Cubs vs Indians. Choosing The Right World Series Team For You.

world-series-2016

I’m going to have to watch someone play baseball this week. And, so are you. Let’s figure out which World Series team to root for.

The Chicago Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. The Cleveland Indians last won a World Series in 1948.

There’s a certain comfort in being able to shake your head at the end of a losing season and say, “Well, we always lose, that’s what we do.” Fans start to hang on to this excuse like a crutch. It becomes the excuse for every misplay, every error, every loss.

Just to be clear, Cubs and Indians fans, that ends today. No more are you “long-suffering.” You’re now winners. Enjoy the pressure that goes along with that.

A lot of thinking goes into choosing a World Series team to root for. Not by me, of course, but by other people.

You could spend hours poring over ERAs, WARs, FIPs, and Batting Averages.

You could.

You could study baseball stats and figures for the next seven hours and come out convinced that the Washington Nationals will beat the Red Sox in six.

Yup, and where does that put you? Back at square one.

Let’s look at more important things.

When choosing between the Cubs and Indians, here are some facts that may help you choose the best team for your needs.

First, let’s look at 1908, the last year the Cubs won the World Series, and 1948, the last year the Indians won.

Important things invented in 1908: The Model T. The Boy Scouts. The Times Square News Years Eve Ball Drop. Coffee filters. Paper cups. Cellophane.

paper-cup

Thank you, 1908.

Important things invented in 1948: Television stations – lots and lots of television stations. Transistor Radios. Frisbees. Velcro. Contact lenses. Kitty litter. Hand dryers.

kitty-box-pet-litter

We have five cats. This is important.

What can’t you live without? Cars? Coffee? Kitty litter?

hi.

The correct answer is kitty litter.

(Hand dryers in public restrooms should be banned. First, they don’t even really dry your hands and second sometimes you’ll be standing there, trying to dry them, and someone comes and uses the dryer next to you and the dryer sends their water splattering all over you. So you wipe your hands on your shirt and off you go. Hand dryers are stupid. Which is to say. Give me Frisbees, because they’re not as stupid as hand dryers.)

Like 2016, 1908 and 1948 were Presidential election years.

In 1908, Republican William Howard Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan.

In 1948, Democrat Harry S. Truman defeated Thomas Dewey.

dewey-defeats-truman

Unless you were in Chicago, in which case this is what your newspaper reported.

President Taft

Opening Day, 1910.

President Taft was, according to scholarly rankings, one of our mediocre Presidents. Not horrible, just meh.

Of interest: the portly President once got stuck in the White House bathtub (citation: my junior high history report) and went on to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice of the United States (citation: ibid.)

The Internet says this bathtub thing – the very best thing in Taft’s history – never  happened. 

So, who are you going to believe? The Constitution Center or an innocent 12-year-old who lived in a simpler, non-Internet time?  Up to you.

A slimmed down Taft, who was the first President to throw out the ceremonial “first pitch” at a big league game, is now one of the Washington National’s Racing Presidents.

© The Baseball Bloggess, 2016

President Truman

Opening Day, 1949.

President Truman is often considered by scholars to be one of our greatest – and hardest-working – Presidents.

He also attended more baseball games while President than any other sitting President, according to the Truman Presidential Library. This was, Truman believed, an opportunity to help instill a sense of peacetime in a nation still recovering from World War II.

President Truman was known to throw out first pitches ambidextrously – using his right arm for some games, his left for others.

“May the sun never set on American baseball,” he once said.

Still undecided?

For the 2016 Cubs:

  • They took Manager Joe Maddon out of the AL East, which has hobbled the Tampa Rays ever since, making life just a little bit easier for teams like the Orioles. Thanks, Cubs!
  • They took closer Aroldis Chapman out of the AL East, when they got him in trade from the Yankees this summer. The elimination of 103-, 104-, and 105-mph fastballs was very helpful to the Orioles. Thanks!
  • They traded for Orioles mediocre starter Jake Arrieta in 2013 and found a way to turn him into the NL Cy Young. Still not sure how that happened, but good for you!
  • They traded for Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter in 2015. Hunter is the kind of reliever that makes you sit on your hands and hold your breath every time he starts warming up in the pen. Some days, he’ll throw smoke and completely steamroll batters. Some days, he’ll give up home run after home run. There’s no middle ground with Tommy.

