Monday, April 25

Waiting for the Indians' season to not be "too early"

I have to admit, I still don't know what to make of the 2011 Indians. On one hand, I've always thought that a fast start to season did more good than the usual Indians post-All-Star Game success. But you could easily point out (Eric Wedge-style) that all the games are weighed the same at the end of the season, so whether you started hot or finished hot, it doesn't matter if you didn't perform well the rest of the season. A hot start might be more fun because ultimately I want an Indians team that is in or close to contention, and being ten or more games back of the AL Central leader at any point in a season isn't going to bring fans to the ballpark and isn't going to hold my interest.

It appears that I should always be worried about a game started by Fausto Carmona and Orlando Cabrera isn't likely in the middle of a resurgent (if he was younger this adjective would be breakout) season. It's the little things like this that often divides your two classes of Cleveland sports fan. The group that I suspect is in the majority was just waiting for the Indians to hit a rough patch so they could immediately declare these Indians as pretenders to the AL central crown, such as it is. The other group is just looking for a reason to care again and have a reason to be interested in baseball over the coming months. While even that description seems pessimistic, I want to point out to you that the height of Cleveland-based sportsfandom is usually lower than Campbell Hill.

Now that's not to say I think these Indians don't have a chance. I think they do and I suspected a slight correction of sorts had to happen sometime. Are the Indians better than almost anyone thought or even dared to hope? Yes, but so are the Royals. Can the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox be this bad? I really hope so but probably not all of them.

While the pessimist in me wants to point out all the flaws, I can take solace in the fact that Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana haven't really hit well yet. Regardless, this team should be concerned first and foremost with the pitching and defense, which I think can be good, but probably not great. At a certain point of a season a team's record gains a level of inertia that takes real effort to change. Even with a loss today the Indians are 5 games above .500 and finishing 86-76 wouldn't be so bad, would it?

Go Tribe!

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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