On paper the match-up between the Tribe and the Cubs is relatively one sided. The Cubs have more bats and their pitching staff is fully intact. They have been the proverbial Team of Destiny throughout much of the season and playoffs. For most fans in the NL the Cleveland Indians aren’t even a team they’ve talked about or have even concerned themselves with until about two days ago. The national conversation has been mostly about three teams, the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rangers leading up to the post season. It was going to be one of these three powerhouse teams, all with solid pitching and like Chicago, all with powerful bats, that would face the Cubs in the end. People just don’t get Cleveland. Cleveland is a town of believers, its a town of hard nosed fans that live and breathe and bleed for their teams and because they do the owners, managers, and players truly immerse themselves in this cult-like Fandom. The LeBron effect. After LeBron and Co. brought a Championship to Cleveland this summer, something changed in the air, in the water, and in how Cleveland fans, and Indians players see the future. 2016 became a special year, a year when a team down 3-1 could beat the Team of Destiny in a way never done before to win an NBA championship. It meant that a team void of Superstar bats could play TEAM baseball and take out offensive juggernauts like the Red Sox and Blue Jays to reach the World Series for the first time in two decades. It meant that even with 2/3 of its pitching staff decimated with freak injuries, that every single player, coach, executive, and fan in the city had the confidence and belief to shrug their collective shoulders and say hey this is 2016 Cleveland, we’ll get it done anyway. So, as game 1 of the World Series inches ever so closer, and the streamers, confetti and celebratory campaign is cleaned off the floors of bars, homes and the streets of Chicago, we Clevelanders welcome you all to our beloved city. As Clevelanders we open our doors to your fans and we thank you for your patronage. We are used to the enemy coming into our city, and we are happy to show you what it means to be a Cleveland Fan. We came from 3-1 down to win a NBA Championship. We believe we can do anything. Our players believe we can beat anyone. We play TEAM baseball. And as far as we are concerned we are only 4 victories away from having the biggest parade in MLB history. You might have not thought about this team until a couple of days ago, but when this series is over and the banner is hanging in Cleveland you will understand what the Cleveland Indians and its fans are all about. You will be hard pressed to stop thinking about Cleveland. We are a city of Champions. Enjoy the show. Indians in 6. Cleveland against the World.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kaan Gencer