CLEVELAND, Ohio – There was a video of John Adams playing his drum from his retirement home to ignite the fans.
There was Guardians superfan, Peter Knab, who didn’t give in to cerebral palsy. He made the first pitch from his wheelchair to a roaring ovation.
There was Jose Ramirez.
Altogether now: “HO-SAY, HO-SAY… HO-SAY, HO-SAY!”
Don’t you love this song as Ramirez struts around the bases after a home run, like he did in the sixth inning Friday afternoon?
How do you say: Cleveland 2, Tampa Bay 1. The Guardians have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three wild card series!
TIME TO SHOW A LITTLE LOVE
What a burst of sunshine on a dark Friday afternoon in October at Progressive Field.
Jose Ramirez belts a 2-run homer.
Shane Bieber only allows one run in 7 2/3 innings.
How do you say – Cy Young? It’s the award Bieber won in 2020 and it’s the Shane Bieber who was on the mound on Friday. Bieber was brilliant, as in three-hit-and-a-walk brilliance.
Bieber worked in the corners. He was tempting and tempting Tampa hitters to chase his dancing curveball into the dirt. He was in control, like he’d been waiting for this moment all season – and making the most of it.
The lanky, 6-foot-3 right-hander has a smooth, long-arm movement that reminds some of a young Jim Palmer. He gave Cleveland exactly what they needed in the opener. It should be heart pounding and cold sweats from a short playoff series. It’s a time for a pitcher to start with poise and confidence. It was Bieber. Without saying a word, her performance shouted, “Guys, just give me a few errands and you’ll be fine.”
A few came with two, like in Ramirez’s two-run homer — a 389-foot moonshot to right-center field. As the ball flew over the wall, a party broke out among the 30,741 Progressive Field fans.
The fans were chanting HO-SAY, HO-SAY. They were standing. They were waving red towels. They were dancing by their seats, more than a few swaying in the aisles. The stands were a wave of red and white – love for HO-SAY, HO-SAY.
REMEMBER AMED & CLASS
Who was on first base when this baseball exclamation mark was thrown?
It was Amed Rosario, the team’s most underrated player and Ramirez’s best friend.
If HO-SAY, HO-SAY is the heart of this team, Rosario is the soul. He was the forgotten man in the Francisco Lindor affair with the Mets. All he did was hustle, play every day, and help Ramirez demand the Guardians be the toughest team in baseball.
Then there was Cleveland’s secret weapon: the bullpen.
Emmanuel Clase is baseball’s version of the nuclear option, a powerful right-hander who blasts the opposition’s end-inning dreams. Guardians manager Terry Francona quietly decided before the series that he would use his star closer to an inning if necessary – something he’s avoided all season.
When Bieber gave up a two-out hit in the eighth inning, Jose Siri came to the plate. He had hit Bieber earlier in the game.
In fact, Siri came into Day 1 for 2 against Bieber. It was also a home run. So he already had two on the Cleveland ace. Francona wasn’t going to let him go for three.
Clase boldly stepped out of the bullpen. He prompted Siri to come out. He came back for the ninth.
Three up. Three down. Ball game.
The man who pledged to stay in Cleveland by signing a seven-year contract extension at the end of spring training was the hero of this game, with lots of help from his friend.
And yes, what a day for the Guardians and their fans!
RECENT TERRY PLUTO COLUMNS
Outsmarting the odds is the story of Shane Bieber, the Guardians’ opening playoff starter
Why the Browns are frustrating and the Guardians fun
While we wait for Watson, can we have a real conversation about the Browns – Terry Pluto’s Scribbles
Yes, part of Browns loss to Atlanta goes to Kevin Stefanski
No longer beating the drum, John Adams’ heart still beats strong for the Guardians
Kevin Stefanski is right: part of Atlanta’s loss to him
Hey Terry: Do the Guardians have a chance in the playoffs? What about Amed Rosario?
What’s the bottom line about Myles Garrett and his conduct?
What has been Cleveland’s best franchise in the past 10 years?
Guardians’ central fields? What an incredible story!