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Opinion: 2014 a season of hope for Cleveland Indians fans after postseason loss to Tampa Bay Rays

Cleveland Indians pitcher Danny Salazar throws the ball during the American League Wild Card game Oct. 2 at Progressive Field. Tampa Bay won, 4-0. Courtesy of MCT

Cleveland Indians pitcher Danny Salazar throws the ball during the American League Wild Card game Oct. 2 at Progressive Field. Tampa Bay won, 4-0.
Courtesy of MCT

It was a feeling unlike any I had ever had before.

On Oct. 2 — just six short months ago — I stood amidst 44,000 people waving towels, adrenaline coursing through my veins.

A lifelong Cleveland sports fan, I’d never been afforded the opportunity to attend a playoff game in Cleveland for quite a few reasons — the first and foremost being that Cleveland doesn’t afford many playoff opportunities to its long suffering fans.

Last year, however, the Cleveland Indians gave the city a glimmer of hope.

Ending the 2013 regular season on an 10-game winning streak, the Indians secured home field advantage for the American League Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Rays and brought some of the magic of the mid-1990s back to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

I’d only seen the aforementioned magic on TV, as I lived more than a thousand miles away from all of the action — I am from Florida — but knew how special Progressive Field was during the multiple World Series runs and finally, I got to experience it firsthand.

It was a night I’ll never forget.

As the Indians made their way out onto the field, the stadium roared unlike anything I’d ever heard. With each pitch, excitement intensified and the crowd grew more and more tense until, just like that, it was over.

Despite multiple opportunities to bring in enough runs to secure the one-game, win-or-go-home victory, the Indians fell to the Rays 4-0, adding another sporting heartbreak to the litany of missed opportunities in “Believeland.”

Thousands of fans left Progressive Field, but it just didn’t seem as if it — the season, the magic, the run — could truly be over. Heads were held as high as their hopes. The many fans knew, just as I and everyone in the clubhouse knew, the Indians could be on the brink of something special.

This special something began last season, as the Indians brought in legendary manager Terry Francona to take over the club, signed former Ohio State Buckeye Nick Swisher to the largest free-agent contract in team history and had outfielder Michael Bourn slip into their hands.

Fans knew for the first time since the ‘90s, the Indians were committed to winning, and after a painfully cold six months of offseason, the Indians’ path toward a World Series continues this season.

A slightly bland offseason in terms of transactions brought the Tribe a new right fielder in David Murphy and a position change for Carlos Santana, who will now play third base on a regular basis, but also cost them two veteran starting pitchers — Ubaldo Jimenez to the Baltimore Orioles and Scott Kazmir to the Oakland Athletics — who were each an instrumental part of last season’s playoff run.

In terms of change, however, that’s about it.

A majority of the team we saw last season will suit up again in 2014, looking to pick up exactly where they left off.

The outfield should mirror last season’s production, but Bourn’s legs still seem to be giving him trouble, as he is currently on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. The infield should be retooled as well, with Santana bringing his big bat to the hot corner. As for the pitcher-catcher battery, that’s where most of the questions lie.

How will Yan Gomes handle a full season behind the plate? Can Danny Salazar prove to be the same pitcher we saw at the end of last season? Will Justin Masterson become an elite-caliber ace? Will the bullpen — with the newly acquired John Axford and recently refurbished Vinnie Pestano — be sturdy enough to handle the eighth and ninth innings?

While no one knows what will happen, “Tribe Town” will be along for the ride throughout the summer, finding the answers to these questions on a game-by-game basis.

As the Indians reconvened for spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., in February, Swisher handed out red T-shirts to each player on the team.

Custom T-shirts have been Swisher’s thing since he’s arrived back home in Ohio. He’s often been seen wearing his creations with phrases such as “Awesome Amazingness” and the cult-classic “Brohio” proudly displayed across his chest.

This shirt, however, was different.

Upon this red shirt read a simple, two-word mantra that will define the city of Cleveland and its beloved baseball team throughout this summer.

For the 2014 Cleveland Indians, this season is completing “Unfinished Business.”


  1. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats’ great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of a decade of assault, and 9th Circuit case 11-56043.

  2. With either the willfully blind approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoot energy weaponry at me and my pets. Recent harm to animals include: two kittens from a pregnant stray i took in were killed a few hours ago. They shot the eye out or removed the eye of a large really good natured stray at the port, hobbled another cat at the port, shooting it with energy weaponry, and routinely kill and leave dead animals in my path. A few years ago one of them threatened, prophetic, ‘we’ll just kill a cat every so often’, in so many words. This has continued despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and my petitions in court. In the usual case, it appears that the right goes to a judicial crony for a ruling permitting them to harm animals to retaliate against me for my free speech. There’s no serious argument but that they interfered with my personal life and economic options for 3 decades, so their solution to my noting it is to kill animals. Makes perfect sense right? It does if you’re virtually sociopathic and hawkish. Invariably their lies are exposed and the wrongfulness of the harm is clear to everyone, though not until the animals have been maimed or killed. There is really only one solution, and that’s to disempower them politically.
    Typically operating through Puppets–including puppets in the judiciary–the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. The right has accomplished its political objectives by presenting a fraction of the evidence to judicial officials who, having seen the pattern dozens of times before, could not help but realize that they were being presented with incomplete and inaccurate information.

  3. This issue is the absurdity of absurdities. Let me get this straight: the purpose of the Sin Tax is to gouge those who purchase alcohol and cigarettes not because anyone is trying to discourage consumption but rather so the County can use that money to pay for sports stadiums that do not produce anything but a fleeting moment witnessing the passing of a football, the dribbling of a basketball and the throwing of a baseball so that such a minute tidbit of diversion can be enjoyed by all. The stupidity of this proposition is enough to make your head spin even though the spin doctors advocating passage of this nonsense are already doing a pretty good job of hypnotizing the voters to actually consider supporting it. At least the Robber Barons of the previous centuries provided something tangible such as oil, steel, railroads etcetera. These team owners do not even provide one tangible thing that could ever be considered with the term “value added.” Almost everyone discusses this “enterprise” as though it is the same thing as industry {which it is not}. The price of admission is essentially a voluntary tax paid by those who can afford it to pay those who don’t need it. If this isn’t a transfer of wealth I don’t know what is.

    The real outrage here is the fact that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes will not be used to aid in the reduction of addiction {hence the reference to “sin”} but rather to stuff the pockets of all three teams who could easily afford to pay for the repairs themselves. The vote was rammed through the last time {under somewhat suspicious circumstances} and hear we go again. But this time…not so fast!!! We the voters of Cuyahoga County are going to fight the proponents on this one and we don’t care if the teams up and go somewhere else {please see my views on entertainment below} because quite frankly there are simply more important things than sports and the unearned money that comes with it. Those in public office who are too stupid and lazy to find other ways to grow a major American city need to resign and leave their self-seeking political ambitions on the scrapheap of history. Don’t ever let it be said that this was time when the tide ran out on Cuyahoga County but rather was the time when the voters rose up to welcome the rising tide of change and rebuked this pathetic paradigm our previous elected leaders embraced. Let the battle be joined.

    And now to the real underlying issue at hand:

    One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host, team-owner, etcetera brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and tribulations as did the jesters in the king’s court during the middle ages. But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable. They do not provide a product or a service so why are they rewarded as such?

    Our society is also subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem and a alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves would be to tax this undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

    The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment above everything else; isn’t it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

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