Perhaps no team in baseball needed a fast start more than the Indians. After the past April struggles under Eric Wedge the Tribe seemed determined to make sure it didn’t happen again. Moments after the final out of the first game was recorded in Chicago I could almost hear the shrieks coming from Cleveland, "HERE WE GO AGAIN!"
Monday night I watched the NCAA basketball championship game (yawn) with the Tribe coaching staff at Ditka’s Restaurant in Chicago. I can honestly say that not a single one of them was concerned about what happened the night before. The reason? This team has a quiet confidence and a firm belief that they are ready to take the league by storm. The players sat quietly and watched as the White Sox celebrated their World Championship by raising banners, passing out rings and hoisting the trophy on consecutive days and then spoiled the party by taking 2 out of 3 from Chicago.
It sure was great to finally come home and see a sold-out Jacobs Field for the Home Opener. The fact that Mother Nature cooperated by halting the rains made it more enjoyable for the fans that braved the elements during the early afternoon hours. Casey Blake joined Travis Hafner(’04) and Travis Fryman(’02) in the home opener grand slam club as the Indians pounded Minnesota 11-6.
One of the highlights of the home opener was Casey Coleman throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Casey is fighting a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer and fired the ball just off the outside corner and into the waiting mitt of Indians Manager Eric Wedge. Afterward Casey spent an inning in the booth with us and he is determined to return to WTAM by June. I wish him well and ask that you keep Casey and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Did anyone happen to see Tom Hamilton decked out in a tuxedo for opening day? He was asked to wear the penguin suit by the front office while he announced the starting line-ups down on the field. He took quite a bit of abuse from the boys on press row. The comments ranged from, "Hey Tom, who’s the best man?" to, "Hey Tom, isn’t it a little early for prom season?" You have to have a thick skin in this business and Tom certainly does.
Finally…Indians Media Relations Director Bart Swain invited me to join his fantasy baseball league. Bart and 10 guys he went to Ohio University with all descended upon Chicago for the annual draft last Saturday night and it was a riot. Bart has won the league 2 years in a row and has talked more smack than Ali, Deion Sanders and Hulk Hogan combined. I took over a team that finished 10th out of 12 last year so I have some work to do. Its a "keeper league" so I signed Travis Hafner to a long term deal and drafted Aaron Boone. Thanks to their exploits Bart is now chasing me.
PS – Anyone ever heard of Al Cypert?