Here we go, folks.
We’re approaching that mid-summer period where the Terry Francona-led Indians collectively realize they need to start playing hard every day. I know I’m probably getting ahead of myself given the disastrous trip the Indians had to the Bay Area this past week, but really — on a Terry Francona team, who could be expected to bring their A-game on a five-hour flight for a whole week? That’s far from home!
I imagine most players’ A-games are pretty heavy, too. Can you imagine the baggage fees the team would rack up trying to take their best baseball all the way to California for seven whole games? It’s just not worth it!
Joking aside, the Indians are about to do their yearly patented mid-summer run where everyone realizes they’re a good team. It’s what they do. I mean, it all started in 2013 when Jason Giambi banished Addison Reed and the White Sox to the shadow realm en route to the Indians running the table and getting into the wild card game. In 2014, the Indians weren’t great (and did underachieve) but they set their high water mark for the season, 8 games over .500, at the end of September. 2015 was even worse, with a disastrous campaign from everyone involved… but the Indians hit a season-high one game above .500 on October 4th, in the last game of the season.
It seems redundant at this point, but the 2016 Indians, the team that went to the World Series, they ended their season at the high water mark, as well, finishing 27 games over .500 on the last day of the season.
I could go back and look at every Terry Francona team ever, but I value my sanity, so I won’t. I think it’s pretty clear the impact that Tito has on his baseball teams. Terry’s managerial legacy has always been to inspire his team to play the hardest when it matters in the baseball season. Of course, if we go back to the Chicken and Beer Red Sox in 2011 (Sidenote: We call that 치맥 in Korea, and it’s a compound word abbreviation of 치킨 for chicken and 맥주 for beer), we see a team that took advantage of the loose culture Terry runs and ended up collapsing in spectacular fashion.
These Indians in 2017 ~ they’re not going to do that. They’ve been lying in wait, waiting to give that 110% effort that can propel a franchise to a championship, and derail some into the oblivion of Tommy John surgery. I think the Indians, at home, are about to go on a run, be it 10 in a row, or 12 out of 15, or 16 out of 20… I think we will enter the later stages of August talking about the Dodgers, Astros, and Indians as the three best teams in baseball. And I don’t think the talking heads would be crazy to put the Indians first, either.
Just wait and see.