If you didn’t notice the fire in the dugout on Wednesday night when the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays, all you need to do is watch this video:
After Mark Reynolds mashed an extremely high fastball deep into the unknown at the Rogers Centre, the entire team seemed to create an atmosphere that could make the most doubting Cleveland Indian fan buy into the change in culture. The addition of Terry Francona has paid dividends already just a week into the season.
I’m not like most of the writers on this site. I live just outside of Cincinnati and I grew up (and still am) a Reds fan. I don’t live and die with the success and failures of the team, but I enjoy watching the game of baseball and I have allowed it to become the No. 4 thing in my life (God, family, and Reese’s cups come first). And when you have followed a team as I have the Indians since beginning my writing career and you see the lack of enthusiasm and inspiration that the team seemed to possess in recent seasons, you can’t help but to respect such a change, even if the sample size is small.
The Indians have a diverse group of skilled players this season. From Michael Bourn‘s speed and tremendous defensive skills in center, to Nick Swisher‘s smile and tobacco-filled mouth, to Asdrubal Cabrera‘s lack of range and still-improving bat, to Carlos Santana‘s ability to handle a makeshift pitching staff…there’s a lot to attach yourself to. The fact that most of the team is locked up for several years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, even allows the fans to purchase a player’s shirt from the team shop without having to worry about it being useless next season (darn you Richie Sexson!).
The Indians could fall apart without a strong starting rotation this season, but with a lot of enthusiasm and character on the club, you can bet your first-born that this club isn’t going to look as miserable as Manny Acta‘s second half slumpers. I look forward to watching this team have fun and win games, not as an Indians’ fan, but as a baseball fan, who loves to see grown men act like boys playing a game—which, of course, is what they are.