When Your Favorite Players Change Teams / Farewell Mr. Smile and Cookie

Francisco Lindor
Carlos Carrasco

At least they won't be wearing Yankee pinstripes! Two of my favorite Cleveland Indians are headed to New York to play for the Mets. Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco were traded today in a blockbuster deal that landed Cleveland SS Andres Gimenez, IF Amed Rosario, RHP Josh Wolfe and OF Isaiah Greene. Two things are painfully clear here. One, Lindor was traded while there was a chance to get a boatload in return. Two, Indians management/ownership could not afford to pay him what he's worth in today's market. Lindor may not make as much in NY as he would have if there not been a pandemic that kept stadiums empty for the shortened 2020 season. Cookie, while not the Indians ace, was certainly an inspiration after coming back last year after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in May of 2019.

We may grow to love the new Indians players but it will be hard to watch Cookie and Mr. Smile play for someone else. I bet fans will agree with me that it just won't look right. Ya know? Like seeing Jason Kipnis playing second base for the Cubs last year, or when Jim Thome played for the Phillies and White Sox. This list is full of oddities including Bernie Kosar becoming a Cowboy (although he did receive a Super Bowl ring) then a Dolphin, future Hall of Famer Clay Matthews Jr. who finished his career as a Falcon. QB Brian Sipe, a Browns heroe left for a new league (and $$$) to play for The New Jersey Generals, then Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL. One time Browns DB Joe Haden is a Steeler (Yuk). Don't get me started on Lebron (Cavs, Heat, Cavs, Lakers).

Fans of an older generation may remember how odd it seemed to see Joe Namath as an L.A. Ram, Kenny "The Snake" Stabler becoming an Oiler, then a Saint. Jerry Rice never did look right in a Raiders, Seahawks or Broncos jersey after leaving the 49ers. Then I'll take you way back for a swap that for some was unforgiveable. Babe Ruth going from the Boston Red Sox (1914–1919) to the New York Yankees (1920–1934) to the Boston Braves (1935).

However difficult it is to watch your guy (or gal) move on , for whatever reason they leave (cheap team owners, better opportunity, more $$$, "diminished skills", change of scenery, or they're getting older and simply aren't ready to hang up those cleats) generally speaking I wish them well. I still love Bernie and Sipe and Clay and most of the others. It probably won't surprise anyone when I say I always remember them in the uniform they wore when I started liking them. I'll always remember Cookie and Mr. Smile with their Indians jerseys and hope they realize how much they meant to Indians fans.

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