Cleveland Indians win the American League Central Division title first time since 2007

September 26, 2016 – MLB

Cody Allen threw one last strike, and then threw his arms high in the air. As the Indians’ closer walked off the mound at Comerica Park on Monday night, the party began. After nine years, the wait is over. Once again, Cleveland holds the rights to the American League Central crown.

Manager Terry Francona hugged bench coach Brad Mills. Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, turned and embraced Mike Chernoff, his general manager. Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Mike Napoli met in the middle of the infield, jumping together as the edges of their circle began growing into a celebratory mob with all their teammates.

Now, Cleveland will watch the scoreboard over the next six days, while jockeying for position with the Red Sox and Rangers in the fight for home field. When Spring Training began, winning the division was not the only goal. The goal from the start was to bring home the first World Series title for the Indians since 1948.

“We were so certain that it was our year, that it was our turn,” Kipnis said. “I don’t think you could convince us otherwise. As soon as we got a hold of first place, you probably saw the tightest grip on it ever. We never let go of it. That’s how much this team competed. That’s how much this team wanted it.”