Can history repeat itself? Donít ask.
I knew it was only a matter of time before it would happen. Just a couple of days ago a co-worker asked me the inevitable question – the one I just knew would be asked sooner or later. You know, the one question that is always asked in sports when a team that’s not projected to be very good gets off to a surprisingly good start.
The question was, “Are these guys for real?” The “guys” in question are, of course, the Cleveland Guardians who, as of this writing, boasted an impressive 32-27 record and trailed the division-leading Minnesota Twins by only a couple of games.
Now, I’m not sure if the reason I was sought out was due to the fact that I am a known sports fan in a small company which doesn’t really have that many sports fans – at least until football season – or if it was more like I’m the oldest guy there, and it’s therefore presumed I have accumulated an unparalleled level of sports wisdom.
Nah, who am I kidding? It must be the first choice, although there’s no debating who the oldest guy there is (unfortunately, I might add).
Anyway, I thought of two teams from the Cleveland baseball past: The first Indians team I recall being good following a bad season was the 1968 Tribe, who shocked the baseball world that season by winning 86 games after a dismal 1967 in which they won 75 and lost 87.
My most recent surprise Indians team has to be the 2016 club who came within a whisker of winning it all, on the heels of a 2015 season in which they amassed a less-than-spectacular 81-80 record. That team won 94 games, an increase which got them ever so close to the promised land.
An interesting parallel is last year’s team, which only went 80-82, virtually the same record as 2015’s 81-80. And the 1967 team won 75 games so all three teams had similar records before they became very competitive, which bodes well for the chances of this year’s Guardians team.
And tell me this doesn’t sound familiar: The ’68 squad was plagued by poor attendance and cost-cutting measures. Did I just hear someone shout “Déjà vu”?
Now that I have everyone pumped up for another Miracle on East 9th Street, I should throw in an itsy-bitsy dose of reality:
The 1968 team, which seemed to promise so much for the future, once again shocked the baseball world in 1969, except not in exactly a positive fashion. They went 62-99 and somehow were even worse than their record indicated. They began the year 1-15 and never looked up.
After coming so close in 2016, the Indians remained competitive, but never came nearly as close to a championship as they did in 2016.
So, how will this wealth of knowledge in the form of historical references impact the 2022 Cleveland Guardians?
Hey, don’t ask me. Some days, I’m lucky if I remember the correct route to drive home from work.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!