Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tribe Talk 9.27.16: Dear Tito, I'm Sorry

By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

Dear Tito,

I’ve been a die hard Indians fan since I was 4 years old and attended my first Indians game on July 18th, 1995 when Albert Belle hit a grand slam off Lee Smith.  I grew up only knowing the Indians because the Browns left and the Cavs were in the Pre-LeBron era.  I grew up only knowing the Indians and having a Championship contending team.  I would consider myself one of the rare Cleveland fans who would prefer an Indians World Series over a Browns Super Bowl.

The moment you took the job in 2013, I was excited to get someone with a Championship pedigree.  I guess I would consider that year the “honeymoon” phase of my connection with you as my team’s manager.  It was a magical year that got us into the Wild Card Playoff game that we would eventually lose to the Tampa Bay Rays.  I was upset because I had tickets to go to Game 3 of the 2007 Division Series and I would finally attend my first Indians playoff game with my Dad, who has adopted my love for the game.  I mean before me, my Dad wasn’t a baseball fan, but now he loves his Indians.  I was upset that we weren’t going to have that moment and after a disappointing 2014 season, part of me doubted I would get another chance for some time.

I guess that’s what has made me so critical of the way you manage this team.  Understand, I want nothing more than to see my Indians in the playoffs fighting for a World Series Championship every year.  Last year, I saw a team that had what seemed to be a lost identity with a few good players like Brantley, Kluber, Salazar, Carrasco and Kipnis and a potential young star like Fransisco Lindor, but the direction of the team seemed foggy.

I started the year slating the Indians to finish in 4th Place in the AL Central.  I had no faith in you as a manager, but I guess that’s where you thrive the best, when everyone counts you out.  While I must give credit to Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff for bringing in guys like Andrew Miller, Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, and even Dan Otero throughout the past year to play crucial roles for this team, it was you Tito who made all the pieces come together.  Even though we struggled out of the gate, you made sure these players didn’t lose sight of the goal you had for them.  We’ve had numerous injuries all year, players who struggled on the mound and while at times I’ve called your faith in players, “arrogance” there has always been a method to your madness.

From the moment this team really started to emerge as the AL Central frontrunner during their 14 game winning streak, you got them prepared for this moment to finally take back the AL Central crown for the first time since 2007 and last night, we finally got there.  It took magical moments and comebacks along with strength and overcoming adversity to get this team to where they are today and for that Terry Francona, I’m man enough to admit I was wrong and…I’M SORRY.

Congratulations to the team and hopefully this is only the first step on one October Cleveland will not forget for a long, long time.

Your Biggest Critic
Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

PS- Don’t think this doesn’t change me being critical of you in the future, Tito.  But I gotta think you wouldn’t want to have it any other way…congrats Coach.

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