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It's Just One Game
April 3, 2013 - Al Stephenson
I watched with interest as the Cleveland Indians opened the season last night at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. When I was there it was known as Skydome and quite frankly best known for the romantic escapades of a couple in a hotel room located in left field. They are called curtains for a reason!
Toronto's Blue Jays have had some success over the years particularly in the mid 1990's. This past offseason, ownership made some moves picking up the reigning National League Cy Young winner as well as seemingly half the Miami Marlins in their usual fire sale. The Jays expect to compete in the American League East against the mighty Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Rays.
Then again the Tribe made some moves in the winter. They hired a new manager in Terry Francona, who believe it or not, WANTS to be in Cleveland. They went out and signed some free agents like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher (another Ohio guy), made a deal to acquire Drew Stubbs, and added pitching depth. It gave most of us Tribe fans a glimmer of hope.
So as the Indians took the field last night it was nice to see some recognizable faces on the diamond. They had to go up against R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who made the most of his opportunity with the New York Mets by winning that Cy Young. With Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarcion and Jose Bautista in the lineup, the Blue Jays were favored to win. Add to the fact that Cleveland had not won a season opener in five years and you see why I tuned in with that glimmer of hope, but a realistic expectation that things would not go our way.
As the say, however, "that's why they play the game." Justin Masterson survived some shaky early wildness, Asdrubal Cabrera made a stellar defensive play and hit a two-run homer, Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez led a bullpen that could be very good and the Tribe walked away the winner 4-1.
I know. I know. It is only one game. I'm not about to talk playoffs yet. We will have to deal with the strikeouts that Stubbs and Mark Reynolds will accumulate and it is not Murderer's Row that we will send to the plate. Yet I like the makeup of this team. I think Francona will be a guiding force in keeping the team competitive for the entire season - something that has not been the case for the last two years.
The view from my seat suggests that whatever is in store for Indian fans this season, it is sure glad to see the boys of summer back!
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