David Brown

Walk Toward The Light: Your 2009 Cleveland Indians

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Like 2008's Nail in the Coffin series, 2009's Walk Toward The Light aims to memorialize the eliminated teams that are gone and will likely be forgotten.

Cleveland Indians

Current record: 61-89

Season highlight Hmm. Off-the-field alternatives involving bobbleheads and beer might be tempting for a team that disappointed so deeply, but the 10-run comeback against the Rays on May 25 — in the middle of LeBron James season — ranks up there with great Tribe moments of all time. Ryan Garko(notes) (moment of silence) started the comeback with a home run in the fourth inning and Victor Martinez(notes) (moment of silence) broke an 0-for-18 spell with the winning hit. Also worth mentioning: Screwing up the Yanks' first homestand with a win in the inaugural game at The House That Paul O'Neill Built and following it up with a 22-4 pasting on the first Saturday afternoon in the park.

Season lowlight It's already happened, right? You have a couple of dozen hundred from which to choose (trading an ace left-hander for the second straight season?) but how about the the buzzkill generated by Yahoo! Sports' own Curtis Granderson(notes), who stole a game-winning home run from Grady Sizemore(notes)? Curse you, Curtis!

We knew the Indians were done for when ... Pronk went down. Slugger Travis Hafner(notes), in the midst of a comeback season, went on the disabled list after the April 28 win against Boston. He was on the way to getting screwed out of an All-Star invitation again when the injury bug bit him. Again.

The Stew's favorite posts on the Indians:

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Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn Bobblehead Night It's quite preferable to conflate real Indians history with fake Indians history, which the team did June 15 by giving away a bobblehead of actor Charlie Sheen, who also happens to be the coolest relief pitcher in major league history. Movie history, that is. History of the movie "Major League," that is.

Stranger than nonfiction Conversely, actual Indians history involving a spat between Rick Sutcliffe and George Brett apparently was debunked simply by researching Woodward-Bernstein.com Baseball-Reference.com.

Bob Feller on tour Some fans didn't like the Hall of Famer giving an honest assessment of the Indians — especially at the Chicago Cubs fan convention, of all places — but it was cool to meet one of the game's greats

10-cent beer night redux A Cleveland bar helped celebrate the classic mistake with a 35th-anniversary party that didn't get quite as out of hand as the original.

Fowl ball Progressive Field is known for its bugs, but seagulls (lake gulls?) invaded in June to help the Tribe beat the Royals. Shin-Soo Choo's(notes) game-winning hit bounced off a bird's wing, deflecting the ball from Coco Crisp(notes) and ruining any chance he had of throwing out Mark DeRosa(notes). For more fun, mix and match the names Shin-Soo Choo and Coco Crisp. My personal favorite: Coco Choo.

Attention, V-Mart shoppers! This team was so messed up, it had giveaways named for guys who never actually played for the Indians, along with giveaways for guys who were among the better players ever for the Indians but were traded a day earlier. Bah!

What the team needs to do for 2010: Lou Brown Bobblehead Night, first of all, if actor James Gammon isn't too busy for it. Speaking of managers, some want to bring back Eric Wedge's mustache without bringing back the rest of Eric Wedge. But the Indians have traded so many players that firing the manager might not be necessary, or advisable, unless there's overwhelming evidence to do so. Building on Carlos Carrasco(notes), Justin Masterson(notes) and Chris Perez(notes) will take time, but the offensive cupboard isn't bare. Just get Grady Sizemore healthy and with Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) already at shortstop, you have two of the better players at their up-the-middle positions in the league. Matt LaPorta(notes) will flower next season. It's a start for 2011, anyway.

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