It has been six years since the Indians have played in the postseason. For some fans, it also has been six years since really paying attention to baseball. For a lot, 2007’s brutal ending still stings — 3-1 series lead on the Boston Red Sox, CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona set to pitch, excitement everywhere, then ...
It slipped away.
The Indians pretty much have stunk since. Until this season.
Of course, this is Cleveland and this playoff appearance could be over quickly. The wild-card playoff “play-in” is a one-game, winner-take-all for the chance to go onto one of the American League Divisional Series. Those Red Sox, who had the AL’s best record this year, await.
Anyway, since there’s not a lot of time to study, and because you really want to sound smart while watching the game with friends, here’s a little primer to get you through at least this game.
A: Asdrubal Cabrera. He was the fresh-faced, slick fielding rookie second baseman for the Tribe in 2007. He now is a hairy, all-star shortstop coming off an underwhelming season.
B: Boston. The Red Sox beat us in 2007, depriving us of a trip to the World Series. They await the winner of the Tribe game.
C: Chironomidae, non-biting midges (also known as muffleheads in the Great Lakes region of North America). Who could forget New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain losing to the bugs in 2007.
D: As in Dr. Smooth, the nickname for Michael Brantley, the Indians clutch-hitting left fielder.
E: As in Euclid Avenue, the street where we hold all of our championship parades. Lol.
F: As in Terry Francona. He’s the former Boston manager who won two World Series titles, then got fired in 2011. He came here voluntarily to lead the rebuilding Indians. His dad, Tito, was a popular Indians outfielder in the 1960s.
G: As in Goon Squad. It’s what the Tribe’s rag-tag bench players Jason Giambi, Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles call themselves.
H: As in Mike Hargrove. No, folks. He’s no longer the Indians’ manager. But, he does work in the team’s front office.
I: Happy Iott was a center fielder for the Cleveland Naps in 1903. Middle name was Id. We made up that last part.
J: John Adams is that guy who’s been beating that drum in the bleachers for 40 years. God bless him.
K: The Indians hang a “K” in right field every time an Indians pitcher strikes out a hitter. We’re hoping for 27 of them Wednesday.
L: For Larry Dolan, the Indians owner who dug into his pockets last winter to sign key free agents Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn and Francona.
M: That’s as in Justin Masterson, the Tribe’s 6-foot-6 all-star right-handed pitcher.
N: Nick Swisher, the Ohio State Buckeye and slugger who signed as a free agent in the off-season.
P: That would be for Chris Perez. But, unless you want kicked out of the playoff game party, don’t mention his name or the name of his dog.
Q: Joe Quest, Forest Citys in 1871, Joe Quinn, Spiders in 1898, and Jamie Quirk, Indians in 1979.
R: Roberto Hernandez, the real name of Fausto Carmona, the Indians flash-in-the-pan 19-game winner in 2007.
S: Sister Mary Asumpta, Indians blessed super-fan and Catholic nun featured in the movie Major League. She was everywhere during the heavenly 1990s. She has since retired to Seattle.
T: Tom Hamilton screaming “Ball game!” after every Tribe victory.
U: For who else, Ubaldo Jimenez, the much-maligned Indians starter who has pitched like Bob Feller since July after smelling worse than a discarded steelhead on the East 55th Street pier during his first two years in Cleveland.
V: As in Omar Vizquel, wish you were here. Same with Bill Veeck.
W: Eric Wedge was the Tribe manager in ’07. He just quit as Seattle’s skipper.
X: The only letter in the alphabet without a ball player. Look it up.
Y: As in Yan Gomes, the Indians catcher and a big contributor to the team’s success. Also, no Yankees. Baseball’s most-expensive roster didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Z: Chief Zimmer played 13 seasons for the Cleveland Blues/Spiders, 1887-92 serving as Cy Young’s catcher.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.