Cleveland Fan's Guide to the 2016 Postseason on the Internet
With the ALDS officially set, our four teams in the American League decided with Toronto cementing their place after dispatching Baltimore in the AL Wild Card Game, it's time to look forward to the rest of the postseason.
In my desire to further eliminate stupid ideas and make baseball fandom a better place for all, I thought it might be helpful to establish some guidelines and rules that us as Cleveland Indians fans should abide by.
Well, look, welcome to 2016. The last time the Indians truly had any sort of a postseason run was 2007 when they went as far as Game 7 of the ALCS. I'm not one of those people that are discrediting the Wild Card as a playoff appearance, but a one-and-done scenario after a feverish end to September doesn't exactly qualify. There was a lot of ups and downs there, and the Wild Card game in 2014 certainly had some ups and downs, but this is really the first taste of extended postseason many fans in Cleveland will have. This is a different animal with ups and downs and multiple home games and all sorts of build up, I mean, who is tired already of talking about the roster and Thursday's game and all this and that?
I certainly am tired of listening to people talk about it.
So, as I sit up on my high horse, let's carve out some guidelines as you begin to enjoy this 2016 version of the MLB postseason, featuring your Cleveland Indians.
Category 1 - Interacting with Other Teams
These here are important. There's other teams in the postseason, and if the Indians make it as far as the World Series, three potential squads that us as fans will have the opportunity to interact with. Online & social media is a great thing, isn't it? Just with the AL Wild Card game, many of us took a vested interest in that game and even provided thoughts on it. You can be sure that lines will cross at some point and throughout the ALDS there may be some contact with Red Sox fans, wherever they may be.
So here's a couple of things as we go forward.
Rule 1.1 - Don't be a dick
Hey, 10 teams made the postseason and that means 10 fan bases have a rooting interest. If you aren't one of those teams, don't be a dick, okay? That also means lording your team's dominance over the other ones. If someone, say, a Royals fan for instance, tries to throw shit your way, you have supreme authority to shut them down as you see fit. Other fans can enjoy the postseason from afar, but if they come at you trying to say that an injury to Alex Gordon is the difference between Cleveland playing on October 6th and the Royals fishing, they are nothing but an illogical dumbass and deserve to be shown the door.
Rule 1.2 - The Cubs are the only fan base allowed to be more whiny
We can be pretty whiny in Cleveland. Of course a certain basketball championship has taken a lot of that built in good will of being allowed to be whiny away. This baseball team though is still the second longest drought of any franchise in baseball. In the realm of cities, Chicago has been pretty successful, even in baseball more recently than Cleveland. But Cubs fans? Man, they deserve to be as whiny as they want, especially if they don't win. Don't out-whine them though, because 100+ years is rough and you haven't built up enough allowance to do that. As a singular Cleveland-sport fan though, it is perfectly acceptable to be more whiny than all the other teams though.
Also, keep in mind these other notes in regards to other teams
Washington - The Nationals have never won a World Series, but they've only technically existed since 2005. Even as the Expos though, their drought extends to 1969. Tread lightly, as the Washington Senators (1961) never won anything either.
Texas - Speaking of the Senators, the former Washington franchise is also winless in the World Series column, which is especially gutting since they made it back-to-back years in '10 & '11. Texas is a big state though.
Toronto - Speaking of big, Toronto technically stands for all of Canada right? Well, Canada won a World Series in 1993, so they've got something. That's also the last time they made it that far though, so they're kind of thirsty. Still. We can be more miserable than this.
LA & New York - I don't really care about these two teams or their fans. Ignore them, they're probably pretty harmless anyway. They have other things to worry about.
San Francisco & Boston - Just. Don't even.
Rule 1.3 - Jose Bautista is Awesome
That being said, if any sort of matchup with Toronto comes, Jose Bautista is awesome and you shouldn't care if he bat flips. Just bow down and be okay with the fact that he beat us.
Rule 1.4 - Bryce Harper is also Awesome
With a capital A.
Category 2 - Interacting with the Famous/Semi-FamousMedia, writers, famous celebrities, not-so-famous celebrities, and unknown writers. Whatever have you. They will be aplenty and you will have to decide what is good and what is bullshit.
