CLEVELAND -- The city of Cleveland waited 52 years for one of their teams to win a major sports championship, and the Cavaliers achieved that when they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
In the midst of the excitement with the Cavaliers winning the championship and the celebration rally and parade that attracted an estimated 1.3 million fans to Mall B, the Indians quietly went about their business, and are now four games away from a party of their own.
With their World Series matchup against the Chicago Cubs set to get underway at Progressive Field tonight, the Indians aim to keep the excitement going in Cleveland.
“It's entertaining,” Game 1 starter Corey Kluber said. “It was an unbelievable run they went on in the spring. It definitely sent a vibe through the city.
“You could just feel the energy through that run after they won and stuff like that. I think it's been great. It's been great for Cleveland the fact they won a championship, and hopefully, we can bring them another one.”
Although the Indians have been successful in 2016, they know adversity well. In fact, while many in baseball were writing them off, they just kept on playing, hitting and hustling their way through the season. And now, they are in the World Series for the first time since 1997.
Despite losing a potential American League MVP candidate in outfielder Michael Brantley to shoulder and biceps issues on May 11 and a rash of injuries in the starting rotation, the Indians fought their way to the American League Central Division Championship, a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series and a dominant performance against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Championship Series.
Adversity continued to challenge the Indians between the sweep of Boston and Game 1 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays.
Already without Carlos Carrasco (broken bone in right hand) and Danny Salazar (right forearm strain), the Indians experienced another issue when ahead of Game 1 of the ALCS at Progressive Field, it was announced that Trevor Bauer would be scratched from Game 2 because of a lacerated finger suffered while performing “routine maintenance” on a drone.
Although Bauer started Game 3, he failed to make it out of the first inning when his wound opened up and the bleeding could not be stopped in a reasonable amount of time. However, the Indians found a way to make things work once again and got through the ALCS in just five games.
“I don't know if it's just the group of guys that we have that we're able to handle adversity well or we've also over the last couple years, realized that's the kind of baseball we need to play to be successful,” Kluber said.
“Everybody kind of realizes that we each have our own job. It's not one superstar going out there and carrying the team. I think that we've just kind of, I guess, in developing a culture of the team, that's been part of it.”