Because Baseball, that’s why: Between Innings

Baseball is a simple game full of complexities, and the paradoxes can have a Droste effect throughout the scorebook. Josh Tomlin can both be a pitch-to-contact hurler and also strike out six Cincinnati Red batters in a row on Monday night. He can have a season ERA of 5.59, but also have held the past three opponents faced to just seven runs in 20.1 innings (3.10 ERA) with 17 strikeouts and just one walk. Carlos Santana can be in the midst of his worst professional season and also hit two home runs on his way to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 Ohio Cup (6-for-14, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 R) in a Cleveland Indians win, 6-2. Perhaps the Francisco Lindor logo revealed on Sunday looked just a little too much like Santana’s signature pose and he wanted to remind everyone.

Baseball can even be complicated when naming things. The Indians (52-45) remain in first place with the former MLB team known as the California Angels now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim coming to Progressive Field that used to be called the Jake.

Or complex when old adages about walks harming pitchers don’t always hold up. Mike Clevinger is set to start the first game of the series and he has only allowed one earned run in his last three starts. In fact, Clevinger has only given up five earned runs over his last six starts despite having 16 walks during the same timeframe (35 strikeouts).

Baseball is also a game of simple fun. A game where people can get paid to dress up as hot dogs and name themselves after the condiment of their choosing, then harrass the dugout reporter for the local broadcast team.

Baseball is a game where miniature versions of the players can be made out of baseballs and displayed throughout the game and postgame interview. Fittingly, Carlos Carrasco has stated that Dr. Smooth is next on the arts and crafts list.

Baseball is a game where the fireworks operator can have some premature celebratory button pushing when Bradley Zimmer’s line drive winds up as an easy double rather than the home run trot that was obviously assumed to be coming.

More than anything though, baseball is about family and community.

The victory on Monday to tie the 2017 Ohio Cup standings might not have meant much in the grand scheme of the season standings or postseason race, but there are multitudes of Indians fans living in the Southern regions of Ohio that will not have to hear the scant remains of Red fans cling to what could have been their one facet of positivity in a lost season.

On what would have been Jobu_Lives 35th birthday this past Saturday, the Indians fittingly notched their first walk-off victory of 2017 (hat-tip Zack Meisel) as the Bat Magic lives on through his amazing family.

That same day, an article posted on Let’s Go Tribe from a long-time fan, Kelly Smith, that helped encapsulate exactly what baseball and the Indians mean to the community. A beautiful story that intertwined how a wonderful dad helped raise his daughter on love, life, and the Cleveland Indians. Having 162 games (and hopefully more in the postseason) over the course of a 365 day year means that the local team can be a part of the daily machinations. No matter what struggle or how near or how far one might be, baseball is there to bind us. The entire story deserves a proper read (caution: have some tissues handy), but here is one snippet:

Sometimes I still can’t believe I got to attend a Cleveland World Series game, let alone with my Dad, the biggest Indians fan I know. My attendance was supposed to be a surprise for him—Mike had gotten a few tickets for my mom, my dad, and another friend. There was one extra, and he vaguely told Dad he’d find someone else to take it. They were watching a football game together when Dad turned to Mike and sheepishly asked, “Hey, if no one steps up for that extra ticket, what would you think about my daughter Kelly coming along?” Mike cracked up. “She’s already coming,” he told my dad. He made Mike say it three times before believing him.

Heck, baseball is the sport that allows us to offer congratulations to the Miller family on advancing to the Lakewood 10U finals without ever having met them. But, we see they are an Indians fan family that goes to games for birthdays and celebrates the Tribe and we feel a connection. Family, community, and baseball just go hand-in-hand-in-hand after all.

Go Tribe.