As Winter changes to spring and the Cleveland Indians move from Goodyear, Arizona back to Progressive Field, many in the 216 are more concerned with the Cavaliers than they are with the Indians. The last six years have been shaky for the Indians, failing to reach the ALDS in that span despite earning a Wild Card berth in 2013. 2016 brought a different feel to those who follow this team closely, a mix of youth and experience along with a will to win that was overlooked by many. The superstar pitching rotation mixed with young studs like Lindor, Kipnis, and Chisenhall to name a few were the core of this up and coming team.
Throughout the season the Indians were always the second or third choice as AL Central favourites, and this was more than okay with them. The Royals were coming off back to back World Series appearances, one of which was capped with a World Championship. The White Sox and Tigers had made off season acquisitions to further bolster their lineups and challenge the defending champs. As many know, the Cavs were in the midst of a Championship run which saw focus to be on them and not the up and coming Indians. Again, just fine by them.
This attitude of "focus on our job, and worry about fans later" is rooted back to Terry Francona. The Indians skipper doesn't ask much of his players, do your job when called upon, and support your teammates. Francona also preaches something that dates us all back to Teeball or playing catch with your dad, just have fun. Fun was evident all season, the Indians carried the best Home record in the American League, and walked off under fireworks more than anyone in professional baseball. This feel of team unity stuck with the tribe, leading them to a 94-67 year, and an AL Central crown.
No matter the personnel, no matter the situation, the 2016 Cleveland Indians got the job done, and had fun doing it. This is not shocking to those who follow the team, and not many do, which is exactly why they are more than a blip on the radar now,and are two wins away from the World Series title.