Yesterday, the country celebrated its birthday, the 235th of the good old USA.
Baseball fans celebrated the halfway point of its long season. A marathon, not a sprint longtime fans of the sport will tell you.
Well, the Cleveland Indians arrived at that point of the campaign in first place in the American League Central Division, something not many people forecast coming into the season.
Yes, all kinds of things could happen the rest of the year. The Tribe could play like they did in the early part of June, when their offense couldn’t score any runs, the defense started to betray them, and the starting pitching showed some holes.
Whatever the case, the Cleveland Indians sit on top of the division with a one and a half game lead on Detroit. Whenever you hear die-hard Tribe fans complain about the team, they will say they just want a team that can compete. Well Indian fans, you have what you are looking for.
Yet, there still doesn’t seem to be much of a buzz surrounding this baseball team. Heck, you have to be excited if you watched last night, when Austin Kearns of all people, hit a three run homer to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead against the New York Yankees.
Fans, including us, complain about the ownership, which seems to be the reason people are not flocking to Progressive Field in support of this team. If that is the reason not to go to the ballpark, you are biting off your nose to spite your face. You are missing out on watching a team that plays hard, are solid people, and have maybe the best bullpen in the sport.
It shouldn’t matter who is the owner at this point. They don’t appear on the field. They aren’t making the catches, throwing the pitches, or hitting a breaking ball the opposite way for a two run insurance dinger like Carlos Santana did last night.
Team president Mark Shapiro said the team has money to spend to add to the team at the trading deadline. If you’re ticked that they haven’t made a move just yet, no one has. There are still too many teams who think they still have a chance.
It is doubtful GM Chris Antonetti will make a blockbuster move because that would involve using one of the organizations top prospects, and it wouldn’t be a good deal to move guys like Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Alex White, or Drew Pomerantz on a rental player.
Staying away from the ball park means you are missing Asdrubal Cabrera transform into one of the best shortstops in the big leagues. You are missing Santana’s development as a hitter, and Travis Hafner’s rebirth as Pronk.
You are not seeing Josh Tomlin define what a “pitcher” is all about, and seeing Carlos Carrasco mature as a legitimate starting pitcher before our eyes.
You are also missing the “bullpen mafia” do its thing, led by all-star Chris Perez, who has already saved 20 games.
This is not to defend the past actions of the Dolan ownership. They still gave up on two seasons when they authorized the trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez in 2009. But it turns out that Carrasco (obtained for Lee) and Justin Masterson (traded for Martinez) have turned out to be cornerstones of the starting rotation.
Enjoy this Tribe summer. Enjoy the pennant race. If you are a baseball fan, you don’t have anything else to do.