THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN: A Multi-part Series (3)



A deep dive into the Season 2 Indians, and the franchise that turned a chaotic, ragtag, farcical group of memers into a Superteam.

A Multi-part series written by Kyle Corbett

Part III: The BB Friendship Express 

I remember early on in my MLR career, BB Bambino Jr. would chat often in personal messages. He, like me, was a huge fan of the popular television show Survivor and had seen me around on the show's subreddit. He told me stories about having met past contestants, while also sharing about how he got to attend one season's live finale in Los Angeles. The more I look back on those times, the more I realize how fitting it was that Bambino would get to be part of the Indians. He was a huge fan of the show, and he just wanted to be on the Tribe, both on Survivor, and in the game of Fake Baseball. And as of Session 6 in Season 2 of the Major League Redditball season, Bambino's tribe is as strong as it can possibly be.

Bambino has just traded away the cursed G.H. Morello, and unexpectedly, he's about to face Morello in the team's game against the Texas Rangers. In preparation for this contest, Bambino has once again brought in some new faces into the Cleveland clubhouse. Some of these names include Casey Nine, who scored the first ever run against the Indians in a game, as well as Alfred Bain, who served mostly as a utility outfielder in his time with the tribe. The Indians also brought in a slugger by the name of Richard Pole. Pole, who would soon start going by Dick not long after his debut, would remain relatively quiet in his time in Cleveland, but in Season 4 would go on to have one of the most powerful seasons a hitter in the MLR has ever had, en route to his first ever All-Star Game appearance. But enough about them. We don't care about those guys. We're here to talk about a guy by the name of Brohei Brohtani, otherwise known in the Discord world as Lotus:

Thanks to some help from others in the league, I was able to find Lotus' Discord account. Here is his current profile picture. It's an enigma, just as he was. Lotus joined the league from an advertisement that was posted in NCBCA, a popular college basketball ZenGM sim league. Other players that would join from NCBCA include Ethan Franklin, Zander Ackley, Conor Sexton, Bronske Jones, and Lefty Louis, to name a few. One thing, however, that really set NCBCA players apart from others is that every single one of them is noteworthy. These aren't quiet guys by any means. NCBCA players were loud, violent, hungry, and were going to make their presence known. If that doesn't sound like a Cleveland Indian to you by now, I don't know what will.

But Lotus was an interesting case. He was known for being quite a weird character in the MLR. Lotus played in the first ever game I umpired in the league. The opposing pitcher, Donked McToad, commented in the pitching chat throughout the game about how "his persona is so off". Lotus was also known for getting in some heated discussions over in the NCBCA Discord. For the most part, none of that roughhousing transferred over to the new league, but there was definitely a trail of concern that followed him.

Brohtani is going to hit leadoff for the Indians in their game against the Rangers. This is Bambino's chance to show the world that his franchise will no longer have to bear the burden of Morello any more. His tribe is free from their shackles, and their bounds are endless. For those wondering, yes, Morello did take every instance possible to show the Indians they were wrong for making the trade. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Morello hit an RBI single that scored Duke McCracken, giving the Rangers a multi-run lead. Here's what Morello had to say about it in the game thread:

The Rangers would maintain their lead throughout the course of this game, and end up securing their 2nd win of the year on a 5-2 victory. Bambino's tribe is heartbroken. They just let Morello walk all over them. The Indians are now at 3-3 on the year, and much of the hype surrounding the organization has died down. The Indians needed a kickstart. They weren't a team looking to sing the Blues. They needed some jazz on their team. They needed Frankson Ahtra.

No, don't worry, I didn't misspell that name. About a week prior, I told my in-real-life friend about Fake Baseball. For the purposes of this article, let's call him Michael. Michael is a huge baseball fan, and loves telling me about how Clayton Kershaw isn't past his prime and is still the greatest pitcher to walk the earth. Regardless, I knew he'd love the game. So I introduced him to the community, and he signed up under the name Frankson Ahtra, which is a parody of the classical singer Frank Sinatra. His time in the MLR mostly consisted of him pinging me in main wanting to start casual conversation, as you can see here:

As soon as he entered the league, Bambino knew he had to sign this guy. He loved the Dodgers, he loved musical theater, and he also loved Survivor. Plus, just like me, he also has a resounding voice, ripe for exploitation for the pouncing of the weaklings around him. Bambino had found himself a best friend.

And honestly, BB did that a lot. Bambino's key skill that helped him get so many new free agents was his friendliness and realness. I said it at the start of this series, but Bambino was genuinely a great guy. He cared for people and just wanted to be your friend, which makes it so fitting that his reddit username is /u/BBFriendshipExpress. Friendship is literally his middle name, and he wore that with pride.

Ironically, people look back on when Michael played MLR and still think that he was my alt. I find that surprising. People definitely see me as brash, blunt, forward, and sometimes hostile, but I don't think I give off the appearance of an Indian. The Cleveland Indians were a trademarked culture. You knew them. Back in Season 2 you could've taken away color roles from everyone and you could have easily picked out the Indians from the bunch. They stand out, and stand proudly alone.

Another player the Indians signed was none other than catcher Alex Yaxley. Yes, that Alex Yaxley.

Some of you might know this name from Major League Numberball, something we'll talk about later, but many of you who know Alex probably forgot that he was an Indian. Yet, there he was, standing big and tall behind home plate. Yaxley is notable in MLN for being an absolute raker at the dish. Yaxley recently became the first player in MLN history to hit four home runs in a row. But, believe it or not, Yaxley's career began on this side of the Reddit universe as an Indian.

So anyway, the saga continues in Cleveland with my in real life friend playing for this team. I recently talked to him about his experience with the team. Funnily enough, he said it was just kinda normal. He never really considered the team to be anything special. He just kinda saw them as the average, run-of-the-mill fake baseball organization, just as the rest of the league looks back on them to be. And he, an opera-loving, Survivor-watching, Dodger-cheering, Yankee-jeering, Greek-American, fit right in with the bunch.

The Indians would host the Astros in the next session, winning 2-0. Foxconn would pick up a complete game shutout in the process. The next session, Cleveland triumphed over the Orioles thanks to a 2-homer game from Pole. The Indians' next game would be against the Blue Jays, who were widely considered at the time to be one of the most consistent teams around. Thanks to a pair of homers from Pole and Stig Bond, the Indians claimed victory over Toronto 3-2, with yet another stellar pitching performance from Foxconn. Suddenly, the Indians were back. They had won 3 straight games, and were entering the All-Star break as one of the hottest teams in all of the MLR.

The time had come for the Indians to show themselves off at All-Star weekend. The Tribe would have the chance to go back to Tampa Bay, and prove themselves once again inside the Devil Rays' stadium, but this time, with the world watching. However, there was just one issue: not a single Indian was voted into the All-Star Game. None. Despite Foxconn's stellar statline or Pole's plethora of home runs, none of them made the team. The Indians were the only team with a winning record that season to not have a player voted into the game. The Indians might've been hot, but nobody liked them. They were a gang full of hungry, brash memers. They were bold, and they were proud of it. Nobody wanted them in Tampa Bay.

Here was the All-Star Game jersey of Stig Bond, who was declared an All-Star per the requirement that all teams have a representative. Bond would appear late in the game, pinch hitting for Toronto infielder Sven Jorgenson. He stood in at the dish against Henrik Omega, who was having none of this. He would not allow an Indian to stand in his presence. He made sure that the pitches were thrown so there'd be no way for Bond to pop it up. This ball, if hit, was going on the ground. And it did. On the 3rd pitch, Bond grounded into a double play. Omega was elated. At this point, he was one out away from earning the save and giving his fellow NL All-Stars a 4-3 victory in the game. In the next at bat, Omega gave up a 2-run walk-off home run to me, Kyle Corbett. The AL walked off the NL, and won the game 5-4.

I'm not sure what lesson the league learned here in the All-Star game, but at this point, the hatred of Cleveland had to cease. Teams were paying high stakes for messing with the Indians, and while the Indians have had some hard knocks along the way, the curse around their team has been lifted. Now, it's affecting others that mess with them. The BB Friendship Express is in full motion. The Indians, at this point, seem completely unstoppable.

Unfortunately, like all good train rides, the Express is going to face some bumps, primarily stemming from the conductor. Bambino began having some issues with some of the leadership within Major League Redditball. Furthermore, Bambino began growing a great relationship with current commissioner Timothy "Pops" Moyer. Both Bambino and Moyer were fed up with the league in its current state and wanted change, but that change wasn't coming. It was reported that a group of GMs had begun spending time working on potential changes to improve the league, but nobody really knew what this looked like at the time. All we knew was that Bambino pretty much stopped caring about his Indians, and it showed.

The next two games were very low effort from the Tribe. In Session 10, the Indians were obliterated by the Twins 8-5. One game later, the Indians faced off against the Mariners in a rain-shortened affair. The Indians did pick up the win by a slim margin, but the game was a mess in and of itself, with an umpire switch halfway through, as well as a lack of offense from both sides. Overall, the lack of effort was showing for the Indians. Somehow, the team had held on to a 7-4 record through their first 11 games, and was right in the middle of playoff contention, but nobody in Cleveland cared, because Bambino didn't care. And unfortunately, many of the Indians were prepared to do something preposterous. They signed onto the Indians knowing they would ride the BB Friendship Express, no matter where the train would lead them, even if it took them into the depths of the unknown. And one thing's for certain: many of them continued to live by that standard until the bitter end.

Tuesday. May 15th, 2018. The Indians were in the middle of their game against the Mariners, when suddenly, B.B. Bambino Jr. got up from his spot in the dugout and walked away. Following him were Dick Pole, Alex Yaxley, Stig Bond, Eddie Collins, and Jim Boeheim. The six players left, never to be seen on the MLR field again for the foreseeable future. Nobody knew why, nor did fans know why players were walking away across the country. Then, at around Noon EST, this document was dropped in the middle of the Main Discord. At this moment, the BB Friendship Express had gone off the rails.

"I knew Mick was a crackpot from the moment I was drafted by him," said Mylo Grams. "Who drafts Mylo Grams? Knowing his history? Gotta be crazy. Knowing myself, you can't trust anyone who trusts me."

"I wasn't surprised," said Jayson Burdwell. "Because Mick was a pompous self-important prick who had levied threats at me before that, so it wasn't beneath him."

"I'm thinking it was just misguided," said Zum Saparilla. "I think it brought a valid point or two to the table but coupled it with ludicrous demands under the guise of some big revolt. Just unnecessary drama I guess looking back, and Lord knows there's been enough of that in the league's lifespan."

"They wanted their own league so badly," said Garren Smudge. "But apparently that's no longer enough."

At this instant, Major League Numberball, otherwise known as /r/BaseballByTheNumbers, or simply "MLN", was born. The current commissioner of the MLR, Pops Moyer, stepped down, as well as many other important league contributors. Plenty of GM's followed Moyer out the door, one of which was Bambino. Bambino was joined by a handful of his teammates, and together they formed one of the MLN's charter franchises: The Kentucky Mashers. The Express had now ventured into the unknown, but as the league sought to answer many questions, one question remained buried among the ashes: Who would be left to manage the Indians?

All of the team's veteran leadership was gone. The team was down to its last legs. Even my friend Michael quit the game out of disgust for the politics that caused the schism. The franchise was in ruin. They needed someone to step up and lead. The team desperately needed someone to take charge, and clean up the mess that Bambino had left behind. But who would do such a thing? Of the few Indians that remained, there was only one left who was willing to take charge. Among the pack, only one name stepped forward. And that name was muttered by many, by saying an ever so simple and delicate word.

It's time for the reign of Lotus in Cleveland.


(Special thanks to my friend Michael, several members of the NCBCA, Jayson Burdwell, Zum Saparilla, Garren Smudge, and Mylo Grams for contributing to this piece. Be on the lookout for Part IV soon!)

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