Indians: Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork


Unfortunately anyone who has ever worked with me, volunteered with me, been my roommate or just been around me for extended amount of time has heard me say “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork!” I truly believe that in most situations. While sometimes it is easier to do it yourself, it is almost always better to take the time to work together as a team.

The Cleveland Indians are a great example of this. While teamwork in MLB is much different than that of the NFL, NBA, NHL or soccer it is still vitally important. Teamwork for the Indians is more of a mental aspect, where in the other sports it is both physical and mental.

Physically the Tribe have to have teamwork between the pitcher and catcher, between the middle infielders and in hit and run situations. Besides that it is a sport of individual efforts connecting more than working together.

The Indians have been a great example of this over the past two season, a lot of credit goes to Terry Francona. Tito creates an atmosphere of cohesion which makes for great chemistry on the team.

So how has a team that sold off their opening day starter, closer and shortstop remained in the running for a playoff spot? Starting today they are 4 games back of the Royals for the Central Division and 3.5 back from the Wild Card. When the Royals and Indians still have a suspended game, a game we assume the Tribe holds on to, putting the team 3 games back in the Division and Wild Card races when finished.

Instead of starting explaining how the Indians are still in the race, we will start by looking at teams who have been struggling a bit in the same time frame: Oakland and Detroit.

Both the Athletics and the Tigers made huge moves near the deadline by adding aces to their staffs. The Athletics, after adding Jeff Samardzija already, went all in adding Jon Lester. The Tigers added David Price to what was considered a formidable staff. Yet those two teams have struggled since that time. The A’s no longer lead the West and are only holding on to a playoff spot by 1.5 games. The Tigers do not lead the Central and are only a half game ahead of the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot.

Those two teams created an atmosphere where the idea of teamwork isn’t valued. The players on those team have expectations that a few specific players will carry their team to success. The 8th hitter feels very little pressure to make impact plays because Lester or Price, or others in their high prized rotations, will dominate the opposing team. That mindset is true in Detroit’s lineup with Miguel Cabrera and the Martinez X 2. Instead of being focused on the importance of performing their roles, the organization has put the emphasis on individual stars to carry their teams.

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The Indians on the other hand do not have those type of players. While Corey Kluber is a dominate pitcher he isn’t a player the team depends on to carry them. Even with that true often in Kluber’s starts his run support isn’t there, a sign Tribe bats lack focus expecting Kluber to dominate.

Instead each player realizes that the game often relies on them doing their part to help the team win. The 8th hitter is as responsible for a Tribe victory as the 4th hitter, and he knows it. The bullpen guys realize that each out is vital to the team, not just the starter and closer.

While this means the room for error is very small, and has led to some very frustrating losses, it also creates a teamwork dependent team. A team that is very representative of Cleveland.

A team that realizes Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.

What do you think of the Indians team building versus the Tigers/A’s this season?