Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
COLLIN PERRY | STAFF COLUMNIST | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my favorite baseball movies is “A League of Their Own.” Of course, the most memorable line in the movie comes when the Rockford Peaches coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) insults Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram). After the insult, Gardner begins to cry.
“Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball.”
After Game 7, at 12:50 a.m. on Nov. 3, there was a lot of crying in baseball. Especially in northeast Ohio.
If you are not from Ohio or from Cleveland, let me just remind you what my state went through.
On June 19, the Cavaliers broke the curse preventing Cleveland from winning any titles in any professional sports, after coming back from an almost insurmountable three games to one deficit against a team that had the best record in professional basketball history. It was the city’s first title since 1964.
Gone was the nickname ‘mistake by the lake’. Gone was the sliver of hope followed by defeat.
The dark years were over, and Cleveland was the pinnacle of the sports world.
Not only did this momentum ride on the basketball court, it was seen on almost every different professional level in the city (except the Browns, obviously). Cleveland’s minor league hockey team, the Lake Erie Monsters, won the Calder Cup—the championship in the American Hockey League—in early June. Beginning during the NBA finals and running into July, the Indians won 14 games in a row, a franchise record.
Just like the blue-collar work environment for Clevelanders, the Indians’ march to the World Series was not pretty. They lost starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer at some point during the last two months of the year. They never had former all-star outfielder Michael Brantley all season.
Yet the team rallied together to win the division, swept the Red Sox back to Boston and forced Toronto into hockey season.
They were one game away from winning their first world championship since 1948.
Everything followed the script. Cleveland was going to be the city of champions.
Then Game 5 happened, and the Cubs sent it back to Progressive Field. And in Game 6, I watched helplessly as Naquin and Chisenhall let a pop fly drop between them and give the Cubs a chance in Game 7.
It is Nov. 4 as I am writing this, and I am watching the Cubs parade on television.
It could have been Cleveland. It could have been Jose Ramirez spraying champagne down Euclid Ave. It could have been Andrew Miller and Mike Napoli at the podium, rallying the 1.5 million fans packed on the mall.
Could have been.
Instead, the Cubs held on in extra innings. Instead, one of the most dramatic baseball games of all time ended a curse that lasted 108 years. Instead, hearts all across Ohio were crushed.
Even Rajai Davis’s home run off of the hardest throwing pitcher in the history of baseball was not enough.
The Cubs won. Cleveland lost.
Words cannot accurately describe how crushed I was and still am about that game.
So, I will look for the future. The Cavaliers are still champions. Lebron still plays for them. And there is plenty of hope for next year’s edition of Indians baseball.
Honestly, this team is set for 2017. They return almost everyone from this year’s team, including all pitchers. Michael Brantley is set to return, and Terry Francona will lead the team until at least 2019. Though I am depressed and upset, next year is still bright for Cleveland.