Corey Kluber is a Cleveland Indians legend.
He won two American League Cy Young Awards in town and was a key reason the team was a true World Series contender in the recent past.
That is why it is so weird to see him pitch for the New York Yankees.
And not just to pitch for them, but to throw a no-hitter in those pinstripes.
Kluber threw a no-no this week and for once, fans saw him crack a smile.
The former Indians ace dominating elsewhere is good to see after his injury-riddled 2020 season.
But it is still an odd sight and a few reasons stand out as to why that is the case.
A no-no in Texas!
Corey Kluber fires the 6th no-hitter this season! pic.twitter.com/lHHxUE7u3g
— MLB (@MLB) May 20, 2021
No Proper Goodbye
Professional sports ultimately remains a business and both fans and players are reminded of that often.
The Indians picked up an option on Kluber for the 2020 season following the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.
He was then traded to the Texas Rangers a few months later.
So there was no goodbye or anything.
Like a harsh breakup, Kluber was gone and the farewells only came out via social media.
Kluber would have gotten some sort of recognition in 2020, but there were no fans in the stands and he was out with an injury anyway.
He returned to Progressive Field this year, but there was limited capacity at the stadium and he did not make a start against his former team.
He has not pitched for the Indians since 2019 so after two years it is tough to think of him as a fresh departure.
Still, it is weird as a fan to pull for a player for so long only to see him traded away with little fanfare.
His Time in Cleveland
Kluber debuted with the Indians in 2011 and made three appearances.
He then cracked the rotation in 2012 and two years later he was a Cy Young winner.
The ace nearly won the award in 2016, while he did take home the hardware again in 2017.
The Indians were real contenders and had one of the best pitchers in the game on the mound every five days.
That is the formula the team is trying to copy once again with Shane Bieber filling Kluber’s shoes.
The one thing Kluber never got was his big contract extension.
He signed a team-friendly deal in 2015 as the Indians signed him at just the right time.
That is the way the team operates and the same exact thing happened with Jose Ramirez.
But Kluber has still made tens of millions of dollars playing baseball and he seems to be enjoying himself.
Corey Kluber was so excited he literally could not control his emotions in the postgame interview pic.twitter.com/mFiKWJ2Tiq
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 20, 2021
The Yankees are paying him $11 million in 2021 and he may have earned himself even more money with his no-hit performance.
Does it stink that an Indians legend is helping the Yankees?
Yes, absolutely it does.
Yet it remains difficult to ever root against the steady Kluber after he gave his all for the city of Cleveland.
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