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Indians Indians Archive The Arrival
Written by Paul Cousineau

Paul Cousineau
Talking to Paulie Koooos and his lovely wife last night over a couple cold ones before heading into the Jake ... we all realized the importance of last nights game.  For about 18 different reasons, winning that first game was huge for this Indians team.  And not only did we win ... we beat the snot out of the big bad Yankees.  And the atmosphere inside the Jake was ABSOLUTELY ELECTRIC.  In today's piece, Paulie C talks about the game, the atmosphere, the win in his latest ...

Going into Game 1, I tried not to get too locked in on how huge the opener of the ALDS was for the Indians.   

But it was enormous - as the game that would set the tone for the series, the game that would either make the Yankees mortal or the game that would put them on a higher pedestal in the eyes of some, the game that C.C. needed to win to pave the way for Carmona in Game 2 to ease the burden on the Faustastic One, the game that would either debunk the myth of "playoff experience" or strengthen it. 

In a short series, all of the games are important, but none more so than last night's opener against New York. 

If Wang shut down the offense, how would they react and would they start to press?

If C.C. got crushed, what would be the trickle-down effect on the rotation?

If the Yankees came into Jacobs Field and beat the Indians handily, how would the young Tribe rebound? 

Of course, all of the questions became moot as the Indians treated the basepaths as their personal merry-go-round, as C.C. bore down to minimize the damage created by him not having his "A" game, and as the bullpen arms (you remember the ones, right, with "no playoff experience") completely shut the Yankees down. 

From the first pitch the Jake was positively electric. 

Every pitch, every call, every swing was life or death. 

The fans were into the game in a way that they haven't been in YEARS (and I've been to my share of games, particularly since becoming a season ticket holder in 2003...yes, 2003) willing C.C. to get that tough out and for Kenny to pretend it was 1995 all over again.   

Having only been to one playoff game at the Jake (the late 90s run coincided with my collegiate years), and that one game being the game that Pedro Martinez came out of the bullpen in Game 5 to go Don Larsen on the Tribe, it was an incomparable atmosphere.  

Hugs and high fives were everywhere. 

The Mezzanine was literally shaking as the Tribe just kept putting numbers on the scoreboard, padding the lead, putting their foot on the collective throat of the Yankees. 

People in the park were unaware of the whole LeBron fiasco, and really...who cares?  The Jake was packed with Tribe fans whipped into a frenzy, fueled equally by love for the Erie Warriors and hate for the Bronx Bombers. 

The greatest thing about the win is that it was a complete team effort. 

Despite not having his best stuff, C.C. gutted out 5 innings in the face of a rapidly mounting pitch count and 6 BB, keeping his team (it is HIS team) in the game.

Every player but Grady and Casey crossed home plate and Blake had 2 RBI.

Every player but Frank the Tank had a hit with Gutz walking twice and scoring once.

Rafael Perez cemented himself as a thoroughly dominant reliever, making that "historically great" offense look like the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Jenny Lewis and Senor Slo-Mo combined with The Scarecrow to allow 1 baserunner in the final 4 innings.  ONE BASERUNNER! 

Of course, despite all of that, the national media remains unaware that the Indians won the game last night...only that the Yankees lost. 

But with my voice is cracking from the "Let's Go Tribe" chants on the westbound RTA train heading home, with my stomach aching from too many hot dogs and peanuts, with my chest puffed out a little more from the joy of watching the Indians TROUNCE the Yankees in our house - it doesn't matter. 

The momentum is on the side of the Indians with more to come.

They're up 1-0 with their nastiest pitcher going in Game 2 with a 5:00 start, meaning that the shadows are going to make Carmona's nearly-unhittable stuff even more so today at the Jake. 

This team bows to nobody and has made a statement trumpeting their arrival as a force to be reckoned with.

Ready or not AL, here come the Indians!

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