CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – The national focus around baseball has shifted to the Cleveland Indians and their franchise record 16-game win streak, but don’t expect the Indians to care about it themselves.
No team would be ignorant to the fact that they had not lost in 16 consecutive days at the park and the Indians players and manager have been made well aware of the run each day thanks to those who cover the team.
But skipper Terry Francona even said that his favorite part of the streak has been when he hasn’t had to discuss it.
The topic has obviously been unavoidable, and when tasked with discussing it, Francona pointed out the flip side. When the team has had losing streaks, the focus stays on the day to day which both allows them to get back on a winning path and makes long win streaks possible.
Aside from the volume of winning, there have also been some aspects of the run that are positive, as well.
“I mean I’m proud of our guys. They’ve done a really good job under some trying circumstances, doubleheaders, whatever,” Francona said. “And I think to be a good team you have to do that. It’s not always going to be 72 and sunny, and that’s when you really find out.”
To the team itself, that has been the most appealing aspect of the streak: the byproducts.
Of course the AL Central leaders are now just 1 ½ games out of the top record in the American League heading into Saturday, and the more games that feel like playoff baseball prior to October, the better.
“I mean you try not to think too much about the streak,” starting pitcher Mike Clevinger said. “Your eyes are still set on the same goals that we first started out with, but it gives it more of a playoff atmosphere at least in the stands. You can definitely see the energy and feel the energy around the crowd and kind of gave it that October feeling.”
For the most part, anyone asked about the prolonged success will give you the same answer. The team shows up each day doing the best they can to win that game. A ‘boring’ answer, as Corey Kluber said, but the right one.
“I think when you start talking about, ‘Hey, we need to win 10.’ Good luck winning the first one,” Francona quipped. “What’s right in front of you is what’s really important. If it was anything else, I’d do it. I just don’t believe in it. I don’t think it helps.”
Ultimately though, dismissing the streak as a whole and focusing on the day-by-day is as good as saying that nobody cares. And they don’t.
Even the apathy towards the historic mark is viewed as a good thing by some.
“That’s what I think is the coolest part and why we’re playing so well it’s just the fun we’re having on the field,” Clevinger added. “I mean you can look around the dugout and clubhouse – on the field, off the field – we’re having a ton of fun together and I think that’s feeding us on the field.”