Friday, October 05, 2007

The Arrival

Going into Game 1, I tried not to get too locked in on how huge the opener of the ALDS was for the Indians.

But it was enormous – as the game that would set the tone for the series, the game that would either make the Yankees mortal or the game that would put them on a higher pedestal in the eyes of some, the game that C.C. needed to win to pave the way for Carmona in Game 2 to ease the burden on the Faustastic One, the game that would either debunk the myth of “playoff experience” or strengthen it.

In a short series, all of the games are important, but none more so than last night’s opener against New York.
If Wang shut down the offense, how would they react and would they start to press?
If C.C. got crushed, what would be the trickle-down effect on the rotation?
If the Yankees came into Jacobs Field and beat the Indians handily, how would the young Tribe rebound?

Of course, all of the questions became moot as the Indians treated the basepaths as their personal merry-go-round, as C.C. bore down to minimize the damage created by him not having his “A” game, and as the bullpen arms (you remember the ones, right, with “no playoff experience”) completely shut the Yankees down.

From the first pitch the Jake was positively electric.
Every pitch, every call, every swing was life or death.
The fans were into the game in a way that they haven’t been in YEARS (and I’ve been to my share of games, particularly since becoming a season ticket holder in 2003…yes, 2003) willing C.C. to get that tough out and for Kenny to pretend it was 1995 all over again.

Having only been to one playoff game at the Jake (the late 90s run coincided with my collegiate years), and that one game being the game that Pedro Martinez came out of the bullpen in Game 5 to go Don Larsen on the Tribe, it was an incomparable atmosphere.

Hugs and high fives were everywhere.
The Mezzanine was literally shaking as the Tribe just kept putting numbers on the scoreboard, padding the lead, putting their foot on the collective throat of the Yankees.

People in the park were unaware of the whole LeBron fiasco, and really…who cares? The Jake was packed with Tribe fans whipped into a frenzy, fueled equally by love for the Erie Warriors and hate for the Bronx Bombers.

The greatest thing about the win is that it was a complete team effort.
Despite not having his best stuff, C.C. gutted out 5 innings in the face of a rapidly mounting pitch count and 6 BB, keeping his team (it is HIS team) in the game.
Every player but Grady and Casey crossed home plate and Blake had 2 RBI.
Every player but Frank the Tank had a hit with Gutz walking twice and scoring once.
Rafael Perez cemented himself as a thoroughly dominant reliever, making that “historically great” offense look like the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Jenny Lewis and Senor Slo-Mo combined with The Scarecrow to allow 1 baserunner in the final 4 innings. ONE BASERUNNER!

Of course, despite all of that, the national media remains unaware that the Indians won the game last night…only that the Yankees lost.

But with my voice is cracking from the “Let’s Go Tribe” chants on the westbound RTA train heading home, with my stomach aching from too many hot dogs and peanuts, with my chest puffed out a little more from the joy of watching the Indians TROUNCE the Yankees in our house – it doesn’t matter.

The momentum is on the side of the Indians with more to come.
They’re up 1-0 with their nastiest pitcher going in Game 2 with a 5:00 start, meaning that the shadows are going to make Carmona’s nearly-unhittable stuff even more so today at the Jake.

This team bows to nobody and has made a statement trumpeting their arrival as a force to be reckoned with.
Ready or not AL, here come the Indians!

5 comments:

KonstrucktaTribe said...

PT,

Man I wish I was at the Jake last night. But I was at the next best local for that. I wore my camouflage tribe trucker hat (got it at the mionnesota series at the Jake) to one of the local NYC Sports bars in the East Villiage. This was my attempt at showing team spirit in hostile very hostile territory. After the Damon homerun everyone turned and said things like "that is why you are underdogs" to when victor busted it open....all the sudden all the yankees fans wouldn't even look at me... well it is pretty hard to look at someone when you have your head in your hands.
I was brave and it paid off!

The best is yet to come with FAUSTO toe'n the rubber tonight. He is gonna scalp those yankees bats to avenge the media's lopsided coverage. Playoff experience pffft I spit in your general direction!

Here is to sending the Yankees on a trail of tears all teh way back home.

Vegas Watch said...

Thought I would pass this along.

http://shysterball.blogspot.com/2007/10/only-way-to-root-for-cleveland.html

rodells said...

Awesome, KonstrucktaTribe. Keep it up!

I have this feeling about Carmona today....he's gonna make the Yanks look foolish for 7 innings. It's gonna be 80 degrees again, hopefully the sun comes out right @ 5pm...his nasty stuff is gonna be just that. If we put up one or two crooked numbers against Pettitte, maybe 4 runs total, I think we got this game today.

doby14 said...

pc,
love the responses you've been getting here the past month.
As you know, I've been around awhile waiting for the ring. Attended many playoff games 95-01, never experienced the crowd reaction at the end of the first inning like last night. We were next to the Tribe bullpen, they were fired up after the 5 run spot...caught a Lewis lob over the wall... this never gets old!

Baltimoran said...

talked to both Cy and my brother in law, both said the crowd was physically exhausted by the 11th. Cy was able to get a quote from JoBo...thinK Chris Farley in Tommyboy
"GNATS, GNATS...THERE EVERYWHERE!!...RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!"