On The Nature Of Development: Why I Want An Indians Title First

There is nothing more rewarding than watching something grow. Watching our children, our friends, our family grow and mature is fulfilling. Observing change and development in those we love is central to our very humanity and central to our happiness.

I have watched as my nieces and nephews learn to speak, learn to reason, learn to throw, and most importantly learn to express love. The beauty is not in the rapidity of growth but in where we exist in the story. I love stories. Stories with growth and failure, pain and promise.

I want to see the Indians win Cleveland's first title since 1964. This is not to say I am rooting against the Cavaliers miraculously dethroning the Warriors but in terms of what will bring me the most joy, only the Indians can fulfill it.

This is because I have watched this Indians come of age, I have seen them evolve and change, the shocking breakouts and the trials along the way. I have experienced their story.

I remember watching Cody Allen in short season with my father, commenting on how fast he could climb and watching him become one of a handful of the best relievers in baseball.

I remember late in 2013 when I saw Brantley start to make adjustments on pitches on the inside of the strike zone, harnessing pull power we all thought he may one day have.

I watched as Carlos Carrasco tried to start brawls and couldn't find a way to turn an incredible arsenal into that of a mediocre starting pitcher. Carrasco may be "cookie" but he is also a cat and his fifth life has been a special one. If any story has been a joy to watch it is Carrasco's maturation.

I read scouting reports on Carlos Santana. The next .300 hitter with 30 home run power. I watched as we realized he wasn't that guy, as we changed our expectations. I learned that he was still exceptionally valuable even though he isn't who I thought he would be.

I was proven wrong. I thought Zach McAllister was a better pitching prospect than Corey Kluber. Man was I happy to be wrong about that. Kluber's evolution is why I love watching this team. Over the course of the 2013 season we got to see Kluber figure out what it was to be an elite big league pitcher, finding the components and then leaping out to a Cy Young Award.

I watched Salazar come off arm injury and fly through the system, people doubting his arsenal, his arm strength and Danny crushing doubters along the way.

I heaped praise on a 21 year old  5 foot 9 middle infielder whose skillset I fell in love with, long live the helmetless horseman, Jose Ramirez.

Yan Gomes. Who saw that coming? The Indians may have but fans didn't. I saw Gomes become an elite player right before my eyes. Watching him bounce back from 2015 will be still more fulfilling.

Then Frankie. I saw him at Akron, Columbus. I dreamed on him since a-ball as Jim Pete fed me the mysticism that we all now know is truth. There will be nothing more special in Cleveland sports over the next few years than watching Lindor's star grow.

I could keep going be it the fun of watching Kipnis play "dirtbag" baseball or the joy of watching Roberto Perez battle back from Bell's Palsy to be an impactful contributor.

I have watched this team grow, I have watched them struggle, I have watched them learn, and I have watched them change.  A few of the reasons I love baseball are failure and foibles especially when they are a prelude to success.

This Indians team is a talented one but there is no telling where it will stand in October, variance and injuries are unpredictable.

However, watching this Cleveland team matters the most to me. Because they didn't bring two of the top fifteen players in the NBA in and immediately become a title contenter. There is nothing instantaneous about this roster but there is something special.

 I want this title because I watched this team grow. It wasn't easy, 2015 was unbelievably frustrating. But with this roster I have skin in the game, I have seen who these players were, who they could be, and who they are.

This Indians team, this is the championship I want.
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About Mike Hattery

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