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A Thank You Letter To The Cleveland Guardians
For anyone or anything, when you have just one thing working against you, it can make the task at hand extremely difficult. When you have multiple things working against you, it can make the task at hand even more difficult, sometimes to the point where it might seem impossible.
Well, "impossible" is a term that was never in the Guardians vocabulary this season, and it doesn't seem like it ever will be.
The Kids Make History, Win AL Central
Before first pitch of the first game of the season, nobody had the Guardians winning the division.
The White Sox were the front-runners in the division, and it seemed like it was their season to lose. Dominant pitching backed by a lineup that didn't seem to have many holes from one to nine in the lineup card, they were ready to have a season to remember.
If not the White Sox, the Minnesota Twins were next in line to win the AL Central. Adding big-time Carlos Correa to an already hitter-friendly lineup seemed deadly at the time, however, they could just never put it together.
Against all odds and having no believers but themselves, they made history. For that, thank you.
Jose Ramirez Gave Cleveland Hope
While all hope seemed to be lost before the season and it looked like superstar Jose Ramirez was on his way out, they signed Ramirez to a big-time contract and gave Cleveland and the great people in the city hope.
Don't get me wrong, a $125 million-dollar contract is a lot of money no matter how you look at it. However, Ramirez easily could have signed elsewhere for north of $200 million, but he didn't. As crazy as it sounds, even Ramirez' agent did all he could to get Ramirez out of Clevelend.
He didn't care. He appreciated the city, he loves the fans, and most importantly, he appreciates how the fans and organization have treated him and his family. It is not everyday you see someone take significantly less money to stay somewhere. Ramirez did, however, and gave Cleveland hope and something to look forward to for the next seven years. For that, thank you.
17 MLB Debuts
To be completely honest, when opening day came around and I saw Steven Kwan in the lineup, I had no idea who he was. That didn't matter, and it never has for Kwan, as he left his mark on the league in his rookie season, showing he has the chance to be a superstar in this league.
To Oscar "Spongebob" Gonzalez, who came into the league and gave the Guardians a big-time right handed bat, one that we didn't know we so desperately needed until he arrived. Thank you, from the walk-off home run against the Rays to the improbable walk-off single against the Yankees, the kid never backs down from the big moment.
To all of the other rookies who made an impact; all of the pitchers who performed in the clutch when the rotation was decimated due to injury, to guys like Will Brennan and Gabriel Arias who showed up right before and into the postseason and contributed at a high-level.
The rookies played a huge part in the success of the Guardians season, and for that, thank you.
Terry "Tito" Francona
While for the majority of the season I was one of the biggest Terry Francona critics on the internet, I admit when I am wrong. When it comes to Francona, man, was I wrong.
While some may still be mad he went with Aaron Civale last night over Shane Bieber or how he structured some of his lineups in the regular and postseason, he was the guy leading the charge and leading the magical season.
Unfortunatey for leaders and coaches in sports, everything falls on the guys in charge. When you have success, you credit the manager. When you fail, you question the manager.
Francona has been around the MLB for a long time, and has a rather successful track record to show for his time in the league.
While his days of being a manager seem like they are nearing the end, one thing is for sure; he left a positive mark on this team, one that he hopes is "just the beginning" for this young Guardians squad.
It's not easy to manage in any professional sport, let alone baseball. When you have the youngest team in the MLB, it makes it even harder. However, Francona never let his guys down.
He always had them ready for a big game, strategized and used his guys how he thought was best despite the outside noise, and most importantly, he let his guys play their game day in and day out, proving to be key for these young stars.
Who knows what's next for not only Francona, but for some guys on the roster as well. It seems pretty normal to expect to see some new faces and some faces go before reporting to Spring Training next season. That said, for everything Francona did for these young guys and teaching them that it is a team game, thank you.
Top to bottom, highest paid player to the lowest, every single name on that roster contributed in some way, shape, or form this season. It truly was an incredible run, and they are set up to be dominant and exciting for the next several years on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
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