Welcome to Tribe Talk, where Bleacher Report's Cleveland Indians fans weigh in on the ups and downs of the club each week throughout the season.
This week, we fess up on whether we're glad the season is coming to an end, discuss the season's biggest bright spots and disappointments, and share our best ideas for attractions at the Progressive Field Winter Wonderland.
I would like to thank this week's participants, Dale Thomas and Dan Tylicki, for their contributions. This discussion is open to all, so please feel free to comment below and pitch in your thoughts on the questions we're addressing this week.
1. It's here! It's here! It's finally here!
No, not Christmas. I'm speaking of the final week of baseball's 2010 regular season. Most fans probably aren't quite that excited, but then most fans didn't have to watch the Indians all season.
So honestly, are you truly glad it's finally over? Do you really just feel relieved we can call it a year, or are you always just sad to see the Tribe's season end, no matter how dismal it's been?
Do you think most Tribe fans would agree with your opinion?
Samantha Bunten: The great Bart Giamatti once said the following about the end of the baseball season:
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."
I guess what I'm saying is, Giamatti and I feel the same way about this. I never want to see the baseball season end, no matter how bad the season has been.
We complain about our team a lot, and they deserve it. But in the end, we're lucky to live in a world where we get to watch baseball.
Even bad baseball.
I would hope that most fans would agree with this assessment, though I don't believe they do. And I can't say that I blame them.
Here's to next year! Maybe there will be a better season, maybe there will be a worse season. But at least there will be baseball.
Dale Thomas: Nah, I'd rather summer stuck around along with the Tribe, even though there are a lot of bugs that come along with the deal.
Acta has been refreshing, even though he hasn't exactly been a "wow" factor, and the team has been fun to watch once I got past that pesky thing about wanting to win games.
Some pretty good ballplayers are going to rise up out of this mess, and that always leaves me wanting to watch one more game.
Judging by the empty seats at the ballpark, I'd say most fans wouldn't agree with me at all.
Dan Tylicki: I actually am, just since this season we knew was going to be hard to watch. Cleveland's a football city first, so once September hit, I don't think people minded that the Tribe's season was over.
The casual fan would agree, though the die-hard baby boomers who have lived through worse teams would not enjoy the offseason, I imagine.
2. What was the single biggest bright spot for the Tribe this season?
What good can we take from 2010, as Tribe fans?
Samantha Bunten: You have to appreciate what Choo was able to do with his season. He turned in a stellar performance and put up great numbers, despite missing significant time with injury and being on a bad team.
I like watching the young guys too, even if they're a long way from looking like they can form a competitive major league team. It's tough to let go of the idea of having a decent, if not successful season, but once you do, it's easier to at least appreciate watching the kids learn and improve.
Dale Thomas: One bright spot for me was not feeling like I got sucker-punched by trades and salary dumps. But the one that shines like beacon is getting rid of Jhonny Peralta.
I think there are some very good things for fans to ponder over the offseason. It looks like we have a viable closer, and that's just flat-out huge.
Santana and Brantley show tantalizing promise on both sides of the ball, and our pitching....ummm...well, let's just say we finally discovered a use for Marte.
Dan Tylicki: Simply put, Shin-soo Choo is the real deal, and will hopefully be the star of the team for many years to come.
Besides that, a good deal of the new talent looks promising, such as Brantley, Perez, Tomlin, and Carrasco.
3. What was the single biggest disappointment of the 2010 season?
Do you think this is something that can be fixed in 2011?
Samantha Bunten: Injuries to key players was a huge factor.
That's the most frustrating disappointment of all because it's just bad luck. It's nobody's fault.
We can't blame that on Dolan or Shapiro or Nimartuena. I'm not even sure we can blame it on Trevor, but I'm willing to give it a shot.
Aside from that, I suppose the biggest disappointment was players whose development did not progress at the rate it should have: Brantley, LaPorta, Masterson...and the list goes on.
As far as 2011 goes, obviously you can never "fix" injuries. We'll just have to hope we get luckier next year.
As for the players who didn't progress at the rate they should have, I do think that can be fixed. Brantley and LaPorta have already shown signs of improvement; let's hope they continue in that vein.
Dale Thomas: My biggest disappointment was the lack of an infield. The errors were really hard to take when our pitching is so dependent, and it's not like they made up for it with their bats.
The one exception is the guy at short. I don't expect this will be fixed in 2011.
Dan Tylicki: Injuries. They hurt many teams, but Sizemore, Cabrera, and Santana missed too much time to them, so it made this season a wash very early on.
It'll be fixed in 2011, provided they don't get hurt in the offseason.
4. Fun Question of the Week: The Indians recently announced plans to turn Progressive Field into a "Winter Wonderland" during the offseason.
There will be games, there will be rides, there will be snow. I know, I know; the joke writes itself. But tell us, what are your best ideas for Tribe-themed rides and attractions for the Progressive Field Winter Wonderland?
Samantha Bunten: Chris Perez hair salon? Second base merry-go-round? Trevor Crowe dunk tank?
There will also be an empty, unmanned attraction that will just be called "third base."
Dale Thomas: The Slider—This is the sledding hill with purple snow that smells really bad.
Choo Express—this train never leaves Cleveland.
Dan Tylicki: Perhaps a game where we have to throw a ball past Nimartuena to score. It'd be a winner every time.