, I was surprised to see the Cleveland Indians challenge for a playoff berth this year in the American League’s Central division.
Neither club will be advancing to the postseason, and since both were in playoff contention for parts of their respective 2011 campaigns, I can’t help but wonder which team was more disappointing this year.
I surveyed the opinions of many friends and contemplated several factors in deciding which baseball team from Ohio was the bigger flop.
The Reds carried greater expectations from their fans into the nearly concluded season. But it was the Indians who seemed a more legitimate contender during the spring and early summer months.
The Tribe held a half-game lead against the eventual Central division champion Detroit Tigers on July 8.
On the same day, the Reds were two-games under .500 and four full games back of the eventual champions of their division, the Milwaukee Brewers.
By Aug. 8, the Indians were four games back of Tigers and were still in contention for a playoff berth.
The Reds, however, were well out of the race at that point, trailing their division leader by 10 games.
Suffice it to say that Cincinnati fans had put the baseball season to bed at that point and were looking forward to the Bengals’ and Bearcats’ respective football seasons.
Unfortunately for long-suffering Cleveland fans, their Indians kept them hanging on longer. Their team kept up in the race.
Bigger crowds returned to Progressive Field and Jim Thome returned to his former club — it was a story written by angels in heaven. It simply wasn’t to be.
The Indians held out longer than their Cincinnatian counterparts and for that reason, are the more disappointing club in the Buckeye State.
The leaves will be crisping soon. Both Progressive Field and Great American Ballpark will be suffer through another cruel winter.
With regard to America’s great ballparks, I hold that much more disdain for the winter months. How unfit it is for the homes of our summer pastime — America’s pastime — to be buried in blankets of snow.
Around December, baseball fans will begin counting down the number of days until pitchers and catchers report. Every team will be even in the standings again.
The interstate rivalry will resume again next season. For now, though, the Indians hold the title of most disappointing Ohioan baseball team.
As if the swift winter winds in Cleveland weren’t harsh enough already.