You Need the Cleveland Indians

By Will Burge

You are ready for this. You want this. You need this. It’s Tribe time now!

Over the past few seasons, most fans have grown to dread those four words: Pitchers and catchers report. This year, however, something feels different.

It would take a perfect storm of circumstances to make Cleveland fans excited about a team that has finished a combined 62.5 games out of first over the last three years, did not sign one free agent of substance, and turned their ball park into a winter wonderland during the offseason.

Cleveland, meet the perfect storm.

The Cavaliers are 28 games out of first place and setting historical marks for futility, the NFL is about lock out the players creating a PR nightmare for the league, and Cleveland just had one of the longest and coldest winters in recent memory. Fans deserve optimism.

Cleveland deserves the spring. Fans deserve the smell of hot dogs and 75 degree days with sun shining at Progressive Field. Most of all, Cleveland fans deserve a reason to believe.

Grady Sizemore is returning from micro fracture surgery and looking to return to his past productive self. He will have a new spot in the lineup, most likely, with Michael Brantley leading off.

Michael Brantley came on strong at the end of last season after looking overwhelmed to start off the year. In August and September his on-base percentage and batting average looked far closer to the player the Indians envisioned when they traded away CC Sabathia.

The bullpen looks solid and played extremely well towards the end of last season. The key ingredient is the man with flowing locks and the undeniable closer’s mentality, Chris Perez. This kid has some great stuff but more importantly he has the mindset needed to bounce back from inevitable blown saves. The Tribe’s lineup will not have the pop it did in the 90’s or even in 2007 so they will need Perez to perform well and slam the door shut in the close ones.

Shin Soo Choo solidified himself as a top tier hitter in the AL with little to no protection around him in the lineup. For over 3 months opposing pitchers only had to worry about one bat, which was Choo’s, and he still ended up hitting .300. This season, Choo will arrive in the top ten in many statistical categories with the threat of one of the game’s great young bats behind him.

Sophomore slum be damned! Carlos Santana is ready to make the diamond shaped world take notice. After a devastating knee injury, Santana looks like he is ready to go and should have a breakout year. His poise, patience, and ability to spray the baseball to all parts of the field make him a legitimate threat every time he steps to the plate.

The Indians will need to work him in at first base so they can keep him in the lineup and spare his knees and body from the wear and tear of an MLB regular season.

The Indians absolutely need to have a good start. If the Tribe is even close to relevant people will flock to Progressive Field to see the only decent show in town. Cleveland needs the Indians and the Indians needed this opportunity. They better not blow it.

We could dwell on all the pieces that the Indians do not have. We could talk about the fact that the payroll is the 7th lowest in the Majors. We could even focus on the lack of veteran leadership on the squad.

I choose not to, at least for now. Most likely, there will be three or four months of irrelevant baseball to break down and analyze come mid-summer.

For now, I choose to be optimistic because the Indians are tied for first place… at least until the beginning of April.

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3 Comments

  1. Go Tribe!Anytime we’re talking about the Tribe it’s always a good thing.Meaning spring is right around the corner!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pete Roccaforte and Brendan W. Flynn, ESPN Cleveland. ESPN Cleveland said: ESPN Cleveland Blogs: You Need the Cleveland #Indians http://bit.ly/emISIv […]

  3. We will never get anywhere with the dolans calling the shots make them sell, second coming of stephian


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