Sunday, September 28, 2008

An incredible closing day for baseball

It was an incredible "closing day" today.

It was especially so if you take off your Tribe-fan hat and view the day as a baseball fan. Or if you have some allegiance to the Milwaukee Brewers, or CC Sabathia.

First the Tribe.

The Indians finished the year with a rather ho-hum 5-1 loss, but that doesn't really tell the story.

They finished off the season at 81-81 and 7 games out of first.

In April, no one expected that kind of finish. We expected much more.

Back in July no one expected that kind of finish either. We were looking at finishing last and about 20-25 games under.

The Tribe was mugged early by injuries, but even more so by underperformance by a number of players and a horrid bullpen.

To the credit of the players and their manager, they turned the chicken crap of a first half into a chicken salad of an ending. Not quite as good as a big, juicy playoff cheeseburger, but at least a digestible ending.

With their play in the second half, the Tribe players managed to offer themselves and their fans a good deal of hope for next season. Eric Wedge should be credited with keeping the team up, and playing hard. And, after sitting out the off-season and helping to put an early kibosh on this season, Mark Shapiro should be credited with getting some legitimate talent to further bolster hopes for next year.

We'll look back - and ahead - at the Tribe in more detail in the next few weeks. But let's get back to an incredible final Sunday.

This will be a day that Brewers fans in particular, and real baseball fans in general, will remember for a while.

Tied with the Mets for the N.L. wild card spot heading into the day, the Brewers were tied 1-1 with Cubs in the 8th in their own park. CC Sabathia was through 8 innings, with 7 Ks and having allowed only 3 hits. But he was due to bat first in the bottom of the eighth and was already well over 100 pitches. The obvious move was to pinch hit for Sabathia.

But, with the season on the line, Breweres interim manager Dale Sveum went against the book and let CC bat so he could pitch the ninth. CC struck out, but three batters later Ryan Braun launched a bomb to left to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead.

At virtually the exact same time at Shea, two different members of the Mets bomb-squad bullpen gave up back-to-back homers in the bottom of the 8th, allowing the Florida Marlins to take their season from them for the second season in a row.

In Milwaukee, with a raucous crowd going nuts, CC finished off the Cubs in the 9th - putting up his 11th win for the Brewers and launching them into the playoffs.

I've watched a fair number of CC's starts since he was traded by the Tribe to Milwaukee, and I've been rooting for the Brewers - because of their small-market kinship with the Tribe- to make it into the playoffs. In spectacular fashion this afternoon, they did.

In the battle for the A.L. Central, which was also up for grabs on the final day, both the White Sox and Twins won rather routine games against the Tribe and Kay-Cee respectively.

But by beating the Sox two of three this weekend, the Tribe exacted revenge from the Sox and their wise ass manager Ozzie Guillen.

The Tribe not did not allow the White Sox to clinch against them, and they sent them into next week still a half game behind the Twins and having to beat both Detroit (in a make-up game) and the Twins (in a tie breaker) to get to the playoffs.

Good enough for me.

It's been a pleasure following the Tribe with you this season. Thanks to all who clicked on this site and especially to those who kept coming back.

Even though the season has ended, we aren't going anywhere. There are some important decisions to be made by the front office between now and the holidays and we'll be around to report and comment on those moves.

Hope you will stick with as the leaves fall and the snow starts to fly.

And hey, remember one thing. It could always be worse. You could be a Mets fan tonight.


the moose said...

the tribe will be fine in 2009

they will rebound it will be an odd year. Hard to believe the season is over 192 days until spring training

what do the indians do for 2009. More to follow

keepers - shoppach, martinez, garko, cabrera, peralta, sizemore, choo, francisco, carroll

goners - marte, gutierrez ( not a starter), delucci,

dont know - pronk,

needs third base and OF

the moose said...

jim thome, CC, and Manny ramirez
in the playoffs

what is the common theme with these players