The home opener was much different than last year. During the COVID shortened season the ballpark was empty. Seats were filled with cardboard cutouts and fake applause filled the air.
Though there were protocols and masks, there were fans. There was the buzz of excitement as Shane Bieber was presented with the AL Cy Young award. Cesar Hernandez and Roberto Perez were handed their Gold Gloves.
Jose Ramirez was awarded the Silver Slugger. A proud moment for the Cleveland Indians. A proud moment for the city, for the fans.
Last season baseball was taken from us and the home opener gave a feeling of life becoming normal again. Baseball is more than stats or wins and losses.
It’s the feeling of nostalgia at the park. It’s the singing of the Anthem, the flyover, the fireworks. The sound of the crack of the bat. Baseball is more than a game. Families came together, Fathers were there with their sons, friends were having fun.
At the corner of Carnegie and Ontario there’s a team that is special. There’s traditions and memories that fans hold dear in that ballpark.
There’s been amazing comeback wins, World Series games, a historical 22-win streak. Progressive field encompasses everything that baseball is.
The Tribe did not win the home opener. They failed to score. That didn’t matter. What was important is what lies ahead and the foundation of resilience of the Cleveland Indians.
The team has played four games. There are 158 games to go. The facts are this is a solid team. The pitching rotation is the one of the best in
the American League. The lineup does hold power. Jose Ramirez is one of the best in the game. Franmil Reyes is showing he is coming into his own. Eddie Rosario will produce and is getting acclimated to his new team.
The guys are showing more patience at the plate. That’s one of the major pieces that has been missing. The hitters need to get the pitchers into the count.
All too often there’d be the first swing and a pop up to the infield. The Tribe showed contact with the ball which is a welcome sight.
The Indians ended the prior series, with Detroit, by putting up nine runs. The potential is there, and it will manifest. These guys are hungry to win. This is not a sprint but a marathon.
For now, let’s enjoy the feel of the wind at the ballpark. The things that we took for granted we can now enjoy again. The fans want a winning team, and this team wants to give it to them.
Shane Bieber said it best when asked how they’re going to overcome adversity.
He answered simply “Because we’re the Cleveland Indians” he went on to say “We continue to win. We continue to battle and it’s just kind of the mantra and culture of this organization. We believe in what we’re doing here.”
Remember, Cleveland is Believeland for a reason.
Cleveland is used to being the underdog, discarded by the national media. The naysayers are out in full force this season with a plethora of excuses. The team thrives on that. It drives them to work hard.