By Jeff Montgomery
Unfortunately, the fall of 2016 is not going to be filled with memorable moments supplied by our Kansas City Royals. Occasionally, there have been a few shots from last years World Series run shown on the Playoff television coverage but its just not as exciting when you are watching teams from other markets take the field of play.
After only two seasons of Playoffs for the Royals, there seems to be an enormous void while watching other teams try to make their own history in 2017. One would think that after a 29-year drought without Playoff baseball we would all be okay with sitting this year out. In reality however, most Royals fans almost thought that a World Series title would produce a bye to the post-season this year much like it seemingly did in 2015 after falling just short of a title in 2014.
Looking back, it now makes one appreciate how precious those post-season appearances really are. The fact that the last four World Series Champions have not made the post-season the following season certainly confirms just how difficult sustaining a championship caliber team is.Several people ask me who I like in the Playoffs and my answer is the Cleveland Indians, the same team that I talked about back in May and June as the team I felt the Royals should be the most concerned about in the Central Division.
My reason is a little different now than it was then but several factors remain the same. They have Terry Francona at the helm. He helped bring the Boston Red Sox titles again after decades of absence during his tenure in Boston. The Indians have great pitching. Before losing two keys in their rotation before the season ended, most people talked about their starting rotation. Now people usually talk about their bullpen when they talk Tribe pitching.
They also have a very balanced offensive attack. No real standouts but several high quality hitters. They also play good defense, especially up the middle and they have speed.
If you look at my reasons for liking the Indians its basically describing the 2015 World Series Champion Royals: A manager that backs his players almost to a fault, a bullpen that finds ways to rise to the occasion no matter how gloom it seem and also covers up whatever shortcomings the rotation may have, and a lineup that produces from top to bottom that plays solid defense and will push the envelope on the base paths.
The National League will provide a formidable opponent in the World Series against whoever represents the American League and it will be great baseball. With the Royals out, I would love to see the Indians match up against the Chicago Cubs as they are both teams that have not experienced a World Series title in many, many decades. Lets enjoy our offseason!
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