First, let’s make sure Progressive Field is full this evening, making up, in part, for the puny crowds that have gathered to watch the Cleveland Indians this season, even as the club soared in September. You have to go back four decades to see a team finish in such style, winning its final 10 games, the Baltimore Orioles delivering something comparable in 1971.
Win this evening against the Tampa Bay, and the Indians head for Boston, a delicious reunion in store, Terry Francona, the manager who led the Red Sox to the championship now most ably in charge in Cleveland. But that’s getting ahead of things, something the faithful must resist at this late date.
For the moment, savor what the Indians have accomplished. They went 21-6 in September, a run in line with what the championship team of 1948 achieved. Just saying. The safe bet at the start of the season was: The club would be improved, Francona at the helm, dipping into the market for free agents. No one expected jumping from 94 losses to 92 wins.
What has been especially appealing is the way the team has performed, the capacity for comebacks, playing as one, no superstar on the premises. There’s nothing better than being delighted by a surprise, and that’s just what the club has delivered. Let’s just say, Progressive Field should be jumping this evening.