I’m going to take a little stroll down memory lane if that’s okay with all of you.
In just a few short hours, the new-look Tribe will embark on the home portion of their schedule. What a (actually not so) long and strange trip it has been over the past few months.
To start with, this was my first submission here at IPL. It was a lamentation of pure and admitted jealously; a resignation of the team that I had followed all of my life was apparently content to wallow in mid- to low-market purgatory. In hindsight, it was probably not the best way to introduce myself to everyone here, simply because I wasn’t saying anything that none of us did not already know. It just so happened that I was watching the Blue Jays essentially liquidate the Marlins with a potentially franchise-altering trade that had me steaming. For as much as it was interesting to hear the news pour in literally by the second as it was unfurling, the hotter my blood pressure began to boil. You could have fried an egg on my forehead that day. I had to get it out somehow.
Then, a short time later, Mark Shapiro basically told us that expectations are not to be had, and we should spend money for the experience of being at a seventy-five percent empty ballpark. I thought he was crazy and completely unappreciative of those who would spend nearly three hours a day watching his sorry excuse of a baseball team stagger its way through an August that I never want to sit through again. It was a strikingly different tack that Shapiro would take at the time. But none of us knew that this awkward and strident (for him, anyway) outburst may have actually been by design.
It was at that point where things started to change. Nobody anywhere thought that we could hire a guy like Terry Francona to lead this team unless we promised to destroy everything and anything he held dear, or if we actually follow through on Stephanie’s ill-fated kidnapping attempts. Cleveland is a place where people’s baseball careers go to die now. Why would he come here? Man, I wish I was a fly on the walls during the conversations.
Then the Nick Swisher acquisition. (Huh? How…?) The miraculous Choo trade that netted us a potential future ace (Saturday’s tape has been burned.) And Michael Bourne? Giving us speed that we haven’t had since Kenny was in his prime? For well below market-value? That’s quite a haul for a franchise who seemed intent on staying squarely within the confines of their Moneyballed cocoon.
Today, the home crowd gets to see the newly-unwrapped presents that for the most part, looks like a very strong lineup. And with our usual whipping boy Ubaldo Jimenez looking stronger in his first start than he has ever been since coming over to here, there’s something that’s exciting going on here if he can keep that up. I know, that’s akin to a lottery ticket, but…
And now it’s time to back up a livable road-split with a strong homestand. For a team that has finally stepped out of the baseball Stone Age in how you combat the lopsided “competitive advantage” problem, what better way to start than to take a series from the Yankees? Let’s go, boys.