Cleveland Indians: Pull For Anyone But the Cubs This Postseason


Of all the teams to root for this postseason, the Cubs shouldn’t be one of them for Indians’ fans

1948 hangs over the head of any Cleveland Indians fans like a rain cloud. 29 out of thirty major league teams will fail to win a World Series this year, all but nine of those teams have won in this century, meaning that virtually their entire fan base knows the thrill of a title. Four other teams have won since 1990, and six more since 1980, so that covers well over half the teams in major league baseball.

Failure is a completely different animal when your team is zero for your lifetime, as is the case for the vast majority of Indians fans. I am now 54 years old, not old enough to think about mortality on a regular basis but definitely old enough to face the realistic possibility that I may pass through an entire lifetime without seeing the Indians win a World Series, to know that if the current roster core falls short that the next rebuild will probably last into my sixties. My father never mentioned that possibility when he took me to see Luis Tiant pitch on my eighth birthday.

During all this time, there was one solace for Indians fans: at least we weren’t the Cubs. A drought of 67 years seems like a blip on the radar compared to the 107 years the Cubs have endured. Cubs fans have endured Steve Bartman, Leon Durham, and the Miracle Mets. If there was anything on earth worse than being an Indians’ fan, it had to be rooting for those sad-sack Cubs.

But now… Now there is a realistic possibility that the Cubs could win a World Series this year.  They have clinched a wild card berth and go into the last weekend of the season with a slim chance of hosting the Wild Card game next week.  More importantly, they enter the playoffs red-hot, having won 48 of their past 72 games, and they possess the hottest pitcher on the planet, Jake Arrieta, who has given up four earned runs since the first of August. Having a guy like Arrieta in your rotation for a short series means that if one other pitcher gets hot you have enough to win the series. Win the wild card game and three short series, and the 107-year drought is over.

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If the Cubs can win the World Series, it would leave the Indians as the undisputed kings of failure in Major League baseball, if not in all of pro sports. The only MLB teams that are close are the Astros, Padres, and Brewers, who have never won but have only been in existence since the 60s. The Arizona Cardinals of the NFL have actually gone a year longer than the Indians without a title, but they have moved twice in that time, so that doesn’t seem like the same level of suffering. The only losing streak that would compare to the Indians is the Confederacy, at least the segment that still hasn’t surrendered.

Look, Chicago can whine all they want about the Cubs, but they don’t need this. The Blackhawks are in the middle of a mini-dynasty, and Michael Jordan wasn’t that long ago. Since the Browns won the 1964 NFL championship, the city of Chicago has won eleven championships in the four major sports. That is not a drought.  You will read a whole bunch of sap over the next few weeks (or until the Cubs are eliminated) about how this is a feel good story, about how long-suffering fans might finally be rewarded for their love and patience.  Don’t believe a word of it.  Nobody who gets to eat deep dish pizza is really suffering.