102 wins. Some people claim that baseball is too long of a season. I ignore that theory every time I hear it. Throughout a 162-game season, there is more than just a playoff berth that a team is playing for. Home-field advantage should be a big thing in October – that’s what the Indians were playing for when they won a historical 22 straight from late August to early September.
Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets tweeted out the greatest tweet of all-time last year after his team was eliminated from the NL Wildcard game.
I think Cleveland Indians fans can relate to that today, one day removed from their special season crumbling in the worst possible way, blowing a 2-0 series lead to the Wild Card New York Yankees.
Let’s be real though, the Indians weren’t the first team to pull off this feat. In 2002, Oakland won 20 straight games en route to a 103-win season. If you recall, they ended up losing in five games in the ALDS to the Minnesota Twins, blowing a 2-1 series lead.
In fact, the symmetry to the 2002 A’s and 2017 Indians is astounding. Both teams present exciting playoff atmospheres. Cleveland has the drum whereas Oakland had the loud horn. Both endured long winning streaks that flared out as their seasons ended way too soon.
Both teams know what it’s like to be heartbroken, and back in the day, both teams possessed diminutive payrolls, despite the fact that Cleveland has spent a considerable more as of late.
The theory that winning too much in the regular season hurts a teams chances of winning a championship isn’t new. That was the theory when Golden State blew a 3-1 series lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.
To add to this, the President Trophy winner in NHL rarely wins the Stanley Cup. Grabbing the #1 seed in the NFL by no means guarantees you an appearance in the Super Bowl, and I could go on.
Now Cleveland has to wait all winter long, thinking of what could have been. How long is their championship window open for? MLB is a very fluid league which means that it’s tough to win three or four division titles in a row unless your roster is far better than the other teams fighting against you.
When teams of this caliber don’t perform in the playoffs, it’s hard to shift the blame immediately. Some franchises have a tough time winning the big game, but to make a knee-jerk reaction instantaneously would be unfair to the coaches and management.
I think something connected with the Yankees after they blew an 8-3 lead in Game Two. They found their starting pitching. They even found Did Gregorious’ bat, which was supporting the underwhelming performances of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.
Cleveland fans will be upset about this moment, as they should be. But they just need to remember that they’re not alone.