Indians, WFNY Roundtable

Favorite Indians ALDS Game: WFNY Roundtable

The Cleveland Indians will take on the New York Yankees in the 2017 ALDS; just as they have done in 1997 and 2007- both Tribe series wins. There have been many great contests for the Indians over the years in the ALDS round. It felt only fitting to share some quick memories of our favorites.

The rules are simple. Write 100-200 words about our favorite Indians ALDS game was and why. We did our best to not repeat what anyone else has picked. Feel free to add yours to the comment section.

Michael Bode
1995 Game 1: Boston Red Sox 4, Cleveland Indians 5 (13 Innings)

For anyone under 41 years old at the time, Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS was the first postseason game for the Cleveland Indians in their lifetime. Firsts often have indelible images that do not hold up to the fondness with which they are remembered, however this game was epic by any standard. Even the announcer crew was perfect- Bob Costas at his broadcasting height and the venerable Bob Uecker (aka Harry Doyle).

The game itself built drama before a pitch was even thrown with a 39 minute rain delay serving only to amp the crowd for the postseason christening of Jacob’s Field. Roger Clemens on the mound for the Boston Red Sox to oppose Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez for the Tribe. Falling behind on John Valentin’s two run home run in the third was only fitting for the squad who made a habit of late-inning comebacks throughout the season. However, giving up a late lead and falling behind the 11th inning was not part of the plan. It is helpful to have Albert Belle- game tying solo home run in the bottom half- when such detours befall a team.

Fittingly, Tony Pena served as the first in a long line of unexpected October heroes when he walked the game off with his own home run in the 13th.

It was the first postseason taste of my lifetime, it was also the best.

Corey Barnes
2007 Game 2: New York Yankees 1, Cleveland Indians 2 (11 Innings)

At some point after twilight this game transitioned from “playoff baseball” to “mythical event.” You may know it as The Bug Game though specifically it was the midges of Northeast Ohio that plagued the Yankees and reliever Joba Chamberlain. I was a senior in high school in 2007, and since this game fell on a Friday a number of my cross country friends and I got together at a friend’s house to watch it.

We were in and out for the first half or so enjoying the pool and barbeque, but by the time rookie sensation Chamberlain entered the game though we were locked in. The close ups on Joba’s bug-laden face felt like something out of a horror movie. Midges crawled on his neck and face while he dutifully tried to interpret his catcher’s signals. Gross. I directly credit the pests for Joba’s first wild pitch that allowed Grady Sizemore to advance to second base and the second wild pitch that allowed him to score the tying run in the eighth inning.

A literal act of God is tough to follow, but Travis Hafner delivered with his walk-off single in the eleventh inning. As the liner made landfall in right field we delighted in the walk off by jumping, screaming, and hollering in that way that only teenage boys can manage. Playoff wins are always fun, but they have an extra flavor when they’re against the Yankees.

For one night, at least, God didn’t hate Cleveland.

Gage Will

2016 Game 1: Boston Red Sox 4, Cleveland Indians 5

Sometimes, a game carries more meaning than its immediate result. Last year’s opening playoff game is one of those times. The game was fun in itself, with the trio of solo homers in the third inning off Cy Young Award thief Rick Porcello courtesy of Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis, and Francisco Lindor. This game meant more, though.

It was the ushering in of an era, in multiple senses. The Indians’ main core was performing its opening postseason act. With injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, Game 1 was the barometer. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen struck out eight in less than four combined innings. The 2016 Indians shrugged off an early deficit, flexed their muscles at the plate, and slammed the door with strikeouts.

The game might not hold a candle to other division series contests on the excitement meter, but it represented a seismic shift in the franchise’s course.

  • scripty

    I’d say you got it right with the top 2. I find the closeout games so intense though, like game 3 in 95, the 07 win in Yankee Stadium as examples. Games 3-4 in 96 vs BAL were intense, Belle’s grand slam (IIRC) and then Roberto ripping our hearts out in that game 4. Man.

  • MartyDaVille

    Good stuff, guys.

    During the Long Drought, I’d watch other teams in the playoffs and think, ‘Man it must be fun to have your team in the playoffs.’

    Then when we got there in ’95, I found that it wasn’t fun at all. It was stressful and nerve-wracking. Near-agony with every pitch. Same in ’97.

    Last year was fun, though. Lots and lots of fun.

  • tsm

    Was 96 or 97 the year we won on a “botched” suicide squeeze when the catcher missed the ball? My best ending, as I was there in person.

  • mgbode

    Order above is chronological. That entire series vs the O`s was intense. And yeah, I’m sad the Alomar Jr home run off Mariano isn’t detailed. Is what it is sometimes.

  • Brandon

    1995 ALCS Game 5, 3-2 win against the Mariners. In a dangerous inning, the Mariners put two runners on, with Griffey and Buhner coming up to bat. Hargrove went with Paul Assenmacher, who struck out both of those f-ers to end the inning. I remember that the camera guys were en fuego, as they kept showing feeds of Assenmacher’s wife in the stands, with her hands in her face, as she was also terrified.

    Eddie Murray and Jim Thome supplied the muscle. What a game.

  • JM85

    Game 1 of last year. They were playing the almighty Red Sox and even with all the injuries, they showed everyone they were here to contend.

  • scripty

    96 I referred to. 97 was ALCS with the botched suicide squeeze

  • scripty

    Assenmacher’s wife was pretty hot though. She was a dime.

  • Chris
  • tsm

    I thought so, and thanks. Omar was right in the middle of that one. I wish some of the guys on this year’s team could handle the bat like Omar and Robbie.

  • dvd1204

    97 game 4 against the Yankees! Alomar game tying homer off Mariano. That swing of a bat has never had a comparison from dejection to elation until Rajai last year. How has this not been mentioned?

  • mgbode

    Today is the 10 year anniversary.

  • dvd1204

    I think you mean 20 year, but you gave me goosebumps since I was there then and I’ll be there tonight

  • mgbode

    Yes, 20 year. Get there early and you’ll see Sandy throw out the first pitch.

  • mgbode

    We needed a fifth game to complete the Top 5 (three above + Sandy HR). So, I think we can all agree 2017 G2 ALDS will be on the list.