Rule 2.1 - Let the local writers cover the team
This will be expanded upon later, but let's let the team cover the team, kay? That means, don't re-post injury reports or update on roster news or contribute in anyway possible. They're paid to deliver us the news and they are likely the ones getting it before you. So, just stick to your fandom. This should be general practice for the entire year, so we should all be well-seasoned on this. Additionally, don't buy into a "rumor" or a "speculation" from a national media type until a local guy bites. It may be more frequent since the Indians are on a grander stage, but they are no more plugged into things than they were a month ago, so trust the local guys, unless they say the season ended on September 17th.
Rule 2.2 - Don't complain about predictions or other "analyst" thoughts
We get it, Cleveland is slighted, people hate the Indians, they aren't believers. What have you, the myriad of different responses towards Mothership Analyst A not picking the Indians to win the ALDS range far and wide. Save it. No one cares what they have to say. I mean, people do, but you shouldn't. Just worry about what you are watching. The "we aren't getting respect" card is insignificant to anything. It's fodder for you to talk, and you have better things to do. It's fun to rewind after the fact and laugh all 19 "experts" on a certain site getting something wrong, but they're paid to do that, so just let them do it. They don't decide the game and I particularly don't care about you complaining about them.
Rule 2.3 - Mute the television if the commentary is bad
Do me a favor and mute the television if the announce team is bad. If you are watching at home and choose to go with the broadcast audio feed of the television crew covering the game, you are subjecting yourself to the potential of encountering bad commentary. If you are encountering bad commentary, mute the television and put on The Avett Brother's latest album. If you want something that will help you groove a bit, may I suggest a personal favorite of Coleman Hell? How about something more rock, that your flavor? Bastille (the dudes who did that Pompeii song) put out a new album and it's pretty fantastic. Or pick some less-superior music (that's your opinion, man). Do whatever you have to do to avoid this nonsense, if it's nonsense, and get away from it. Don't let it eat at you. I may subject myself, but if it's bad, you can bet I'm turning it off.
Rule 2.4 - Former-Athletes-Now-Analysts are the worst, especially if they tell you that they played before
One of my personal favorites. With the postseason now occurring and 20 teams out of things to do, networks providing postseason coverage will undoubtedly amp up their cast of characters. Most of them already are comprised of former athletes who now "analyze" the game they used to play. And now, they're be joined by a cast of current players, who may or may not have a personality that will click on television. Some, un-rightfully, assume that because they played or play the game, they know more. These dudes suck and if anyone uses that as a reason to justify them, they are terrible.
Rule 2.4.1 (addendum to 2.4) - A-Rod is probably pretty terrible, but he's also pretty great
Something about a good narcissist who is unaware about how much of a narcissist he is that I enjoy. I'll probably watch everything he has to say and stare lovingly into his eyes. No, what, you shut up, no I won't.
Rule 2.5 - If someone relate to/involved with the opposing team says something stupid, you should absolutely let them hear it
This may as well be the Aiesha Curry rule.
Category 3 - Interacting with the Indians and as an Indians fanYou will undoubtedly interact with Indians account and the team, in your own way. That's fine, but it's the postseason, so, recognize. And don't be a douche.
Rule 3.1 - Don't @ the Indians for stupid shit
I'm talking to you here. Yes you, out there, @ing the Indians to question them about ticket availability, lineup decisions, gate times, or things that are generally out of their control. Or even mundane stuff. Hey, here's a thing dude, this thing you are on, using to interact with the, it's called, the internet. USE THAT to find your information. That will help you out quite a bit.
Rule 3.2 - The Indians are not obligated to have a watch party
The Cleveland Indians are not obligated to have a watch party for any away game and you are ridiculous for suggesting that they are. If they decide they want to do one, they will do one and let you know. They are not there to cater to your drunken demands. Go to a bar or get together with some friends. And don't be upset when they don't have one. Also, don't yell at the Cavaliers either, they ESPECIALLY don't have to cater to your whims.
Rule 3.3 - Don't hate the players
Seriously, the minute an Indians player screws up, your first reaction should not be "I'm going to yell at him on Twitter." If it is, DYA and do it yesterday. If you are that person who rags an athlete for not performing to your standards and yells at them on the internet, you are the worst. You are worse than the ex-athlete analyst. Congratulations!
Rule 3.4 - You have a right to be angry and be armchair-manager, within reason
This doesn't include @Indians or any players. If you have a problem with how something went down, you can and should offer up an opinion. I do it all the time. But again, within reason and absolutely do not include the Indians or any players in that discussion. For one, they don't need to be caring about your nonsense. For two, if you aren't being logically reasonable, then why should anyone care about your nonsensical rantings about lack of response runs or WE NEED HOMERZ. If you have a legit beef about Tito bunting (hey there!) or have an issue with bullpen use, you should absolutely have a well reasoned argument and be ready to back it if challenged. And if someone disagrees, it's their right to do so, so let them give a well-reasoned argument back.
Rule 3.5 - Enjoy the game, if you go
If you are going to be at a game, enjoy it. Soak it in. Feel the awesome energy of a postseason game. Absolutely interact and have fun with some social media, but at least take some time to feel the passion of the players and the energy of the people around you cheering for a common goal. It can be pretty special.
Rule 3.6 - Dolanzcheep "fans" need not apply
You know who you are. Mr. Doubter out there. If you aren't a baseball fan in anyway and are just jumping on this bandwagon because it's the cool Cleveland thing to do, you can just bounce right now. If the Indians win and advance, the clamors will get larger and larger and that's fun, but seriously, if you didn't believe in this team and were a constant "I'll believe it when I see it" type of a person who likes to rag on the amount of money the team doesn't spend, well, believe it from afar. You aren't invited to any parades if there is one.
Rule 3.7 - Love who you got, you never know who the hero will be
You out there ragging on Roberto Perez all August about his terrible batting average. Yeah, you. Guess what? You may be singing Robo's praises if he comes up with a big hit in one of these postseason games. You never know who the hero will be, so tread lightly.
Rule 3.8 - Don't throw shit on the field if you go to the game
Seriously, who does that?
Rule 3.9 - Don't leave early
Seriously, don't leave early. Under no circumstances, in this situation.
Category 4 - Interacting with Each Other
In the grand scheme of things, we are ultimately interacting with each other. We have to suffer through things together and celebrate the good times. We are the ones responding to a majority of each other's tweets and posts. We are the ones who have to sit there and scroll through our timelines to wade through the good, the bad, the witty, and the unnecessary. So if anything, these are the most important set of rules.
Rule 4.1 - We're all on the same team
And rooting for the same team, so don't get nasty with each other. Some people are insufferable though and you should absolutely just mute them or unfollow them if you can't handle their shit. Take the high road.
Rule 4.2 - Snark is accepted, but not always appreciated
I take this from experience and I apologize in advance if it isn't your thing. Realize this and own it.
Rule 4.3 - Join the conversation
Some fun conversations happen on Twitter, so join in and have some fun. But don't be annoying.
Rule 4.4 - There's some smart people out there, listen to them
There are some absolute must-follows and must-reads. Look around other than your local media. There's some really smart people that use statistics and don't use statistics. There's some really good opinions and insights on there, and many of them don't have a deep connection to the team but are fans just like you and me. So go ahead and engage and enjoy.
Rule 4.5 - If there's a win, be euphoric, but don't go overboard
Seriously, we don't need a flood of insanity. Creativity is much appreciated though. Anything overboard is irritating.
Rule 4.6 - If there's a loss, lose with grace
Don't be terrible to be around. This team is built to contend and can do it again next year. It would be terrible, but chin-up. You can wallow, but not forever and don't be terrible.
Rule 4.7 - Don't live Tweet
Everyone's watching the game, and if they aren't, a connected media person covering the game likely is. Or MLB or the team's feeds are. You don't need to provide play-by-play. You aren't special with your 200 followers. No one's looking for you to keep them up-to-date, and if they are, they can suffer for entrusting you and your TV feed.
Rule 4.8 - If you're going to use Jordan Crying Face, be creative
I've accepted Jordan Crying Face as an almost "necessity" in all walks of life. My only request at this point is to use it in a clever way, if there's any clever ways left to use Jordan Crying Face. In other words, don't use it.
Rule 4.9 - Every game is a must win
Don't be that guy. Every game is a must win, so don't call any game a must win. It's implied. It's the postseason, welcome to elimination baseball.
Rule 4.10 - Don't be a know-it-all and don't deal in definitives
If this year taught us anything, is that you don't know shit and nothing is final. Talk when it's all over. Until then, watch it unfold and react, but it's not over until it actually is over. And, you couldn't predict what happened, especially in baseball, so don't claim you did, no one cares.