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Dan Shaughnessy

Indians rate preferential treatment

The story lines would have been predictable and bombastic had the Red Sox met the Yankees again in the American League Championship Series. Imagine the hysteria if the Sox and Yankees clashed in the playoffs for the first time since the historic hurt the Sox hung on the Bombers in October of '04.

But the Yankees and their $200 million payroll have gone fishin', the Cleveland Indians are coming to town, and here are 33 reasons why it's better to have the Sox playing the Tribe in the ALCS:

  • You just get a good feeling when there's a guy named Grady involved in the ALCS.

  • The celebrity fan is Drew Carey, not Spike Lee.
  • We can look back at those powerhouse Cleveland playoff lineups of the 1990s when Manny Ramírez sometimes batted seventh for the Indians.

  • Candidate Dennis Kucinich gets the boost instead of candidate Rudy Giuliani.

  • Folks from Cambridge and Brookline can protest around Fenway to get the Indians to change their racist "Chief Wahoo" logo.

  • We can all revisit Spygate. Indians general manager Mark Shapiro is Eric Mangini's brother-in-law. He is also a close friend of Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli.

  • New York hotels are charging more than $600 per night.

  • Curt Schilling can do more campaigning for the GOP when he's back in Ohio.

  • Theo Epstein can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Cleveland native Joe Walsh (Eagles) can sing the national anthem.

  • You get to torture your New York friends for another whole year. Remind them that the Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000 and that they paid Roger Clemens $17 million to win six games, then he left the playoffs in the middle of the third inning Sunday.

  • Lou Gorman gets to talk about the day he lost Eric Wedge in the expansion draft.

  • Trot Nixon returns.

  • The Worcester Telegram and Gazette gets to play up a local angle. The Indians are named after Louis Sockalexis, who attended Holy Cross in 1894 and was disciplined for "imbibing alcohol." (Which, by the way, never went on when I was there.)

  • Tim Wakefield can tell his teammates what it was like when Pedro came out of the pen at the Jake in 1999.

  • This could be revenge for the beating the Sox took at the hands of the Indians in the 1948 one-game playoff when Boston manager Joe McCarthy selected the immortal Denny Galehouse to pitch the most important game of the season. Cleveland won, 8-3, and Galehouse never won another game in the major leagues.

  • We can ask Oil Can Boyd about the insect problem at Jacobs Field. When fog postponed a Sox-Indians game at old Cleveland Stadium in 1986, Can reasoned, "That's what happens when you build a ballpark by the ocean." Unlike the old stadium, the Jake is not on Lake Erie. Wonder how Can will explain the 2007 pestilence.

  • There's a chance we'll see LeBron James in the stands, this time wearing a Red Sox hat.

  • No "Enter Sandman" when the bullpen door swings open in the ninth.

  • No T-shirts with vile messages for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

  • No New York tabloids, no Mike & Mad Dog, no John Sterling, no "New York, New York" blaring 100 times at the end of games in Yankee Stadium.

    No Michelle Damon.

  • No USAir flight No. 1918 from LaGuardia.

  • No "No, No, Nanette" (would that be a triple negative?).

  • Coco Crisp can show the Tribe that they made a mistake letting him go.

  • It's impossible to make those Harvard-Yale, Athens-Sparta analogies in any series that includes Cleveland.

  • Fox won't bombard us with video of Jason Varitek smashing his mitt into the face of A-Rod and Pedro Martínez shucking Don Zimmer to the ground.

  • Traveling legions of Red Sox Nation will be safer in the Jake than in Yankee Stadium.

  • No references to Evil Empire, Bambino, Harry Frazee, Bucky Dent, or Aaron Boone.

  • Kathryn Nixon returns.

  • Isiah Thomas isn't likely to attend any games in Cleveland.

  • Bob Feller throws out the first pitch instead of Reggie Jackson.

  • No awkward conflict of interest for The New York Times. The corporation (which owns the Globe and 17 percent of the Red Sox) can openly root for the Sox against Cleveland.

  • No YES.

    Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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