Today—as you are probably aware—is New Year’s Eve, meaning there are less than 24 hours left in 2011. This week at Wahoo’s on First, we’ve been counting down the biggest Indians plays of the season. But while we’ve spilled plenty of ink on the clutch performances that helped the Indians win, we haven’t paid much attention to the most emotionally exciting moments of 2011, the ones that have stayed with us and gave us hope all year long.
In this special edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked 11 Indians bloggers from six different sites to weigh in with their favorite moment of the 2011 season. Here’s what we all had to say:
Lewie Pollis: With apologies to either of Travis Hafner’s two walk-off home runs and that great comeback against the Red Sox, I have to go with the home run Jim Thome hit (on his birthday) in his second game. Watching him pound the ball into the bleachers again was simply magical.
Geordy Boveroux: My favorite Indians moment was probably the entire series against the Cincinnati Reds. Asdrubal Cabrera raked the entire series and finally got some national recognition for his great season. That was the point where everyone started to think Cleveland was legitimate, and was the first time in years Tribe fans could truly be proud.
Andrew Zajac (Indians Prospect Insider): My favorite moment of the year was easily Jason Kipnis‘ game winning base hit against the Angels that was also his first major league hit. It defined the season in two different ways: the comeback kids of 2011 and the youth movement.
TD (WaitingForNextYear): The Hafner walk-off grand slam vs the Blue Jays. I was stunned. I was watching in bed and my wife was asleep next to me and when he crushed that ball I let out a huge gasp. She shot up as if something shocking happened. It did.
Nino Colla (The Tribe Daily): My favorite moment was Carlos Santana‘s walk-off grand slam against the Tigers during the Tribe’s early season run. Mostly because I experienced it live but also because that seemed to be the beginning of thoughts that the Tribe could actually be for real.
Brian (Cleveland Sports Torture): April 29, Indians vs. Tigers, bottom of the ninth, Carlos Santana crushed a 3-1 pitch deep to right with the bases loaded to give the Tribe a 9-5 win. I still have the MLB TV highlight on my TiVo and may never delete it because of the absolute perfect camaraderie the Indians had meeting the dancing Santana at home plate.
Jim Piascik (Bleacher Report): My favorite Indians moment of the year was seeing Jason Kipnis’ debut in person. Watching him in Akron in 2010, I saw the talent that made him a great player last year. Not much happened in the game itself, but I loved being there for the start of his career.
Charlie Adams (Indians Prospect Insider): My favorite moment was the end of July and beginning of August: the two weeks following Jason Kipnis’ call-up. He capped it off with a 5-5, 2B, HR night against Detroit. Kipnis made the rest of the season a little more interesting despite the tide turning against the Tribe after that hot start.
Craig Lyndall (WaitingForNextYear): Ezequiel Carrera won’t go down in history for the Tribe but for one day he was nearly a legend. His drag bunt single to help the Indians beat the Reds 5-4 in his first major league action was awesome. The Indians were 27-15 and had the best record in the majors. If only we could somehow freeze that moment in time.
Samantha Bunten (Bleacher Report): Pronk’s walk-off slam against Toronto is up there, as is Jim Thome’s bomb to center field on his tribute night, but my absolute favorite 2011 moment was Ezequiel Carrera’s walk-off drag bunt back in May to beat the Reds 5-4. Walk-off homers are certainly more dramatic, but Carerra’s version of a walk-off was an example of the many unique oddities that make baseball so fantastic to watch.
Andrew Cooper: My favorite moment of 2011 was the Indians’ record-setting April. By setting a franchise record with 18 wins in April, including sweeps over the Red Sox, Mariners, Orioles, and Tigers, the Tribe all but guaranteed that they would be in contention until at least the All-Star Break. The brand of baseball that the Indians played gave us die-hards – at least temporarily – what we so desperately yearn for: hope.