The Indians and the Cubs made the World Series, an improbable match as each team is about as familiar with World Series play as I am with Mandarin Chinese. But there they are, and for the Indians, a catcher who batted .183 this season is behind the plate.
That was not the plan. The Indians had traded for all-star Jonathan Lucroy in mid-season.
Lucroy vetoed the trade. Cleveland was on his no-trade list. Now for a small raise of a few million dollars, he was willing to waive the no-trade clause.
Cleveland, loaded with pitching talent, needed hitting, particularly at catcher where starter Roberto Perez batted .183, and backups Chris Gimenez and Yan Gomes batted .216 and .167 respectively.
But Indians management declined the opportunity to trade top prospects for a guy who did not want to come to Cleveland.
Instead they traded for Andrew Miller, an all-star closer, even though they had a perfectly good closer in Cody Allen. Yikes.
Lucroy wound up with the Texas Rangers and they made the playoffs. He batted .083 as Toronto swept the Rangers in three games. Whoosh.
The Indians swept Boston then dispatched Toronto. And last night, that .183-batting starter, Roberto Perez, hit two home runs. He became only the fifth catcher to do so in a World Series. The others were Yogi Berra, Gene Tenace, Johnny Bench, and Gary Carter.
On Monday, Lucroy told ESPN he had no regrets about picking Texas over Cleveland. Money talks.
It could be that Cleveland will lose the next four games. Clevelanders (and we ex-Clevelanders) know this all too well. I was in the stands in 1968 watching the Browns lose the NFL championship game to Baltimore, 34-0.
My point is never outsmart yourself. There are many things in life money cannot buy. A World Series appearance is one of them.
I am not angry or upset with Lucroy. I am glad he went to Texas where he is happy. I am rooting for Roberto Perez -- as well as Francisco Meija, Greg Allen, and Yu-Chen Chang. Those are the minor league prospects the Indians were willing to give Milwaukee for Lucroy.
Oh and that all-star closer they did get? Turns out the pitching was not invulnerable as two starters went down with injuries, putting stress on the bullpen. But Miller has been lights out in the playoffs, willing to do whatever it takes to win the game. He wants to play in Cleveland.
He may be rewarded. We shall see. That is why they play the games.