Indians become beloved in record winning streak
They have become America’s team, those lovable Cleveland Indians.
They win 21 games in a row, the most by any team in American League history, and we want the streak to keep going.
We see empty seats at Jacobs Field, and we want them all filled.
We listen to manager Terry Francona’s self-deprecating humor, the front office’s wit, the unbridled passion of Francisco Lindor, and don’t want them to stop talking.
It’s Cleveland baby, the epicenter of baseball.
Who else but the Indians could win 21 games in a row, knocking off the Detroit Tigers 5-3, only to be embroiled in controversy about whether they have tied a major league record?
The 1935 Chicago Cubs are the only other team in baseball history that have ever won 21 consecutive games, but Elias Sports Bureau now says the 1916 New York Giants have the record. They won 26 games in a row, but there was a tie after their 12th consecutive win.
No offense to Elias, but that’s not the longest winning streak. It’s the longest unbeaten streak.
Don’t dare try to take any piece of joy away from the Indians.
“I think they’re enjoying themselves,” Francona said. “They should. It’s pretty special.” This is your time, Cleveland. If people want to chastise you for not selling out any games during the streak, remind everyone that this is a blue-collar city. School is in session. Besides, you had a stunning walkup crowd of nearly 10,000 fans Wednesday for an afternoon game on a school day, drawing 29,346.
What the Indians are doing these days is preposterous. They have gone three entire weeks without losing a game. They’ve won as many games during this streak as the Cleveland Browns have won since Nov. 20, 2011.
These guys have established themselves as the best team in baseball and need only October to prove it, finally ending their 69-year drought.
The Indians are as likable as any team in baseball, with a joyous close-knit clubhouse.
It was earlier this year when team President Chris Antonetti was asked how long it took for him to get over losing Game 7 — and a 3-1 World Series lead — to the Cubs.
“I’ll let you know,” Antonetti said, “when I do.”
We can sympathize and root for them rather than the big-market behemoths that will dot the playoff landscape. America’s Team, right?
“It feels that way, from my vantage point,” Indians outfielder Jay Bruce, who hit a three-run homer Wednesday, told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t have the pulse of it all, but this fan base here is making it feel like October. It’s easy to come to the park. People are thanking us.
“We are just doing what we can to play good ball and perform for an awesome group of people who follow us.”
You know you’re living large when Ohio’s most famous resident, LeBron James, takes time out of his day to shoot a congratulatory video.
There might be some breaks that have come along the way, but no flukes. Just absolute domination. The Indians are bludgeoning teams, outscoring them 139-35 during the streak.
They have played 189 innings in the streak and trailed after only four. They’ve won 14 by five or more runs. They’ve hit more home runs, 41, than runs given up by the pitching staff.
Their rotation has gone 19-0 with a 1.70 ERA, with the staff throwing seven shutouts. Their 19 shutouts this year are five more than any team in baseball.
Logic says the streak can’t go forever, but our heart wants more: a World Series parade.
This time in downtown Cleveland.
Fans celebrate after Cleveland beat Detroit to set the American League record with 21 consecutive wins.