Tuesday, April 1

Undefeated all-time at Progressive Field

I had the great fortune yesterday to attend the Cleveland Indians' opening day at Progressive Field, watching the Tribe start their season off right with a strange, action-packed 10-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

No, I don't have any pictures.

The festivities actually started for me on Sunday night, as the Francis Hotel was open for business with Milkey, Nick, and Bucko stopping by. We got ourselves in a baseball frame of mind by watching a DVD from the Tribe's awesome 1995 season and some of Major League, before getting ourselves out of any reasonable frame of mind whatsoever by playing cards and drinking beer.

Monday morning, as it so frequently does, arrived far too early, but I was up for the challenge, doing a bit of work and taking a run around the city before 11 am. You're probably wondering if I said "Go Tribe!" to people sporting Indians gear who I passed along my way, and I'm pleased to report that I did indeed. There was much consternation about the afternoon's weather prospects in the days leading up to the game, particularly from Prophet of Doom Bucko, but the Baseball Gods smiled upon Cleveland and favored us with clear skies and warm temperatures.

After a healthy breakfast consisting mostly of donuts, some more Tribe fans showed up at my hostel and pre-game activities commenced. One visitor, a fellow named Ronnie, brought along a special surprise video, which turned out to be the same video we saw the night before. Needless to say, we watched it again and tacked on the end of Major League to boot.

Around 1:15 it was time to make our way to the stadium, walking among hundreds of Tribe fans crowding the streets and bars of the Gateway District, and stopping in ourselves for a drink or two. After getting to Progressive Field at around 2:30, we got our first look at the Tribe wearing their boss new-old jerseys. I think they look great, though I would have stuck with white instead of off-white. After watching a stirring introduction of the players and coaches by Tribe broadcaster Tom Hamilton, it was time to get the season underway.

Then Jim Thome hit a two-run home run for the White Socks in the first inning. Damnit, Jim, that wasn't in the script. Fortunately, a fellow sitting a few seats away from us, who apparently had started the day's festivities well before us and provided consistent in-game entertainment, let Jim have it with a bizarre series of heckles ("You don't belong here anymore!!!"). Take that, Thome.

Fortunately, the Tribe got that back and more with a seven-run outburst in the second inning, highlighted by a three-run home run from Franklin Gutierrez and a solo shot from Gradald "Grady" Sizemore. 7-2, no problem, right?

Well, Thome and the White Socks, despite not belonging here anymore, managed to knot the game up at 7 by the 7th inning, and the Tribe needed Rafael Betancourt escaping from a bases-loaded, no out situation in the 8th to keep it that way. Then in the home half of the 8th, Casey Blake struck the game's big blow with a two-out, three-run double off the top of the left-field wall to put the Tribe ahead for good and with some breathing room as well.

Joe Borowski came on to record the save, not before yielding a 683-foot home run to Jermaine Dye and eventually bringing the tying run to the plate. Borowski's season stats now put him at 1-1 in save opportunities, with a 9.00 ERA. Who says you can't trust small sample sizes?

The important things are that the day went beautifully and the Tribe won, two things I expect to happen roughly 100 more times before this season ends. Go Tribe!

1 comment:

Nick said...

Where's Hawk when you need him? Can't wait for Tribe weekend '08.