The buzz surrounding the 2014 Cleveland Indians is palpable. Not since the Tribe fell flat on its face in 2008 has the city been in such a tizzy over the club. Even though 2013 didn’t bring the success 2007 brought, the strong presence of talented youth in the core of the roster led by Terry Francona means the outlook going forward looks far more promising.
Last offseason, the Indians’ marketing department took off with the slogan calling the city “Tribe Town.” This humored many Clevelanders due to the fact that the city’s sports scene is owned and operated by the Cleveland Browns just down the street.
Fast forward a year, and this no longer draw as much laughter as the Browns have put together yet another atrocious season that featured the team juggling quarterbacks, firing front office members and the letting go of the entire coaching staff. Once the Cleveland Cavaliers lose out on LeBron James, the city may lean on the only remaining relevant team.
Strong leadership and a tightly-bonded locker room is also another new feature with the fighting Francona’s. The current team even has a group called the “Goon Squad,” (Mike Aviles, Jason Giambi, Yan Gomes, Ryan Raburn) who relished the idea of being backups in 2013, contributing whenever their number was called. This comradery goes a long way in a six-month season, and people are starting to take notice.
Now that fans understand what the roster GM Chris Antonetti has put together is capable of, the tag “Tribe Town” doesn’t seem as impractical.