Sunday, April 5, 2009

One More Day!

Just one more day and it begins again!

Finally! Although this winter passed a bit easier than the one before, that was probably because our hearts weren't ripped out like they were the previous October when we had the Red Sox down 3 games to 1 in the ALCS and let them up off the grass of Fenway.

So here we are, about to embark on another season of Indians' baseball. This is my 59th (and a half) and I must say the lure of Opening Day is very much alive as ever.

This year is the same but different.

We still have Eric Wedge but we don't have CC or Casey.

The field is still called Progressive but Spring Training was in Arizona.

Masa is still around (for the moment) but now we got Kerry.

Tom Hamilton and Rick Manning are back but a great guy named "Herb" will be missed.

The Cleveland Indians organization has found another classy way to remember a great contributor. The patch below will be worn by all Indians' players throughout the season to remember player/announcer Herb Score who left us last Fall.
So there is much speculation as to the make-up and performance expectations of this 2009 Cleveland Indians team. Plain Dealer writer Terry Pluto gave what I thought to be a kind of pessimistic view of this team all Spring training long from Goodyear, Arizona. However, in today's edition he picks the team to "squeak by" the Twins and win the division! Terry certainly has the advantage to seeing the Spring performance of the individual players on an up close view while I have to read about it. But we all make our predictions for the season with the same roll of the dice as the average fan. There are the pessimists, the realists, and the believers. Opening Day is for believers and I will not have it any other way.

In fact, in my family, Easter Sunday is a day where the entire family; brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, etc, all write their predictions for the season on a piece of paper and they are kept by a trusted family member until Thanksgiving. On that piece of paper go all 6 division winners and the 2 wild cards, the American League Central finish from 1st to 5th, and the leagues' as well as the Indians' MVP. It is incredible to review when the season has been concluded. Most are way off but a few are right on. Try it!

I too, believe that the Indians will win the division despite manager Eric Wedge. I think that the team should have won more games in the Spring. However, playing Texas, Toronto, and K.C. from the get go could lead to an impressive 8-1 start! Then, on to the new Yankee Stadium to face old friend CC Sabathia...We will kill him! 2 outta 4 from the Yankees will put us at a very good start of 10 and 3 for the first 13 games.

Unlike Terry Pluto, I think that Travis Hafner will have a torrid, not horrid start to the '09 season. There are too many reason for the big guy to come out strong, some of them being hungry sluggers just 2.5 hours away in Columbus.

Carl Pavano is the real deal. He has found a new home and a new guru in Carl Willis. He impressed in the last 2 weeks of training.

If only Kelly Shoppach would cut down on his strikeouts, he would be the man of the year.

Scott Lewis has done absolutely nothing to hurt the Indians in any regular season game. This guy will continue to dominate the opposition. Look for some shutouts and even a no hitter from this young cowhide wizard.
Lee and Carmona will dominate...period!

Sizemore and Peralta have had monster springs! No doubt that will continue.
We still have two very big events from last season that will continue to fuel the fires of passion in this team. The first is Cliff Lee's Cy Young dominance...what a season he had! The second is "The Brawl" from September 19th, 2008. That little get together did more for team building and earning respect in the league than can be truly measured. Plus the entertainment value was priceless! Fausto, serve your final game of suspension tomorrow with a big smile and biceps flexed! Too bad Shef is outta reach in the National League.
Unlike Pluto, I am not as concerned with the Twins nearly as I am with the Royals! Next to the Indians in the Central, they are the most improved. I saw the same design unfolding in Tampa 3 years ago that I see in K.C. right now.
So there it is, a slant on the season more from the heart that the brain. But then again, Opening Day is more emotional than it is logical.
Enjoy the best day of the year when every team is in first place and every team starts with a chance!
Play Ball!

No comments: