THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN: A Multi-part Series (5)



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


KYLE: "So you traded for Morello, huh?"

ETHAN: "Yeah lol"

KYLE: "No, but like really. You seriously traded for Morello?"

ETHAN: "Yeah lol"

KYLE: "Did you know anything about him when you acquired him?"

ETHAN: "I mean yeah I had been his teammate for a little and knew generally a decent amount about him from the main server. I wanted to boost activity. This was before all that stuff went down recently-ish and at the time he was kinda just a dude who cared a lot and could rub some people the wrong way. I never really had a problem with him."

For better or for worse, one theme that stayed consistent during Ethan Franklin's time managing the Cleveland Indians was that he was really good at managing people. Seriously, how could you be bad at managing people and be willing to take on Morello? No matter what was going to come of Ethan's move here, the entire league had their eyes on the Indians again. In one move, Ethan took the team out of the fastlane to obscurity and made his Indians relevant again.

I wasn't the most active in the league at the time," said then-Diamondbacks and current Angels infielder Mongster Mash. "But I knew things were about to get really interesting. Definitely decided to just sit back with a giant bowl of popcorn."

There was also no better time for this to occur. Here's a peek at the AL East standings right after the Trade Deadline:

The Indians might be two games out, but they still have four games to turn it around, and with a new fresh breath of air in the clubhouse, they went into their Session 15 game with an exuberance of confidence. The Indians are diving full speed ahead into the remainder of the season. Let's see if this risky move pays off for Franklin. And who is it that the Indians will be facing first as they head towards the end of the regular season? None other than their older brother, the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers came out striking early, with outfielder Morris Deratt hitting a grand slam in the 3rd inning. The Indians tried firing back with some solo home runs from Valentino Rollin and Filthy Frank, but it simply wasn't enough, as the Tigers once again get the last laugh and bully their sibling into a 6-2 victory. The Indians fall to 8-7, and are one loss away from being back at .500. With the Red Sox and Blue Jays winning, they are now two games out of the division lead, but are on the wrong side of a tiebreaker for the Wild Card. Toronto currently holds the first wild card at 10-5, but the race for the second spot is about to be decided here in Session 16. Of all of the games left on Cleveland's calendar, this one is going to garner the most attention, and it has been a game G.H. Morello has had on her calendar since the last time these two teams met. It's time for the rematch between Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

Thursday. August 2nd, 2018. The Indians and Devil Rays reconvene in Cleveland to re-settle matters from their last battle. Will there be fights? Will there be plunkings? Will there be managers wearing fake mustaches? Who knows. Let's find out what happened that fabled day.

The Devil Rays send pitcher Einhorn to the mound, and while teams are excited to see these teams face off, everyone is awaiting the moment where Einhorn faces Morello. In the Bottom of the 1st, that opportunity came. With Morello standing in the box against the veteran pitcher, here's what happened:

Einhorn didn't need to disrespect Morello, the Indians, or the fans in Cleveland here. Instead of plunking Morello, he simply respectfully displays his superiority through a masterful strikeout. These are not the same Devil Rays that kept the league on their toes throughout the first half of the season. There is a new culture in Tampa, and this is mostly due to their brand new General Manager: Robin Reynolds. Reynolds, however, gets "goosebumps" when he thinks about this game. "That game was an emotional rollercoaster", he said. "I had experience GM'ing, but I knew GM'ing vs. Cleveland was gonna be a new challenge."

The Devil Rays would strike first in this game with a 3-run first inning. The Indians would follow that with 3 runs off their own, including 2 off an RBI single from Thaddeus Gomorrah. Fun fact about Gomorrah: He is currently the longest tenured member of the Cincinnati Reds roster. That's right. He's one of a couple players who have been with the franchise since this point. Gomorrah's existence here is a small link the team has to what is to come of their organization, but for now, Gomorrah is going to tie the game up for his Indians.

The Devil Rays would go on to expand their run total to 6, most of those coming off the bat of Reynolds, who hit a 2-run bomb to help grow their lead. The Indians would need an answer though, and coming to the plate to help the Indians do just that is our good friend G.H. Morello. Let's see what Morello does in this plate appearance:

That's right. I think, in response to this outcome, I can proudly say "We like that!". The Indians are within just one run of tying up this incredibly important game. Both teams would go on to have solo homers of their own in the following innings, bringing the score to 7-6 as we enter the Bottom of the 6th. This is Cleveland's last shot at taking down the Devil Rays, and if they don't act fast, this will severely hurt their Wild Card chances.

With 2 outs, Valentino Rollin steps in. The big man has already made a major offensive impact thus far with Cleveland, currently 3-for-6 with a home run to his name. But, Rollin will have to square up against Indian hunter Ed Turner if he's going to help his team tie up the game. Here we go. This is the moment of truth:

Ethan Franklin's life is flashing before his eyes. He just took, arguably, the greatest gamble in the history of the league thus far, and it's not working out the way he had hoped. Furthermore, his team just got embarrassed by the Tigers and narrowly beaten at home by the Devil Rays. This is not going how he had intended. But, if you know anything about Franklin, it's that he is not to be messed with. Over the past two sessions, the league has really messed with Ethan Franklin. It's time they pay their toll.

Session 17 rolls around and Franklin knows that the team is lacking in the pitching department. With 13 runs allowed in the team's last two contests, something has to change with his arms. After working through some things with Tommy Foxconn and Angel Leon, it was time to see what the reinvented Cleveland pitching staff would look like, and boy was it fun to watch. The Indians welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays for this session's matchup, and pitching was the story.

Franklin gave Angel Leon the start, which was a rarity for the now-relier pitcher. Yet, Leon still took advantage, throwing a 4-hit shutout to help take down the Blue Jays 2-0. Both of the Tribe's runs were scores on home runs, one of which was from Brohei Brohtani. Despite stepping down, even Lotus is contributing to the magic. Everyone in this entire community is doing their part to help their team. Unfortunately for the Indians, the Devil Rays also won their game in Session 17, putting the Indians securely one game back of the Devil Rays for the last wild card spot. At this point, Cleveland's hope seemed all but squashed, but they still had an incredibly slight chance depending on the tiebreaker.

Luckily for Cleveland, their final matchup of the year is against the Baltimore Orioles, who have barely scraped together 4 wins all season. Surprisingly, Baltimore would hold Cleveland to the wire in this game, holding a 4-3 lead over the Indians heading into the Bottom of the 6th. This has been a fairly uninteresting game from start to finish so far, but this is Cleveland. We can't let their last regular season game be uninteresting. There has to be something for us, right?
Unfortunately, whatever that something could be is going to have a sad, mournful tone over it. The Indians dugout just received word that the Detroit Tigers have just dropped a game to the Devil Rays by 1 run, ending the Indians' season. No matter what happens here, the Indians' season is over. The Tigers have been a nuisance of a brother for the Indians all season, but right here, when blood is over water at call costs, the Tigers couldn't care less, as they weakly drop a 1-run game to Tampa Bay with no remorse for their sibling. The Tigers sneer from afar, since if they're going to miss the playoffs, the Indians will too. What a horrible, horrible family member.

Ethan is in disbelief. He fought so hard to get here. He has genuinely began to right the ship in this town, changing both the team's personnel as well as the team's culture. Ethan has done so much right, when he was expected to do so much wrong. Unfortunately, the cards just haven't fallen his way, and now, it's entirely out of his control. Yet, let me all remind you that Ethan isn't here to fulfill a lifelong goal or chase after a dream. He isn't here to cast a vision or become something he's not. All of the other Cleveland GM's tried that and failed. Ethan said simply that he's here because he likes to manage people. And in that narrow category, there is no denying that Ethan is incredibly talented. Of course, Franklin will soon get to work on building something even better for Season 3, but for now, the Indians' season has one more at bat.

Stepping to the plate now for Cleveland is rookie Rick McLightning. McLightning is in his second game with the team so far, and up to this point, has yet to snag a hit in his MLR career. McLightning is unproved, but wants to prove himself. He wants to be a player with a long and prosperous career in the MLR. He has goals. He has desires. He has dreams. Luckily enough for McLightning, he'll get to carry those out with the franchise over the next several seasons. McLightning stuck with the franchise as they moved to Cincinnati, and had a great Season 4 campaign where he showed up on some All-Star ballots down the stretch. Now, McLightning is returning for Round 4 with the organization in Season 5. He wanted a long and prosperous career, and here's how he got it.

Bottom of the 6th. 1 Out. Down by 1. Man on 1st. With one swing of the bat, McLightning is about to bridge together the chasm between the chaotic and ragtag Indians of before, to the championship-contending Reds of today. They may not have made the playoffs, but that doesn't matter. The Season 2 Cleveland Indians are about to get their storybook ending, and complete their transformation from a meme team to a superteam. Here's umpire Robin Reynolds on the call:

Reynolds' result was written over 17 months before this piece of writing would be released. I'm pretty sure he and I are the only ones who could have predicted that this would be a story worth passing down for generations to come, and how fitting is it that the two of us started our MLR journey together, batting 8th and 9th, for the Devil Rays, against the Indians. Now, in this moment, we'll together help tell the history of the Season 2 Indians for those who have forgotten about them along the way.

If I ended the piece here, it would be a storybook ending. McLightning, a currently rostered Red, walks off the Orioles to complete the Indians' incredible turnaround, setting them up well for later years. This is a perfectly great ending to our tale. However, that is not how this story is going to end, because Ethan knew that a simple walk-off wasn't enough. In the name of his predecessors, he had some vengeance to take care of.

The Season 2 playoffs would go by rather quickly, with the Phillies going on to claim their 2nd consecutive Paper Cup title. The offseason began soon after, and Franklin got right to work. Franklin would go on to add three major players in Free Agency. The first of these players is Tyler Palmatier. Palmatier has been more of a journeyman that a mainstay on any roster, but regardless, Palmatier was one of the most active and underrated players in the game at this point. For a team struggling with what their identity will be in the post-Bambino era, Ethan made a huge move here in snapping up Palmatier.

Next up was the signing of Viking Fishbird. Fishbird was a major presence in Fake College Football prior to joining the MLR near the end of Season 2. Like Palmatier, Fishbird had little experience in the baseball realm of things, but everyone around Fishbird knew he was going to be active. Ethan needs active bodies to create a sound clubhouse culture, and this move makes perfect sense for that need. Fishbird makes for a great option for Franklin at catcher, and was a worthwhile signing for the organization.

There was one more free agent that the Indians signed, and I cannot believe this is true, and yet, here we are. There was a lot of work Ethan put in to make this signing happen, but with no disrespect towards Ethan, I can confidently say that this signing had nothing to do with luck. The player himself even told me, when asked if this decision was to make up for past times, said "Nah by that time the team had completely changed for the most part. Plus I was pretty good friends with Ethan at that point." I don't believe these lies for a minute. This had nothing to do with skill or chance. This was simply fate.

With their biggest free agent acquisition of the offseason, the Indians signed pitcher and former Devil Rays GM Whitt Bass.

That's right. The man who spent an entire session developing method after method for torturing, lambasting, dethroning, weakening, and mocking the Cleveland organization, now 9 months later has come crawling to Lake Erie. Somehow, Bass came to join the team. It doesn't matter what happens from here. In this moment, the ghosts of GMs past are smiling down on Progressive Field, knowing that what has happened there is good.

I spoke with Isaac Snowbender, who was a draftee entering Season 3, regarding what new players were told about Ethan's Indians, especially after they signed Whitt Bass. Snowbender labeled this chaotic, ragtag, farcical group of memers as "the S3 Superteam". The team has completed its transformation. The old is gone, the new has come.

Midway through Season 3, Franklin would hand the keys of the car off to Jericho Caulfield, who has run the team ever since. Today, the Cincinnati Reds are entering into Season 5 as one of the top contenders for the Paper Cup. Last season, the Reds made the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history, losing in the Wild Card round to the Dodgers, who would go on to win that year's Paper Cup. You would never have noticed from their mellow appearance, but deep down, this team is rooted in so much. Now, you'll never unsee it. Finally, this tale will not be forgotten. At the end of the day, Ethan got to be the one to teach a lesson to the league that was echoed throughout Season 2, as well as throughout the history of this franchise. Simply put, Franklin could proudly exclaim "Don't mess with my Indians".


(Special thanks once again to Jayson Burdwell for allowing me to post these articles on his media site, The Write-Up. Also, thanks to Ethan Franklin once again for participating in an interview with me, as well as Mongster Mash, Robin Reynolds, and Isaac Snowbender for providing quotes for this edition. Lastly, thank you to everyone who has read through this series. I appreciate each and every one of you. Let's continue to create and tell stories like this for generations to come in our league.)

© 2019 The Write-Up. All rights reserved.
Powered by Webnode
Create your website for free! This website was made with Webnode. Create your own for free today! Get started