It's no cyn to be cynical

Okay, I admit it: It's been fun watching the Indians this summer, and the recent play of the Browns has been a source for some optimism, too. Be still, my heart! Here's hoping that by the time you read this, the Indians are still the talk of the town with regard to their march toward the playoffs, and the Browns are still stirring up chatter as they begin their march to ... well, maybe not the playoffs, but how 'bout we shoot for – as sister Aretha puts it – "a little respect"? Considering where we've been since '99, respect is mighty lofty stuff.

Much has been written and said about the Indians' lame record against the better teams in the American League, as well as their incredible record against the bottom-feeders. Supporters – those who defend the Tribe's so-called "legitimacy" to be in the wild-card race – will be the first to remind us that, as far as wins go, they "all count the same." I can't argue with that statement; for if they didn't all count the same, baseball's credibility would take a heck of a hit. Kind of like it did with the steroids thing. But that's a topic for another day.

I will argue, however, that playoff baseball does have this funny little rule which stipulates that the better teams advance to the playoffs, and the lousy ones stay home and start coordinating their tee times. So while the statement "they all count the same" is fairly secure, my insecurity comes from the fact that as a whole, we don't play very well against the teams we'd most likely face in the playoffs. I mean, where are the White Sox when you really need 'em? Against them, to paraphrase Tony the Tiger: "We're grrrrrrreat!" On second thought, do I really want to be quoting a "Tiger"?

Yes, I do, because it serves as a handy little segue into my point about playing Detroit, who we absolutely pulverized four out of 19 tries this season. Or how about Boston, upon whom we showed no mercy when we annihilated them once in seven meetings this year. Take that, Bosox! Or perhaps Tampa Bay, who was our likely Wild Card foe when this column was written. We demonstrated who was boss two out of six chances against the Rays this year. Believe you me, they're still licking their wounds. The one playoff team we actually did dominate this year was Oakland, though it's not likely we would meet them in the first round. How's that for luck?

What's that you say? You say you detect a hint of sarcasm in my words?

Okay, maybe just a little. Perhaps it's the memory of our colossal collapse in 2007 against Boston. Or maybe it's the fast starts of the previous two seasons which subsequently went up in flames. Too many fresh wounds from recent past, I guess.

But then I recall meeting my wife-to-be some forty-plus years ago – and how I thought I'd never stand a chance of ending up with someone that special, but somehow did – and I remind myself of one thing:

Anything's possible! 

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 9:31 AM, 10.01.2013