The day has finally come. The Tribe are back and the 2010 MLB season is set to begin; we are only minutes away from Cleveland's matchup today with the Chicago White Sox. The Browns are unfortunately irrelevant until August, and the Cavaliers will not get my full attention until at least the Eastern Conference Finals. Arsenal are on the final stretch of an unlikely, but still possible title run. However, this is now the time for baseball.
The Indians are starting 2010 with very low expectations. After the disaster of a season that was 2009, hopes are not high in Cleveland; but I'm sure we are all glad to have the Tribe back nonetheless. The main goal for Manny Acta this season is obviously to regain some respectability, as the Indians were simply embarassing last year. To be fair it wasn't entirely the players fault as trades and injuries destroyed any chance of having a successful year; the young guys coming up from the minors were thrown in the deep end. On paper the 2010 squad looks like a AAA team lucky enough to play for a club in the Majors. This youthful bunch of ballplayers is what we have, like it or not, and they'll need all the support they can get.
It is not all doom and gloom though. Spring Training was very encouraging, particularly the return to form of Fausto Carmona. The offense as a whole looked lively, and the face of the franchise Grady Sizemore is healthy once again. In fact, the Indians emerged from the spring with relatively few bumps and bruises; apart from Russell Branyan (who we knew was recovering from injury when we got him anyway) the team are pretty much as strong as they can be. The only concern is Kerry Wood, who will miss some time. However Chris Perez,who will likely be groomed to become the closer for the future, will fill in until Wood can return. There are more causes for optimism. Our youthful pitching staff look promising, with Carlos Carrasco narrowly missing out on a spot in the Opening Day rotation. Mitch Talbot went one step better and showed Acta he is ready to become a starter. Brantley has made positive moves in his efforts to prove he can cut it as a major league outfielder. And last but not least the Pronk is fit once again, and looks ready for a 30 HR+ season.
Its set to be an interesting year, with plenty of ups and downs ahead. We just have to hope there is less of the latter, and some real signs that this ballclub is heading in the right direction.
Thanks for reading.
EDIT: As I finish typing this, the Indians are trailing 4-0 to the White Sox. Westbrook doesn't look as sharp as we'd obviously like...