In honor the 25th (Um..27th. I’ve REALLY been taking my sweet time on this) anniversary of the movie Major League, I am attempting to chronicle the events of the movie from the perspective of a sports blogger.
State of Shock
From what I can tell, Cleveland is in a state of shock. The Indians’ miracle run to – and subsequent elimination from – the playoffs was so improbable that nobody seems able to wrap their minds around it. It feels more like something you’d see in a movie than in real life.
Some fans are complaining that the Indians played without energy in the ALCS. They said that the players looked happy just to be there, but really, why wouldn’t be they? Before the season began, absolutely no one expected this team to succeed. Some pundits predicted that this would be the worst team in franchise history (and that’s a LOW bar). Even the delusionally optimistic fans were only talking about ways in which the Indians could finish with a winning record. The playoffs seemed so far-fetched that the possibility was never even mentioned.
Even with the benefit of hindsight, I’m not sure how it happened. Looking at the Indians’ roster, I still can’t figure out how this wasn’t a last place team. Who figured that every washed up veteran on the team would not only stay healthy, but also have a career season? What are the chances that a couple guys who had never played above AA (Willie Hayes and Pedro Cerrano) would become the best leadoff man in baseball and a 25-homer hitting middle-of-the-lineup force?
Around late August, as the Indians began their surge, most fans stopped trying to understand what was happening it and started enjoying the ride. After all, this is Cleveland! Good things don’t happen to our sports teams! I think many people were afraid that if they started questioning it too much, the magic might stop.
Once they vanquished the Yankees – especially considering how amazing that game was – it seemed inevitable that this team would win the World Series. Unfortunately, the White Sox had other ideas. Led by series MVP Jack Parkman (who just happens to be a free agent), the White Sox methodically dismantled the Indians in a four-game sweep.
We shouldn’t let that defeat sour our memories of the season. Even though they didn’t win the World Series, this was possibly the greatest season in Indians history; at the very least, it was the most memorable.
One day, many years from now, we’ll likely tell our grandchildren about this team. We’ll talk about Eddie Harris’ gutsy performance, about how Rick Vaughn stared down Clu Heywood, and about Jake Taylor’s heroic bunt. We’ll talk about how manager Lou Brown took a team that nobody believed in, and gave the city of Cleveland something to cheer about again.
They may not have World Series rings, but who cares? In my eyes, the Cleveland Indians are the true champions of baseball!