Not every Indians home opener ends up cancelled due to snow, or delayed by rain for nearly four hours…just the ones that I happen to attend.
Okay, to be fair I wasn’t at that game with the blizzard in 2007. But most of the home openers I’ve had the good fortune of attending over the past few years have ended badly for the Indians (or fans. or both.) Overall, the Indians have found success for the home opener – they are 58-53 lifetime, and 10-8 in the Jacobs/Progressive Field era. Why is it that the Indians haven’t really been able to pull it together for the home opener over the past few years? While some of these bad games involve miserable weather, more of them involve just flat-out miserable play.
2009 – loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-7 - Do you want to know what I remember most about this game? I got soaked from sitting in the freezing, pouring rain and then had to endure a nearly four hour rain delay. Once the rain delay ended, my dad and I and the other 25 fans still present watched the Indians just get slapped around by the Blue Jays. It was a close game prior to the delay; the bullpen gave up 6 runs in the top of the 8th to put the Jays ahead for good. If you happen to remember him, rookie Scott Lewis started the game for the Indians and I was convinced this was “a sign.” You want to know why? Because that off-season I had one of the most realistic dreams I’ve ever had, and in this dream, Scott Lewis was pitching for the Indians…in the World Series! In actuality this was just a sign that I would get soaked, almost freeze to death, and Scott Lewis would never really pitch again in Cleveland after that. The thing that made this all worthwhile: this is the game that I won my major award.
2010 – loss to the Texas Rangers, 4-2 - As home openers go (for me), this one wasn’t that painful. The Indians lost, of course, and Nelson Cruz hit a ball that I’m not quite sure has landed yet…otherwise, this was rather pleasant. At least it was sunny and relatively warm, and the 2010 Rangers were a good team that eventually reached the World Series that year. The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona pitched a decent game – 2 ER and 5 hits in 8 IP – to kick off his relatively strong 2010 season. In 2010, the Indians had the unique distinction of playing in three different home openers; in Chicago on Opening Day, in Detroit for their home opener, and their own opener. Unfortunately, the Indians managed to go 0-3 in these games.
2011 – loss to the Chicago White Sox, 15-10 - When I wake up on Opening Day, I always think to myself “I don’t have to see a win, I just would like to see some good baseball…no train wrecks.” This game, however, was a train wreck. For approximately three innings, the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona essentially pitched batting practice to the Chicago White Sox hitters; at one point the score actually reached 14-0 in Chicago’s favor. In fact, between the two teams there were 35 hits in this April 1 game (that was unfortunately, not a cruel joke). By the time it all mercifully ended, I was almost thankful. Even though the Indians came storming back with ten runs of their own, this is definitely a game that I’d like to forget. One bright spot to the day: there was a very touching tribute to Bob Feller before the game started.
2012 – ? So tomorrow Justin Masterson takes the hill for the Indians against Ricky Romero for the Toronto Blue Jays. The weather forecast looks cool, but dry; no repeat of the mess against the Blue Jays in 2009. Omar Vizquel will return to the Indians, as he made the Jays’ Opening Day roster at the age of 44. Hopefully the Tribe will be able to keep the bat of Jose Bautista in check and I can finally see a home opener that ends in a W.