Swing and a Tribe: Cleveland Indians sadness or madness?

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images) /

The sheer length of a baseball season lends itself to the possibility that multiple and conflicting narratives can be true about the same player or team at various points throughout the schedule, and this is especially true for the Cleveland Indians.

Didi Gregorius had a 1.161 OPS in the month of April, with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. In May, he has seven hits, and none of them are home runs.

The New York Mets started the season 11-1 and looked every bit the kind of team that could dominate the NL East in 2018. They are 13-18 since, third in the division behind the upstart Braves and Phillies.

As little as two weeks ago, the story in the NL West was that the Los Angeles Dodgers were toast and the Arizona Diamondbacks would run away with the division. The Dodgers still have a considerable amount of work to do, but they’ve played better of late, having just swept the Nationals over the weekend. The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have lost nine of their last 10 and were just surpassed by the Rockies for the division lead.

As fans, analysts, journalists, bloggers–whatever level of involvement we believe ourselves to have, all we have to back up our opinions is the information in front of us. No one is looking at the Chicago White Sox right now and thinking, “wow, this team is really poised to rattle off a big win streak pretty soon.” Conversely, nobody who’s watched what the Boston Red Sox have done thus far would dare to predict that their performance will turn out to be some kind of mirage.

Of course people were high on the Mets, and on Gregorius, a month ago. They deserved it. And the Dodgers, for all their woes, deserved to have their 2018 chances questioned. The point is, something can be undeniably true and real one week, and the next week we can find ourselves wondering if we were wrong to believe what we saw. It’s one of the reasons baseball is such a great game.

The Cleveland Indians struggles

That brings us to the Cleveland Indians, who have faced just about every possible scrutiny in the baseball universe with the exception of their starting pitching. The Tribe has struggled both offensively and defensively at times, and their bullpen has been such a disaster that the first real seeds of doubt seem to have crept into the minds of fans regarding the team’s chances to finally win the World Series.

There have been positives as well, but the Indians’ 22-23 record is a result of more things having gone wrong than right. So with a sub-.500 record and the evidence of ever-changing narratives in mind, I’ve decided to focus on the negatives and play a little game called, “Sadness or Madness?”

Quite simply, will the disappointing early trends the Indians have experienced leave us hopelessly depressed at season’s end, or will we find ourselves laughing at how crazy we must have been to believe they were real?