Monday, October 22, 2007

The End

162 regular season games.
11 playoff games.
Approximately 550 hours of baseball.

All changed by 5 minutes in time.

In the top of the 7th, down one run, with Kenny Lofton on second base with one out, Franklin Gutierrez rifled a ball down the third base line bouncing away from the Red Sox, which would certainly tie the game and keep the momentum firmly in the Indians’ dugout as Westbrook had settled in and the Tribe was chipping away at the Red Sox lead.

But, as we all know, Joel Skinner threw up the “Stop” sign, halting Lofton at third base and setting Casey Blake up for an at-bat with men at first and third. First pitch swinging, Blake grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and the Indians’ threat in the 7th was neutralized.

With the winds of change in the air of a gorgeous New England evening, Rafael Betancourt – the workhorse of the bullpen, the “Untouchable” in the 2007 postseason – entered the game to keep the game close. Facing the 12-year-old Jacoby Ellsbury, Senor Slo-Mo induced a grounder to Blake, who booted it, allowing the “tweenie” to lead off the inning standing on second. After Julio Lugo sacrificed Ellsbury to third, Dustin Pedroia (all 130 pounds of him) stepped to the plate and, with one swing, ended the Indians’ season.

And with that, the game was over, the series was over, the season was over.
All in 5 minutes.

Plenty of time (that’s all we have now) to discuss the fantastic ride that the 2007 Cleveland Indians took us on and what lies ahead for this young, talented team of players.

But, tonight, with the Red Sox raising the ALCS trophy, only two words are appropriate - it’s over.


Hyde said...

This will be my last comment on your blog because today was my last day as a Tribe fan. You can only do this to a person so many times.

Chuck said...

Well, I told myself not to get emotional. I DID. I started believing in the Indians Again. I had a cas of the Indians Fever. Guess what? A dagger right to the heart. Everytime I start to believe in any Cleveland sports team, it happens. Extreme let down again. Whwnis is going to END!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Baltimoran said...

its not even 8:00 and i've had 5 people offer condolences, 3 people laugh at me, and 2 people offering me the international sign of choking. this sucks

at least with the Cavs, i knew very early that we were going to lose the series because san antonio was too good...this one hurts a lot worse

Ron Vallo said...

The most amazing thing about the Skinner decision is the fact that he was so unaware of the situation. As a coach who's been around such a long time that is inexcusable.

Obvioulsy he knew it was Lofton running, but the real key to me is that Papelbon was warming in the bullpen and was going to appear in the eighth if it was still a one-run game.

Given the choice of trying to score Lofton in that spot or trying to get a run off Papelbon over two innings, the odds weigh heavily in favor if sending Lofton.

Skinner played "tight" just like the Tribe did for all three of the last three games.

The Indians played games 5,6 and 7 as if they were down 3-1, not the other way around.

swarty said...

If you are the Pirates, does this make you stop and think just a little before hiting Skinner?

Remember, Grady Little got fired for leaving in Martinez a batter too long in the ALCS of 2003.

bugs said...

Westbrook showed more guts then CC and Fausto combined. It was a great run but when it came down to it the pitching which had brought us to the dance fell short. Great experience for the young arms "wait til next year"!

t-bone said...

crap, i thought it was a bad dream.

Les Savy Ferd said...

what a great season! just wish i were saying that 10 days from now...

German Village Media said...

It hurts but none of us gave up after 1997.

Hopefully this is the one where they gained "experience" and next year they'll have that "killer mentality."

I said I'd never watch again after 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000 (!!), 2001, 2004, 2005 (!!!!!), 2007 ...

See ya in March.

theoriginaljd said...

This will sound ridiculous and I understand that but every Red Sox fan in the world (the real fans) knew the minute Lofton was held up that the game was over.

We went through the same feeling when Grady didn't take the ball in
03 from Pedro.

If anyone can sympathize with the look Victor Martinez (a certifiable monster by the way) had in his eyes last night its the true fans of the Red Sox who remember that feeling all to well.

I gained so much respect for the nuts that this Indians team has because they could have mailed it in at 3-0 in the 3rd last night but they didnt and they had the Sox on the ropes. I was nervous I'll admit.

As a lifer Red Sox fan I hope this might offer some consolation which I know is the last thing you can stomach right now - but it gets better, it really does.

bugs said...

How about this line up next year:

Sizemore CF
Gutierrez RF
Hafner DH
A-Rod SS
Martinez C
Garko 1B
Peralta 3B
Francisco LF
Cabrera 2B

E. S. Furniss said...

I'd like to blame Skinner and the ump blowing the call earlier when Lofton got thrown out at 2nd but the reality is the series was lost before last night and it can be pinned on Sabathia and Carmona.