 

Tommy can be the boisterous heart of a team. I was not happy about this trade. The Cubs let him go at the end of the season … (stay tuned)

For the 2016 Indians …

  • They are an American League team.
  • They have two University of Virginia alums on their roster – Brandon Guyer, outfielder, who is known for being hit by pitches, and Kyle Crockett, reliever.

guyer-hbp-2016

Ouch. Guyer’s Hit By Pitch “Map” for 2016.

  • They have reliever Andrew Miller. When the Orioles got Miller from the Red Sox in trade in the summer of 2014 he carried the O’s to the post-season. Miller and his Spaghetti Legs are beautiful to watch (as long as your team isn’t batting). He signed in 2015 with the Yankees and they traded him to the Indians this summer, but I will never forget what he did for the Orioles. How could I root against him?
andrew miller

Andrew Miller. © The Baseball Bloggess, 2014.

  • Remember Tommy Hunter (What, no? I just wrote about him in the previous section, come on!) The Cubs let him go after the 2015 season (because they are horrible) and the Indians picked him up.

Hunter fractured his back in a fall this summer (I’m not kidding: he fell trying to protect his baby!) and the Indians cut him. (Apparently the Cleveland Indians hate babies.) Fractured back or not, the Orioles re-signed him in August and went to the post-season for the first time since 2014. To Tommy’s credit, both his previous teams are now in the World Series, so maybe the Orioles should cut him next, that seems to work. NO. No, no, no. He’s like the spirit animal of the Orioles and must never be traded again.

Where he belongs.

  • Oh, almost forgot. I played a Cleveland Indians fan in a movie.

major-league-ii

In 1993, the movie Major League II was filmed in Baltimore. If you’ve seen the movie (and, seriously, it’s ok if you haven’t. I understand), you’d know it was filmed in Baltimore because big-budget Hollywood movies can only afford so much cheap tarp and bunting to cover up things, and so you’ll see signs for the Inner Harbor and other tell-tale Baltimore things prominently displayed in the film.

Most of the filming was done at the Oriole’s Camden Yards in October with real “extras” who got fed and wore Indians caps.

But, in September, before an actual game (and I’m almost entirely certain it was an Orioles-A’s game on a Friday night – a game that the Orioles lost and that resulted in pitcher Mike Mussina straining his shoulder) fans were asked to be in a crowd scene. We were told that Charlie Sheen – playing pitcher Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn — was going to come out of the bullpen and into a game at a pivotal moment. We were told to pretend to be excited.  To cheer and dance and carry on.  Oh, one more thing, they told us: Charlie Sheen wasn’t really going to come out of the bullpen. We would have to pretend that we saw him out there on that empty baseball diamond. This is how great actors get their start, so we all went along.

The song “Wild Thing” came on over the PA and for the next few minutes we were all Indians fans.

You can see the scene (with Spanish subtitles) here.

 

Look for me at the corner of where the third base line pivots near the foul pole. You won’t see me, but I promise you I’m there.

In researching this life-changing movie debut this week, I discovered a story in The Baltimore Sun claiming that the first filming was done at Camden Yards in October, after the season ended.

WHAT???

Shut up, Baltimore Sun. I was in that movie. And, they filmed a crowd scene at a game in September.

I needed proof. So, I emailed the one person who would know. The person who went to the game with me that night. My longtime friend Suzanne.

Suzanne emailed me right back – which is what friends do, even when you haven’t talked to them in years.  “Yes I remember. I totally cherish that outing.”

So there you go.

It happened. I was an Indians fan in a movie. (And, so was Suzanne.)

