One month into the 2012 MLB season and the Cleveland Indians are displaying bipolar traits, hitting at least one home run in their first nine games before embarking on an 11-game homer drought. The long-ball's absence appears a popular talking point amongst the media.
Personally, I say, "Who cares?" I'm more interested in seeing the Tribe win games than go yard. Think about this. Despite losing the homer from their offensive arsenal for 11 straight games, the Cleveland Indians still managed to go 6-5. Obviously, the Tribe can win without the long ball.
The media playing up the Cleveland Indians' home run drought speaks to our society's love for the long ball, a love I find overrated. In fairness, I do get the fascination. Home runs bring a flashy, dare I say, sexy excitement to a game usually featuring a slow pace. I meanm fireworks at the ballpark following an RBI single may seem overzealous. Yet that's not the case with a two-run home run.
Perhaps no single Tribe player represents the home run fanfare better than designated hitter Travis Hafner. I'm confident I could find Clevelanders willing to hate on Hafner for only going yard twice in April. Meanwhile, the once beloved slugger's 17 walks, .295 batting average, and .450 OBP in 18 games would likely go unnoticed.
Regarding the offense, I'm more concerned about new Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman than the long ball. As Bastian notes on the Indians' website Thursday, April 26, "The Indians signed Kotchman to a one-year contract worth $3 million over the winter to provide strong defense and to add a little offensive consistency from first base."
Through 17 games played Kotchman maintains a .149 batting average and .240 OBP, numbers which don't exactly qualify as "offensive consistency." Please know I'm not giving up on Casey Kotchman quite yet. He deserves more time to prove himself at the plate. In the meantime we in Cleveland can concentrate on the positive and continue marveling over Kotchman's superb defensive skills.
Ultimately, I think Clevelanders need to take deep breaths and not worry about the Tribe going yard. As long as the Indians continue winning, just sit back and enjoy America's favorite pastime.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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