That sinking feeling of a playoff loss and a season’s end came too soon last night at Progressive Field. The part where you sit there in front of a TV that you’ve already turned off came next, and then the hope of a new season should have replaced it minutes later.
The Indians weren’t supposed to do this in 2013, even with the relatively high-priced free agents that they added. At the beginning of the season, it was tough to see where the starting pitching was going to come from. It was equally difficult to justify that the Tribe’s lineup would even be able to produce enough runs to support a decent rotation. All of those questions were answered this season in one way or another, and it all came with a ride that most of us didn’t see coming. Nevertheless, it was a ton of fun to see the corner of Carnegie and Ontario re-energized with electricity that was strong enough to come through the television last night.
Now, Chris Antonetti and company will be expected to get back to work and address the shortcomings of this year’s Tribe. For today though, they are due a collective tip of the cap for what they brought Cleveland this year. Terry Francona turned the club around faster than anybody could reasonably ask for, and the fact that fans were left craving more after last night’s postseason departure is a strangely beautiful thing.
The kind of hope that the Indians provided this season is not the false hope that Clevelanders have been forced to try to cling to in years past. There is a special foundation in place for the club’s future, and we’re all excited to see what the offseason and 2014 will bring. Embrace the progress and the process, because these Cleveland Indians aren’t going away anytime soon.
Tonight, we’ll all get a chance to forget some of the pain that came last night. In an even more bizarre turn of events than postseason baseball in Cleveland, the Browns are riding a winning streak that has propelled them to a tie for first place in the AFC North.
Three quarters of the NFL season still remains, but the Fightin’ Chuds have given fans (and the league) more than enough reasons to pay attention for now. Because we blow whichever way the sports winds take us here on the blog, Brandon Weeden’s American flag tank masterpiece has been replaced by an equally great high school Brian Hoyer as the face of Believing Since 1999. It’s not personal, it’s just that you can’t be complacent when it comes to finding irrelevant pictures of your heroes on Google image search. Like most things, heroes change.
Hoyer deserves praise for how he’s operated in this offense. Another home game presents another good opportunity for him to continue to grow in the offense as targets like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron continue to blossom on a national stage. Tonight’s matchup on the lake shore against the Buffalo Bills will present Norv Turner’s offense with a defense that is near the bottom in basically every category. It should be another fun night for Hoyer and the “O”.
“Lockdown” Joe Haden has held true to his nickname this season, and the Bills’ receiving corps shouldn’t throw anything at him and the defensive backfield that they haven’t seen yet this season. Buffalo is 28th in passing yards this season, which may partially explain why they’re second in the league in rushing yards. Billy Winn is definitely out tonight, and he will likely be joined by Quentin Groves and Jabaal Sheard on the sideline. That doesn’t help against a good running offense, but the front seven held up against the Bengals’ run game well enough without the trio last week.
With the postseason exit of one exciting Cleveland team last night, it’s nice to have another one to step in 24 hours later. It will be even better to see them get some love on national television, and they’ve already gotten some of it on the web here and here.
Finally, it might rain tonight. No umbrellas are allowed in the stadium, so it’s about to be ponch o’clock.
It’s good to be back, relevance. Haven’t seen you in a while.