OK, that’s all I’ve got. Root for the Cubs. Root for the Indians. Up to you.

Baseball rooting is hard work.  I hope that some of this context will help you choose the best team for you …

… and for me …

final-vote-cubs-over-indians

Tuesday Update, 8:00 p.m.

VOTES are in! And so, I’ll be rooting for the Cubs 62% of the time and the Indians 38% of the time through the World Series.

25 thoughts on “Cubs vs Indians. Choosing The Right World Series Team For You.

  1. It’s that “certain comfort”, as you say, that has me thinking it would be easier on my aging nervous system to become an A’s fan, next year. The team’s owners fear nothing so much as having a competitive team that will fill the coliseum with fans- undermining their assertion that they should be allowed to move to a different city, because Oakland will not support a baseball team.
    For as long as the A’s are 10 games out at the All-Star Game, tickets remain cheap, seats plentiful and hope non-existent. After this year as a Giants’ fan, I think I could use some hopelessness. It’s one thing to, secretly, hope that your hapless team might catch fire, and scare the hell out of the League, and it’s quite another to watch a World Championship team, seemingly, forget how to play the game, until just before they turn the lights out.
    Of course, I’ve said something like this for the last three years, at least, and I haven’t actually done it, yet, but, as they say, “Wait’ll next year”.

    • With you there, Sharon but, even more, I’m loving a World Series between two old-time, “original” baseball teams, who have remained and played where God (or “Baseball Gods”), intended them to be! I’ve grudgingly come to accept the Giants being in San Francisco, and even the Dodgers, outlandishly separated from Brooklyn, but I just can’t bring myself to pull for one of the “expansion” teams, that seem to be purely about making money, with no historical attachment to any city. I pull for the Orioles and Red Socks, for the same reason, and, sometimes- what the Hell- even the Yankees.

    • As someone who was born in California and raised in North Dakota, I’ve never understood how Ohio can be called the Midwest. It’s just never made sense to me, even though everyone says it. Cleveland is even further east than Atlanta! :)

      In any event, two very talented and fun teams … it’s going to be a good Series!

      • This has bugged me for years! I was raised in Nebraska, almost directly above the geographical center of the United States, which is in Kansas, and Illinois is not in the “Midwest”, dammit! It’s an Eastern City, on the frackin’ Great Lakes. I don’t suppose there’s anything that can be done about it, at this late date. It’s that whole “Coast-centric” thing: if you’re not on one coast or the other, you’re in the rest of the country, which is all called the “Midwest”.

  2. You’re right! I looked for you in the film clip but couldn’t find you. As a Cubs fan, I have to hope the Indians they meet in the World Series are as imaginary as the film version. It looks to be a great Series for us all. From your poll, you seem to have a lot of Cubs believers following your blog. I just hope their faith is justified.

    • I have the ticket stub from the game (yup, I keep ticket stubs!) so that’s how I knew what the game was and I my memory of where we were sitting was spot-on. I’m grateful that Suzanne confirmed the game and the filming happened because after reading The Sun article, I was starting to doubt myself. Cubs are pulling out in front in the voting …

  3. I look at it this way, as neither team has won in my lifetime (which is forever) I get to see something I haven’t seen before (either an Indians or Cubs win). I voted “Indians” simply because the Cubs fans are better whiners and I’d hate to lose that part of modern American culture. Besides I’m a Terry Francona fan (even back when he played).
    v

    • I’m a little disappointed that my Major League II cameo didn’t provide a surge of support for the Indians. “I’d hate to lose that part of modern American culture.” Awww, you said it better than I ever could.

      Did you read Francona’s “The Red Sox Years”? I enjoyed it and not just because he really stuck it to some of the Red Sox players under him. (Ok, maybe I enjoyed those parts a little more than I should have.)

  4. I hate to say it….but Cubs fans are becoming ANNOYING! and the Indians have that terrible name. I’m just going to passively watch and then laugh as the “fans” that were hidden under rocks proudly wear the gear of the their team for that moment.

