When it comes to this season’s Cleveland Guardians, the reality was truly more exciting than anyone could have imagined when the team took the field last spring as the youngest team in Major League Baseball — with an even younger new name.
But who’s complaining after the G’s — as cleveland.com baseball guru Paul Hoynes calls the Guardians — wrapped up their unlikely win of the season to slay the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins in spectacular fall fashion. The Guardians won seven straight as the Sox and Twins basically folded when it counted.
So onward into the postseason to take on whatever third-place wildcard team that might be in a best-of-three game series at Progressive Field, capping the team’s long home streak at the close of the regular season.
Can it get any better? Yup — Rookie outfielder Steven Kwan’s eighth-inning grand slam in the American Central division in a 10-4 win over the Texas Rangers last Sunday. A happy pandemonium ensued, with hundreds undeterred by wet, windy conditions making it onto the scene at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to cheer our hometown heroes home.
Was this a signal from above that — despite complaints (and threats to stay home from some Indian fans) — changing the team’s name was the right way to go? Or was this just a team with good vibes and leadership that was in sync.
Hoynes saw the latter signs up close – a team that believed and worked well together. “Confident Guards ignored skeptics, played the kids and can win AL Central today,” was his game day headline last Sunday on cleveland.com.
How right he was. Confidence, good vibes in the dugout, Terry Francona at the helm for a full season and the all-important combination of good starting pitchers and great helpers. And the guards played the stern from the hand that was dealt them.
The usual Cleveland cynics are already saying, “Look out, they’re going to fold.” But for some of us, it’s better to do what the Guardians did in that whirlwind end of the season: believe. Pull yourself together. never say die hectic, always. Win.
How does our Editorial Board Roundtable view this amazing year, the Cleveland Guardians’ first under a new name?
Leila Atassi, Public Interest and Advocacy Manager:
Karma suggests the Guardians’ winning streak is a reward for the team’s decision to ditch a racist mascot and nickname that has offended Native people for decades. Surely a team that makes such a principled decision despite the clamor of narrow-minded Indian fans deserves to win it all.
Ted Diadiun, columnist:
I enjoy watching the team I still consider the Indians on TV (I gave up my season tickets this year), but fans have done more than just threaten to stay home. The average attendance has dropped from 24,038 in 2018 and 22,008 in 2019 to just 16,819 in this more exciting season. Be honest: the name change was a terrible idea.
Eric Foster, columnist:
The team’s performance is proof that the name change was right and you can’t tell me otherwise. Especially if you turn your hat inside out when the Guardians are behind in late innings. Baseball is full of superstitions. Why not believe baseball fans?
Lisa Garvin, Editor:
I’ve collected a lot of Native American (and Astros) loot over the decades. I can’t bear to part with such fond memories, even after the Astros were cheated and Chief Wahoo was banished. But it’s time to open my heart to new traditions – and my closet to Guardians gear. Bring on October Baseball!
Mary Cay Doherty, Editor:
As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” This season proved that the bond between Eam and fans had nothing to do with nicknames or mascots. The love of sport and the city is unbreakable. Here’s to an exciting Guardians postseason!
Elizabeth Sullivan, Opinion Director:
Whatever happens in the postseason, it’s been a glorious run, a team that never gave up, an incredible roster of young players who showed their courage and spirit and made those amazing plays and shots that played late innings have won. I believe, but more importantly, I know the team believes. Let’s go, Warden!
Do you have anything to say on this subject?
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* Email general questions about our editorial staff or comments on this Editorial Board Roundtable to Elizabeth Sullivan, Director of Opinion, at [email protected].