Two years in a row the Indians were playing solid baseball well into May. Two years in a row they suddenly fell apart, culminating in the firing of Manny Acta and the need for drastic changes. In stepped Terry Francona and along with him a cornucopia of free agent signings and offseason trade acquisitions. For their efforts, the Indians now find themselves playing solid baseball well into May for the third year in a row. But, should we be worried about the bottom falling out yet again?
Yes. Yes we should.
You see, for two straight seasons while the Indians were making a case to be considered contenders in the AL Central, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, hosts of Mike and Mike in the Morning, have made their way to Cleveland to host their four-hour radio show live from Progressive Field and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. It’s great exposure not just for the Indians, but also for the city of Cleveland as a whole. Unfortunately, for two straight years Mike and Mike’s visit to Progressive Field has coincided with a drastic shift in the Indians on-field performance and subsequent descent into baseball hell.
Why is this important? Because Greenberg and Golic are in Cleveland this morning and once again they are hosting their show live from Progressive Field after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch last night. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time and well, fool me a third time and we’re fighting.
Why would they do this to us? Don’t they understand that the fragility of our collective sports psyche is not something to be trifled with? Greenberg is already the self-anointed kiss of death when it comes to making sports predictions. Apparently his very presence within the concourse of Progressive Field is enough to place a hex of epic proportions upon a team that hasn’t won a championship since 1948 and a city that hasn’t won anything since 1964. The fact that they have allowed him to enter the city limits for the third straight season under similar circumstances is beyond comprehension.
And then there is Golic. As a fellow Clevelander, one would think that he would partially understand the forces at play here. After two years of watching a team that he openly acknowledges he roots for fall apart following their public appearance, why would Golic go along with this? Is this a case of taking the masochistic nature of being a Cleveland Indians fan and bumping it up to a whole new level? Has living in Bristol, Connecticut instilled some sort of resentment for the place he grew up and once called home? There are so many more questions than answers.
It’s a shame too. I listen to Mike and Mike every morning on the way to work. They help make my hour-long drive semi-enjoyable and have even won over my wife (perhaps the highest compliment any sports talk show hosts can be given). Why do they have to challenge my fandom for their show by threatening to ruin something that means so much to me and so many other Clevelanders? Did ESPN know ahead of time that the Cavaliers would win the draft lottery, thus feeling the need to balance out the Cleveland sports equation by trotting out the kiss of death? I wouldn’t rule it out.
I also wouldn’t rule out that Mike and Mike’s annual visit to Progressive Field and the Tribe’s subsequent collapse is nothing more than a giant coincidence. Realistically, what are the odds of the exact same scenario playing out for a third straight year? It has to be next to impossible. Can someone get Sheldon Cooper on the phone to run the math and give us a definitive answer? Of course, should the Indians fall into a tail spin and lose 10 out of their next 15 games we will be rioting the ESPN headquarters in a manner straight out of the movie Braveheart.
Then again, the Indians did lose last night. I’ll bring the pitchforks if you bring the torches.