We have a number of various formulas and statistics in order to compare players and teams throughout history. We could pull up the offensive statistics of the 2015 Indians, and when we’re done weeping, we could compare those to the offensive statistics of the 2005 Indians (or any team, really). We have no quantifiable way to measure how annoying a team may be, when compared to others from the past. All I have is my bitterness and diminished mental state as evidence that the 2015 Indians are one of the most annoying teams in my lifetime. Allow me to un-clench my fists for a few minutes as I explore why they annoy me, and try to convince you that they are the 1927 Yankees of annoying teams.
Let’s start with Sunday’s game, since I’m still kind of mad about it (and they even won it!) Stan Massey already hit the important points of the match-up, but their problems yesterday are so obnoxious it’s worth revisiting. I traveled to Cincinnati for the game, driving eight hours round-trip in extreme heat. My friend works for the Reds Hall of Fame, and the high point of the day was visiting with her, and a friend from Indianapolis I met for the game. It felt like we were sitting in the middle of a sauna (I think with heat index, the temperature hovered around 99 for much of the day) and I was not smart about sunblock or water consumption. I’m just going to go ahead and blame that on the Indians too, and say I got so angrily distracted by the game that I forgot to go refill my water bottle. (Seriously, I said I was still mad) By the time I arrived back in Cleveland around 1 a.m. I was still dehydrated and angry; I needed Monday’s off-day just for my mental health at this point.
In reference to all of the bases-loaded walks, IPL contributor Adam Burke pointed out that the Indians have more bases-loaded walks this season (11), than they do bases-loaded hits. (although this stat was tweeted before the game went into extra innings – it now stands at 12 bases-loaded walks). At this point, I feel like their ineptitude almost requires a level of skill. It almost takes effort to poop-the-bed in bases-loaded situations time and time again – they’re hitting just .139/.237/.167 with the bases juiced. They also have an absurdly low BABIP of .154 in bases-loaded situations; there’s obviously a bad luck component here as well, but that’s a heck of a lot of bad luck. Curse level bad luck, perhaps? If you think that is bad, if you move to a situation where the bases are loaded and there are two outs, the Indians are hitting just .075/.229/.075 with a .103 BABIP.
I think what makes the 2015 Indians so very annoying is that you keep thinking “this can’t continue.” Like there’s going to be a game where they FINALLY break out of this funk and are closer to the team we hoped for prior to the season. All day on Sunday, their performance started to seem almost comical to me (if I could ignore the burning rage). I mean, they *have* to get a hit with the bases loaded at some point, right? It’s more of a statistical anomaly to me that they continue to be this bad in these situations. We keep hoping that they’re not going to continue to strand runners in the double digits, or go 0 for 1 billion with runners in scoring position. Yet here we are, over and over and over again, like some kind of Groundhog Day of offensive ineptitude. And even though you should be completely used to it by now, you still think somewhere in the back of your mind “okay *now* they’ll turn it around, right?” This makes you even more annoyed, because you know that if they were even just normal…not even good, just not so wildly below normal, they could easily be contending right now. At the end of April I said “it’s early, they have to be better in May.” Then at the end of May I thought “okay, they’ll have to turn this around in June…they’ll warm up with the weather.” Then at the end of June I thought “okay, now July is really their month,” and so far in July they’re still only hitting .229/.305/.349. It’s been four months; if something was going to change by now, it probably would’ve changed.
Instead of accepting that maybe I hoped for too much from the 2015 season, that this team just isn’t as good as I hoped they’d be (or that I think they could suddenly become), I just go into a rage and stew about how mad the Indians make me. They’re almost a chore to watch this season, I feel like I should be punching a time card somewhere and collecting money just for doing so. And it would be most logical to just stop watching if they’re making me so mad, but for some reason I can’t. Every day, without fail, I either flip on the television or head down to Progressive Field to watch in person. They’ll get my hopes up for three or four days (like the Tampa Bay sweep, or taking three of four from the Astros) before flushing all of my dreams right down the toilet. Maybe it’s because for some sad, misguided reason I still keep thinking that they could turn it around and play well consistently.
At this point, when someone asks me what I think the Indians should do, I just go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I suggest stranding Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher on a deserted island and leaving them there until the end of their contracts (I’d leave them some food, I’m not a monster). I suggest firing half the team out of a cannon. I suggest experimental shock therapy. (I swear I’m not usually this violent, I’ve just long crossed the bridge to angry-town). They have a bunch of mediocre players that are playing mediocre, or often even below average. Unless someone can get their hands on some magical serum, I fear that the 2015 Indians will continue to annoy us until they mercifully reach the offseason.