The World Series begins tonight, and yeah, I’ve noticed who the Game 1 starting pitchers are:
I was half-heartedly following the Dodgers at the outset of baseball’s postseason, on account of the fact that their roster is lousy with ex-Indians: Jim Thome, Ronnie Belliard, Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez all helped L.A. make it to the playoffs.
I’ve had people suggest to me that I should be bothered about watching guys who played for my team making it to the Series while playing for others. I’ve even had people — Pirates fans, by the way — try to draw parallels between what’s going on with my Indians and what’s happening with Cleveland’s “professional” football team.
Sorry, but there’s no comparison. The folks who own and run the football team have yet to demonstrate that they have the ability to do so, but the Indians’ front office staff has shown just the opposite. Yes, it’s a small-market team, and they’re not only aware of those limitations, but they have done a good job of working the still-flawed baseball financial system to their advantage. Following the Indians means you’re following a cycle. Every five or six years, the team will contend. When that two-season stretch is over, the superstars will be moved in exchange for younger players that the Indians have demonstrated over and over and over can be developed into solid big-leaguers.
That’s how it works in Cleveland. And while this season was frustrating, I’m OK with the big picture.
And I thank God every day that I’m not a Pirates fan.
So. Back to the Series. We’re down to the Phillies and the Yankees, and I can’t really base any kind of rooting decision on players who used to play in Cleveland, because outside of Cliff and C.C., there aren’t any others still playing.
Other possible variables:
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. He is an ex-Indian, and I still love the idea of hard-bitten East Coast baseball writers trying to decipher his West Virginiaisms.
Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. He’s from Columbus. He’s a Buckeye. And he did this during a visit to Progressive Jacobs Field earlier this year:
Nick’s presence in the Series makes it tough, but I’m still going to fall back on one of Uncle Crappy’s Basics of Baseball: ABY.
That stands for Anybody But the Yankees. Go Philly.