When I think about the 1995 Cleveland Indians, it's almost like the first time you fall in love.
It's something special and powerful. Someone else may come along in your life that you end up marrying and love dearly (see Cavaliers, Cleveland, 2016). But there's something undeniable about that first love.
Those emotions are what I felt on Wednesday when I watched the very fine documentary on MLB Network, "The Dynasty that Almost Was," about the Tribe's era of success between 1994-2001.
I still can't believe it's been 22 years since that 'October to Remember' of 1995 ushered in five straight division titles (6 in 7 years), and two American League Championships.
Everyone has a favorite player from that '95 team. We can say their first name or a nickname and you know EXACTLY who we're talking about: Omar, Kenny, The Thomeinator, A.B., Manny, Carlos, Sandy, and on and on.
Everyone has a favorite moment.
Maybe it's when the Tribe clinched the Central Division title in September. Maybe it was one of those 12 walk-off wins.
Maybe it was when Kenny Lofton followed Ruben Amaro home from second on that wild pitch during Game 6 of the ALCS at the Kingdome.
And of course, everyone has their favorite wacky moment (and wackier players) that are unforgettable:
But that's why we loved that team and that era so much.
To the haters: Yes, I know they didn't win it all. I know we actually had a parade AFTER losing the '95 series to Atlanta which is ridiculous.
But we were in love.
Wednesday's documentary was like opening up an old photo album and finding some hidden gems.
Like remember when Albert Belle DESTROYED Fernando Vina breaking up a double play in 1996?
That led to a friend of mine sending me this tweet:
We were in Milwaukee for the game the next day. It was Bat Day and I wasn't sure we would get out alive wearing our gear.Still have the bat.— James Brady (@jbrady_ct) July 13, 2017
Then, as I watched the AWFUL memories of Game 7 in Florida in 1997, it touched off a variety of memories from the Twitterverse:
In all honesty '97 World Series I buried in my mind, it's still haunting me til today like '17 WS— Mark Zona (@ZoneStar26) July 13, 2017
One pitch. One freaking pitch that induces a double play and I have a 1997 World Series championship hat, sweatshirt, and t-shirt.— Zachary (@zekeburger) July 13, 2017
I was in the @JGfortwayne newsroom on night cops, watching copy desk's TV. I bawled, & not 1 soul there understood.— Joe Boyle (@HistoryBoyle) July 13, 2017
I cried the whole way home. Watched the game in the #CLE with family & friends. Worst drive cuz of tears still can't believe they lost.— stephanie ocker (@stepho41) July 13, 2017
That's what that era did to us. It brought out passions for baseball, for Cleveland, for sports, that we never knew we had.
Every Cleveland sports fan has that one team that they have undying love for. Much of it depends on your age.
It could be the 1964 Browns, the 'Miracle of Richfield' Cavs of 1976, the Kardiac Kids Browns of 1980, Bernie and the Dawgs of 1986-89, the Price-Nance-Daugherty Cavs, the 2007 Indians, LeBron's return with the 'Big 3', last year's Tribe team, and so on.
That's the way it should be.
But so many of us will always have a very special place in our hearts for the Jacobs Field era. The time when there were 455 straight sellouts. The time when Montell Jordan's 'This Is How We Do It' blared in the clubhouse after every victory.
The time when we dared ourselves to love.
MORE: Jimmy Donovan and I talked about his memories of covering those 90's Indians teams, plus the 4 keys to success for this year's Tribe in our 'Donovan Live Postgame Show' conversation.