Cleveland Indians: Ryan Merritt and the Power of Fandom

Cleveland Indians rookie Ryan Merritt made a name for himself in the postseason, causing Indians fans to help him out with his life outside of baseball.

Most Cleveland Indians fans know the story by now. After Ryan Merritt‘s clutch performance in the ALCS, fans found his wedding registry and bought him enough plates and silverware to last him several lifetimes.

It was an awesome gesture by fans, and Merritt returned the favor this past weekend.

For Merritt, receiving all those gifts must have been a major surprise, as casual fans may not have even known his name until his start in the ALCS. He did well enough to help the Indians win and advance to the World Series, and received a warm Cleveland welcome for his efforts.

This happened months ago so it would have been easy for the young pitcher to simply accept the gifts and continue on. But instead, he went the extra mile and proved why fans fell in love with him in the first place.

Those who bought him the gifts likely didn’t expect anything in return, and although it is just a note, it will mean a lot to those who received the message. Receiving a letter from a professional athlete is not an everyday occurrence, so it shows how fans can be rewarded for their kindness and support.

This situation shows the unique aspect of being a fan of a professional sports team. The end result of the season may not have been ideal, but the little things like this do a great job of keeping fans engaged. It also earned Merritt a number of lifelong fans, no matter what his future is with the Indians.

Merritt is not likely to earn a spot in the rotation unless one of the starters goes down, but it would be unfair to say he has no shot given just how unexpected most of 2016 was. The young pitcher will surely be ready to go if needed, and there will be a large contingent of Indians fans ready to cheer him on any time he takes the mound.

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