  5. Pingback: I’m Back | Koi Scribblings

  6. Nice read as usual! Looking forward to the Series (Go Cubs!) with a lot of ex-Red Sox representation — most of whom I liked except for John ‘Mouth Breather’ Lacking, as in lacking, but as a baseball fan I’m rooting all the way for the Cubs. It’s their turn and their time is now. The dry spell-turned-interminable drought-stricken Cubs have gone 40 years longer than even the hard-luck Indians from getting a title. Plus, as Gary said above, the Bad Cap Karma wrought by that grinning Sambo-esque “Indians” mascot emblem just may catch up with them — and the front-office/owners kind of deserve it. As much as I like Indians’ Mgr.Terry Francona, who will forever be sainted in my book (thrown under the bus by his Sox players and management post ‘chicken-gate’), in 2016, and especially given the tenor of these rancorous divisive times, that thoroughly offensive logo is even more dated than the Cubs’ losing streak.

    • Thanks Jonathan! You know now that you mention it, both the Cubs and Indians have relied heavily on players who were important AL East’ers … and you and I, Red Sox and Oriole, can root for Andrew “Spaghetti Legs” Miller together. :)

      And, I’m with you … I’d love to do away with the Cleveland and Atlanta names/logos, and, especially, the patently vulgar, racist, and horrible name of that football team from Washington.

  7. This is a tough one for me, as I honestly do like both teams. At least it’s not one of those years where I’m like, ‘Wow, I can’t stand either team, probably won’t even watch one game!’
    I’ve actually liked the Cubs a lot longer. When I got out of school as a kid, I ran home to turn on WGN, and either the Cubs or Scooby-Doo would be on. I was a winner either way. I listened to a half-drunk Harry Carrey, and learned to idolize second baseman Ryne Sandburg (I played second, also). I went to Wrigley way back in 1996, and rooted for Slammin’ Sammy in the summer of ’98. My heart was torn out in ’03, although I never blamed Steve Bartman, just felt sorry for everyone blaming him.
    As for the Indians, Major League has been my favorite movie since the late 80’s. I own it on VHS, have two different DVD versions, and a digital copy on VUDU. I can’t think of the Indians without thinking of that great roster, including Wild Thing Vaughn (I do like the sequel, and have the DVD, that must have been awesome being in the movie, too!). I like the Indians history also, I visited the Bob Feller museum in Iowa in ’10, and Progressive Field in ’14.
    So, yeah, this is a tough one. But I’m probably pulling 60%-40% for the Cubbies.

    • It’s nice to watch the World Series and just enjoy watching two very good, and very deserving, teams play. My favorite part of Major League II is how the filmmakers really didn’t bother to hide that the movie was filmed in Baltimore and at Camden Yards … which is sort of weird and funny and cheap (and clearly before the days of CGI which can cover up anything). I like to watch MLII when it comes on the MLB channel and then I always go, “There! That’s my scene! That’s me!” and we’ll all pretend that you can actually see me (which you can’t) … but I know I’m there somewhere. :)

  8. This is a brilliant use of data to create and back–up some valid points.

    The school report reminded me of some of my own “creative” (read: suspect findings) writing back when we were lucky to get our hands on an IBM Selectric-type. I’m sorry you wavered on your conclusion.

    I feel that in the background, the singing done by Bill Murray made a lot of folks that don’t give a crap about either team suddenly show up with an opinion. I get that. The Mascot has to go. I get that. But with my whole being I say “GO TRIBE!” with no reservations.

  9. Very fun read! Maybe I should have used your method … (with the same result). My husband is from Cleveland, but we lived for 25 years in Chicago. I’m an NL baby (Pittsburgh) but wanted to be nice to my husband. So I pretended to be OK with the Indians doing well through game 6 but then secretly went whole hog for the Cubs. I won! (Btw, I was in a crowd scene of “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” as a teenager. I’m about as visible as you were.)

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