Like pretty much every Indians fan, I was pretty disappointed by the outcome of World Series. I mean, that’s kind of a no-brainer. But for some reason, I let that disappointment overwhelm me during the offseason and I spent a good bit of time moping. Which is actually a little silly if you think about it – fans of 28 other teams would have killed just to see a World Series. With all of the injuries the Indians endured, a friend and I joked that they were playing on “house money” as the ALCS started. How could I feel so cranky when I should just be happy for the experience?
Maybe because it was so very close. To be up 3 games to 1 and see the lead trickle away to a game 7. And then just when I’d started to accept that this just was not the Indians’ year, Rajai Davis homered and tied the game. Could something I dreamed about seeing since I was a kid be minutes away from happening? But when game 7 finally ended, I was at peace with the outcome. I refused to stay and watch the Cubs celebrate – I high-tailed it for the exits at Progressive Field that night. But I was okay…I accepted that it was just Chicago’s year.
But the weird thing – as the winter progressed, I actually grew more upset. I refused to watch any highlights from the game or even so much as look at a box score. I didn’t have the heart to watch a replay of the Davis home run until January. Just a week ago I finally looked at the box score and was surprised to see the final score was 8-7. That night everything was such a blur, and by ignoring any mention of the game I’d essentially forgotten most of the important details.
So I essentially spent the offseason sulking, and avoiding writing any retrospectives about 2016 or previews about 2017. Every time someone tells me how great the team will be this upcoming season, I sigh and say “no, it will end in misery.” I’ve never been the world’s most positive person, but for some reason I ended up in a dark and bitter place (that’s dark and bitter even for me) this offseason. I can’t remember how many times I angrily said “they’re probably not even going to make the playoffs” when someone tried to give me a pep talk about how the new season would make me feel better. I kept mentioning 2008, which is absurd because the 2017 Indians are very very different from the 2007-08 team. I guess I was bound to be Debbie Downer until I got it out of my system.
A visit to Goodyear this spring actually helped some, since watching actual baseball made me forget the disappointment of last fall. I followed the Baseball World Classic almost religiously, even though I wasn’t initially that excited about the tournament. I feel like I’ve been slowly dipping my toes back into the baseball waters. Still afraid that I’ll be pummeled by some waves of disappointment, but unable to stay away for too long.
Even if they’re not able to make it back to the World Series in 2017, there are a lot of things that could make this a fun season. Things like the Edwin Encarnacion signing, and the potential return of Michael Brantley. Like Yandy Diaz making the opening day roster, and a strong core of players returning from last year. There are things to cause concern – like Jason Kipnis’s shoulder injury and the struggles and elbow issues endured by Carlos Carrasco this spring. But with a ton of tickets already sold for this season, it means that crowds should be rocking this summer at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, as opposed to nights where I was joined at the ballpark by hundreds of empty seats.
It’s been almost 5 months since I walked to our car in the rain as the Cubs celebrated on our home field. While I’m still sad, the beauty of baseball is that there is always next year. And next year is already here.