Cleveland Indians: The Striking Similarities Between 2016 and 2007

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What This All Means

Oct 2, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (8) after defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (8) after defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

In the grand scheme of things, the similarities between Cleveland’s 2007 club and this year’s mean basically nothing. That was nine years ago, and none of the current Indians players were involved other than Crisp. Playoff baseball is nothing if not unpredictable, and the success or failure of one team from year to year has little impact, let alone after nearly a decade.

The Indians team that was one win away from the World Series back then never contended again. Things were blown up, with players finding their way to new teams through trades and free agency, and finding their way out of the game entirely through injuries, age, and diminishing skills. Cleveland would not, in fact, post another winning record in any season until 2013, the first year of Francona’s tenure.

But baseball is also about narratives, and the upcoming ALDS between the Tribe and the Red Sox is crammed full of them. So many connections, both between the two sides and between this October and that other, past one, just waiting to be examined, turned over, and analyzed. If baseball is the storyteller’s sport, this series is a dream come true.

Next: Indians Claim Home-Field Advantage in the ALDS

Though fans of the Indians that have this team watched all season long may at times have felt a feeling of deja vu, remembering the 2007 squad, the 2016 Tribe is not beholden to the past. Perhaps this year’s club meets the same fate as nine years ago, or perhaps it goes on to do what that team couldn’t. What’s important is that the postseason is finally back in Cleveland, and with it an opportunity to defy the ghosts of history and write a new story for the franchise.

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