Westbrook's performance reminded me a lot of Nagy's in game 6 of the 97 ALCS. Jake was HUGE.Unlke the 19 win twins, Westbrook pitched without fear.

Hate to say it kids but Shapiro needs to see what he can get for C.C. in the offseason. If there is no way Sabathia can be resigned then we have to get something for him. Not a pleasant thought to keep us warm this winter.

milton said...

you had a chance to silence all the annoying massholes in my city with just i shoulda known in the end you would just be......cleveland.

Cy Slapnicka said...

while you cannot blame the exit from the playoffs on skinner, we all know he prevented us from extending our postseason...our "one actober." i hope this does not slow his exit from the organization. if i have to see him next year in a tribe uni, it'll just remind me of this. i know he's a good guy, but i'd prefer him go be a good guy managing another team rather than making critical decisions here.

i don't even want to know what "clever" name the media is going to come up with to describe this cleveland sporting failure. and i don't want to read a single article by weak and unimaginative writers writing their "here we go again, cursed" articles. i think bill livingston has enough material for the remainder of 2007. when they should be wondering how these results will affect our pitching, with cc, fausto, and raffy left losing confidence and our closer being up for a club option.

i'm avoiding all sports media for the remainder of the week. i'm not going to think about how casey blake reeled me in with his late season heroics, only to decimate me with his GIDP, and 2 late fielding blunders. will he rebound from this or will marte eliminate his 3B job and the OF jobs dry up?

i'll go up on my deck, take down my tribe flag and pack it in until next spring. i won't have to listen to mccarver and buck call for the bullpen to heat up when westbrook is pitching well through three innings. i won't have to see dane cook. i won't have to suffer through baseball tonight just to see repeats of the highlights.

i guess i'll get back to life.

on last anyone else thinking in the back of their mind, "was this skinner's middle finger to the club before he left for a manager slot? was this his, 'thanks for passing me over for wedge'?" i am picturing a scooby doo ending where he tears off his mask...

E. S. Furniss said...

If you're going for the full Scooby Doo, maybe its Charlie Manuel under that Skinner suit. God knows Manuel has more reason to hate Shapiro than does Skinner.I thought Torey Lovullo had passed Skins to be the front runner for the Pittsburgh job anyway.

Skinner and Blake are set up to be the scapegoats but when you get outscored 30-5 in the last 3 games, you don't deserve to go to the World Series.

This may be the toughest offseason for Shapiro since the year he took over. What to do with Blake, JoeBo, CC, Barfield, Marte, Lee..the mind boggles. Let's just hope his moves don't bring more Earl Snyders and Alex Escobars.

Ron Vallo said...


why do we need another player who can't hit in the post-season?


your right about they keys to the series and why we lost. Skinner's explanation holds no water, but the series was lost after Sabathia and Fausto failed for the second time each in this series. It was over after the first inning of game 6.

bugs said...

ron vollo:

I was thinking we need a shortstop who can make a play in the field.

Cy Slapnicka said...

we have him, unfortunately he has been playing 2nd base.

Les Savy Ferd said...

you leave Jhonny out of this. He had plenty of game throughout the ALDS and most of the ALCS. His bomb in game two stopped this series from ending in 4 games instead of 7. I'm not saying he didn't quiet down (like everyone else) down the stretch, but of all the people to point fingers at...

as i said before. Great year. Great team. Here's to consistency and another run next year.

E. S. Furniss said...

I like what I've seen of Asdrubal but as well as he played, he only played for two months. Same with Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis.Its not like we have a full season to judge them on. Decisions must be made on Marte and Barfield. Do you risk letting them go and having one, or both, turn into another Brandon Phillips? When we lost the World Series in'95 we all believed we'd be back in the playoffs because that team had no holes. This current club has a lot of flaws and going back to the playoffs isn't a guarantee.

Les Savy Ferd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
doby14 said...

I was too tired today to take my Wahoo flag down.
This was my 53rd bout of Tribe fever. You'll all have it in February.
What did they think in Baltimore about Millar?

s_bricker said...

Good work this season DiaTriber.

Everyone who reads your site owes you a big thanks for enhancing this season.

rodells said...

from a boston fan:

"Per my folks who were sitting in the grandstand behind home plate last night, after the game Eric Wedge came over to congratulate Francona and got a huge ovation from the fans. Wedge tipped his cap to the fans for the applause. They said it was quite touching. Sox fans know what it's like to get so close, yet still not finish; They can sympathize with Wedge."