Many years ago, back when I was in my first apartment and being a Girl About Town, I got a phone call at about 11:00 on a Saturday night from someone claiming to be a police officer in Sandusky, Ohio, who stated that my friend Joey P. had been arrested for creating a “disturbance” at Cedar Point. In his heyday, Pal Joey excelled at creating disturbances, but why would I be his one phone call? I’m no lawyer. My B.S. meter was reading “high,” and although I hate the phrase, the first words out of my mouth were “Is this for real?”
Over and over, I keep hearing and reading sports analysts ask “Are the Indians for real?” as though no one can believe the hapless Cleveland Indians are winning more baseball games than they are losing. Merriam-Webster defines “real” as: not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory. In the case of my friend Joey, the arrest was artificial–he was just trying to pull my leg. In the case of the Indians, I don’t think their enchanted April was artificial, fraudulent or illusory.
What no one seems to want to admit is that this is a solid team, made up primarily of the same guys who went 35-39 after the All-Star break at the end of last season. Acta seems to have found a core that works, plus reserves who come in and get the job done. It seems that the real reason so many people believe the Indians can’t keep this is up is because, well, it’s the Indians. But the people questioning the legitimacy of the team’s season thus far are probably the same people who still make burning river jokes 40+ years later. They have a singular impression of the team and the city and aren’t going to let the facts get in the way of their opinion. So be it.
It remains to be seen what the rest of the season holds. While the May schedule won’t be easy (I’m especially eager to see how we do against the White Sox) I think the big test will come in June, when we face the Rangers and the Yankees (in New York). I hesitate to say “Heck yeah, the Indians are for real!” simply because I think using the phrase “for real” is a slippery grammatical slope. Next thing you know, I’ll be asking my kid “Where are your shoes at?” and slipping in apostrophes every time I want to write a plural noun, both of which break my little editorial heart. Let’s just say that the 2011 Indians are not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory.