The Yankees lose,
theeee Yaaaankeeeees lose!
Those of you waiting for 1995 to return to Jacobs Field got your wish in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees last night.
Those of you waiting for C.C. Sabathia to put together a defining performance in a clutch spot got your wish in the fifth inning last night.
Those of you waiting for the Indians offense to explode got your wish from the first inning on.
And those of you waiting for the Indians to get their first World Series championship since 1948 -- and that's all of you covered in the above and everyone else who doesn't care how they do it -- might have just witnessed the first step in the process.
In the Indians' 12-3 victory over the Yankees to start their playoff series, we got a glimpse of The Ghost of Indians Past when Kenny Lofton knocked in four runs, all after two were out. We got a glimpse of The Ghost of Indians Present when C.C. Sabathia sweated and grunted and struggled and nutted it up through five innings and 114 pitches, coming back from a bases-loaded, one-out, 3-0-count-on-Jorge Posada jam in the fifth inning to keep the Tribe ahead and watch as they went further ahead. We got a glimpse of The Ghost of Indians Future when Asdrubal Cabrera smacked a homer, the Raffies Perez and Betancourt combined for three shutout innings in relief and Jensen Lewis (can you say future closer?) broke his playoff cherry by retiring A-Rod on a pop out to start the eighth.
We even got a glimpse of a humbled LeBron James, who had to take off and hide his disgusting New York Yankees hat by the time some guy named Russ Ohrendorf was pitching in the sixth inning. That's kind of like the Pistons using Carlos Delfino to try to get past the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. Who? Exactly.
Cleveland started the night with a bit of sabotage when a local cameraman hired as a freelancer by the Yankees' YES Network stepped on New York first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz's ankle, knocking the letters in his name around and eventually knocking him out of the game after a few innings. The camerman was fired, but he did his job. Friday night, the Indians will hire him and tell him to film only around A-Rod and Derek Jeter.
The Tribe overcame a fifth-pitch homer from Johnny Damon that was first ruled foul, then ruled fair. They overcame a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth when Jorge Posada looked like he would erase the Tribe's thin 4-3 lead like it was writing on a chalkboard. C.C. gave up a run-scoring double to Bobby Abreu, then intentionally walked A-Rod and his 54 homers. Up came Posada, who took three pitches. Somehow Sabathia came back to whiff the Yankee backstop, who hit a career-high .338 during the regular season. Then Hideki Matsui popped out to Jhonny Peralta and by the slimmest of margins and fattest of pitchers, the Tribe remained ahead.
That gave the Tribe the boost they needed. Three batters into the bottom of the fifth Victor Martinez gave the Indians the two runs back with a jack into the right-field seats. Then with two outs, Good Ole Kenny Lofton -- good and old Kenny Lofton -- knocked one up the middle to score Peralta. Lofton then turned back time, stole second, and scored along with Franklin Guttierez on Casey Blake's double.
That's Casey Blake, who has more at-bats as an Indian than anyone else on this team save Good Ole.
And after the five-run inning it was a celebration at Jacobs Field. It was the fans screaming O-H-I-O so loud they heard it in Columbus. It was Travis Hafner and Ryan Garko adding homers just because. It was rocking and rolling and partying at the Jake just like it was 1999. Or 1998. Or 1997. Or 1996. Or 1995.
Game 1 showed the Indians weren't a fluke, that their 93-win 1995 season wasn't a tease, that the Yankees are not a team to be feared simply because it says NY on their caps. No, these are the Yankees that haven't won a playoff series since 2004, the year they pulled off the biggest choke in sports history against the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees lose, theeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankeeeeeeeeeees lose.
But even better, Indians win.