So last night the Cleveland Indians punched their ticket to the World Series by defeating Toronto in five games. Mind you they beat an extremely potent Blue Jay offense pretty handedly without two of their best arms (Danny Salazar and Carrasco). Although I am still bitter about the Sox getting swept by Cleveland in the ALDS it’s hard for me not to root for this team. And it’s not like the Indians came out of nowhere and got hot in the postseason, they finished the regular season tied for the best record in the AL and never looked back.
A large part of their success can be attributed to their great rotation and an offense that scored the second most runs in the AL (Boston was first with almost 100 more runs scored than Cleveland). But I think the biggest key to the Tribe’s success is their skipper Terry Francona. Listen I’ve always been a huge advocate of Tito and when the Red Sox did him dirty and fired him and used him as a scapegoat after that abysmal 2012 season, I was beyond furious. I’m not gonna lie, after winning the World Series the very next year I kind’ve buried my ill will but was still very pissed nonetheless. Fast forward 4 years and BOOM… Cleveland has the best record in the American League and Tito eliminated his former club from the postseason. Probably a very very satisfying feeling for Francona.
Lets be clear here… teams don’t just go from the laughing stock of the league to ALCS champions overnight. These things take time, good signings, developing the farm system, timely trades, etc… But more than anything else it take good leadership and guidance from your skipper. Ever since Tito took the reigns in Cleveland they have been a different team. Francona has always been a “players manager” and this (like in Boston) is very evident in Cleveland. This guy makes all his players buy in and believe that they can achieve greatness. Francona is rapidly becoming (if not already) one of the best managers in the game, and I for one am all in on the Cleveland Indians and the Tito train.
PS- Andrew Miller is the most valuable and lethal weapon in the postseason.