CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – It is no secret that the Major League Baseball season is exponentially more competitive than that of the NBA, but that does not mean the feeling after Game 162 cannot be similar to that of Game 82.
Like their neighbors in Gateway Plaza, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indians had a good feeling they would play in the post-season following a loss in the championship round. With just 10 teams remaining, the defending American League champions expressed a sense of relief that it was playoff time.
“It’s the beginning of ‘time to work’ mode,” reliever Tyler Olson said.
Even Josh Tomlin had to skirt the idea that the past week or so has been blasé while waiting for the rush of the post-season to start.
“This is when the fun begins, this is when the work begins and this is when it becomes one of those things where you come to the ballpark excited every single day,” he said. “Not that you don’t regardless, but these are the game you’ve played the whole regular season to get to and now they’re here. It’s becoming exciting for us.”
The team will have an optional workout on Monday before launching into full prep mid-day Tuesday. When Thursday’s game time is announced, the team will have another workout Wednesday near the same time.
Star shortstop Francisco Lindor joked that he was looking forward to having three days off for the first time in a long time. He also acknowledged the uptick in intensity that is needed to reach their goal, as well as the pressure of being a potential favorite.
“I don’t think they’ve still got us winning. I think they have the Dodgers and the Astros, I think. It’s part of the game,” he said. “We need to continue to do our thing and continue to work as hard as we can and put ourselves in a position where we’re going to get a chance of winning. If we win, then probably a lot more people will jump on the bandwagon.”
While the Cavaliers were heavy favorites to return to the NBA Finals in 2015-16 and 16-17, the sport is not nearly as random as results can be in baseball. The best team in the game rarely takes home the title, and a Wild Card team has won it all three times since 2004.
The Indians are no sure bet to waltz back to the World Series despite the ‘or-bust’ feeling for a team who had a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic last year.
That being said, top team in the AL has always had a confidence about them, never wavering even despite being 31-31 through the first 62 contests. Now with the experience of the 2016 run in the rearview, as well as sustained success through the next 162, the top team in the AL is ready for the road ahead.
“You know what you’re getting yourself into and understanding that the postseason is a long time, a long journey,” All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley said. “You have to be ready to go and know what you have to do in between days off and getting those reps of being out there, playing postseason baseball. It’s a different atmosphere and a great atmosphere. The experience is great for us.”