Happy Friday WFNY. Sorry for my late start to the day, but it was a fun and late night last night. Let’s talk about the Browns… JUST KIDDING. Let’s talk about the Tribe.
Terry Francona has no relationship with fear
Everyone has some sort of relationship with fear. Some people are friends with it, and it fuels them positively. Others are enemies with it, and it makes them smaller or worse. Some people claim to not have any fear at all, which is likely little more than a defense mechanism. After this week and Game 1 of the ALDS, I might be convinced that Terry Francona actually has no fear, at least as it pertains to baseball. He is to baseball what Bill Belichick is to football, what Gregg Popovich is to basketball.
Terry Francona chose to pitch Trevor Bauer over Corey Kluber, and he didn’t care if it blew up in his face. The bravery doesn’t come because he ended up being right and because Trevor Bauer ended up pitching a no-hitter deep into the game. The real bravery comes from the fact that I honestly don’t think Terry Francona cared if people ended up thinking he was wrong. Terry Francona was convicted in his decision even if Trevor Bauer had gotten knocked around and only lasted an inning. That’s what makes Terry Francona so special. That’s what makes this Cleveland Indians team so special because it goes beyond their manager.
Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber and even Jason Kipnis give you a sense that there’s just no care in the world if they’re wrong or if they fail. It’s easy to see that in Kluber, Lindor, and Ramirez because they have incendiary talent. Jason Kipnis has obvious talent as well, but the way he’s put himself out there to play center field for this team after being the starting second baseman for so long is a talent unto itself. The catch he made in center field was incredible by any measure, but even more incredible because he almost shouldn’t be playing there. But for a guy like Jason Kipnis “should“ has nothing to do with it.
These Cleveland Indians are something special. Nothing guarantees that they’re going to win it all and raise the World Series trophy at the end of the season. You could try and design a team to put it on the line for your city and your sports culture. It’s hard to imagine that you could ever design one better than this. It takes many special and talented people, but it’s impossible to untie it from Terry Francona as the leader and catalyst. That doesn’t mean I won’t question him again in the future, but I probably shouldn’t if I’m being honest.