One intangible thing about the postseason is the experience. There is a famous photo of Brantley with his arm around a visibly angry Kipnis after the 2013 Wild Card Game loss to Tampa Bay. That entire game, no one on the Indians looked like they were having fun…and that was a fun team.
The whole 2013 season had been walk-off wins and chickens and just having fun playing baseball. Then the postseason came and went and no one cracked a smile.
So this postseason, when Kipnis and others emerged for the lineups, there were visible smiles and some joking around. Lindor and Kipnis were being their normal goofy selves. Being in the postseason is much different than a regular season game in front of 15,000 fans, and the team handled themselves magnificently.
The team knows what it feels like to be on the brink of a championship now. They can use that to motivate every part of the season and come back even stronger. The Royals came back after a World Series loss and won it all.
With so many young players getting a taste of the tenth inning of the World Series, getting back is step one. The second and final step will be to complete their mission and win the title.
A depleted squad went up against baseball’s powerhouse and they still almost won. A full offseason to recover and get better while other teams lose valuable pieces is taking place. As long as they remember to be relaxed and have fun playing baseball, the Indians have no reason to not win next season.