So happy to see the Indians in October baseball

Chris Crowell

I’d trade my sense of smell to take part in a champagne celebration. It looks like the second-most fun activity in the entire world. The most fun activity in the world, you ask? Watching this Cleveland Indians team win the World Series. For that I’d trade my sense of smell, my signed Herbert Perry baseball and the final 20 years of my life.

I am entirely focused on the Indians. School work, food, showering on a regular basis – everything is secondary to the Tribe. I don’t even mean watching games. Simply sitting in a dark room and thinking about how much I love this team is a higher priority in my life than putting on deodorant, eating, and getting my Masters.

I know I’m not alone in my obsession, but I also know there are many out there who pouted about losing seasons and jumped off the bandwagon. Some didn’t even get back until last month. This column, much like this up-coming October, isn’t for you. Stop reading this like you stopped following this team.

Are all of the bandwagoners gone? Good. Now, to the rest of my rabid, Tribe-watching brethren: Enjoy the next month as much as you can. You earned it. We watched every game during 2002 when Mark Shapiro blew the team up and started over. We watched all of the dismal 2003 season. We watched a big, dumb, traitor from Chicago take his bat to Philadelphia. We talked ourselves into Bill Selby, Alex Escobar, Ricky Gutierrez, Chris Magruder and Jason Davis because we believed in Shapiro’s plan.

We saw a foundation take root in 2004. We saw Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner become special. We saw this team get to within a game of first in late August before folding. We saw 2005. We fell in love with Grady Sizemore. We watched C.C. Sabathia mature. We watched the sun get in Sizemore’s eyes in Kansas City, which started a losing streak that ruined a 93-win season. (The Sun-ball Slump)

We watched 2006 and immediately forgot it ever happened. We all knew 2007 would be the year. Sure, we knew it all the other years (except maybe 2003), but we REALLY knew it this year. We knew our dedication to this team would pay off.

We’ve now seen more core players emerge from our farm system in Fausto Carmona, Franklin Gutierrez, Raffy Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera. We’ve seen the return of old friend, and I do mean old, Kenny Lofton. We’ve seen Paul Byrd find his inner not-Paul Byrd and pitch tremendous all year. We’ve seen Rafael Betancourt, always a reliable right-hander, become, in my opinion, the most valuable player on the team. We’ve seen Trot Nixon discover his love of the culinary arts.

I’m more proud to root for this team than any I’ve ever followed. There are no jerks or showboaters. There are no high-priced, hired-gun free agents. It is a group of likeable guys that play hard every night. They produce dramatic wins and walk-off homers. They’ve revived Jacobs Field magic and won more than 50 games at home (which hasn’t been done since 1996). And best of all, they aren’t done yet.

I’ve craved October baseball for half a decade and now it is here. I’ve cut all non-Indians t-shirts out of my wardrobe. I’ve cut ties with anyone who isn’t a true fan. Many want to compare this team to those from the ’90s. I don’t. I want this team to win a World Series. This team deserves it, and us fans deserve it too. Well, some of us anyway.

Contact sports columnist Chris Crowell at [email protected].