On a date marked the 1st of the month, the Cleveland Indians came into May with 18 wins, a franchise record for the month of April. What would May bring? Another victory, yes! Now they have 19!
Before the beginning of the 2011 season, #11 Manny Acta was joking but also somewhat serious when he contemplated how the Cleveland Indians were going to win 100 games. On day 1, #19 was honored and it was announced that a patch for Bob Feller was going to be worn on their sleeve.
Also the team promotes all the wonderful events of its 110 year history by saying “what if?” Things are happening for a reason and I say this by faith. The Indians organization led by #11 in 2011 have won 19 and are inspired by #19 on the day marked 01 on the calendar. The organization was established in 1901.
On this date, if Bob Feller was still alive on Earth, having served in World War 2, he would approve of the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. This was announced to the crowd in Philadelphia in the 9th inning with the score tied 1-1.(9-11) Eventually the Mets would win. This allowed the Cleveland Indians to have the best record in Major League Baseball for at least the one day. What a blessing! Thank God! USA! USA!
It has been a wonderful moment for the USA, for New York and Cleveland also and for the world! Whatever happens from here, God only knows. However, we Cleveland Indians fans can be happy that for the moment we are #1 led by the memory of #19 and the wisdom of #11 and the memories of 1901, 2001 and May 1, 2011.
On a side note, I think it is also special that the offense has been helped so far by the reemergence of Travis Hafner #48 and the pitching has been helped by #54 Chris Perez. 1948 and 1954 are special years in Cleveland Indians history as you know. I just think it has been a very special year so far. Let’s see what happens next!
When it comes to Opening Day, all types of fans come to the game. Generally, it is the one game the Indians can count on selling out at least for the last 18 years at Jacobs/Progressive Field. Opening Day is an unofficial holiday in NE Ohio! Many people show up at a local establishment to make their predictions and get pumped for the upcoming season. It is an all day event filled with optimism that perhaps this year we will surprise the world and actually “go all the way” or at least compete and be entertaining.
This was the atmosphere before the game. However this year, someone very dear was missing who will be honored throughout the 2011 season, Bob Feller. The pregame was very moving with a video tribute to Bob along with the baseball placed on the mound by his wife, Anne.
The sun came out hours before the game and filled yesterday with hope for all fans. With God’s blessing, the weather resembled Bob’s life, full of light and warmth. This was going to be a great day. All fans were giving predictions for scores, all of which favored our beloved team.
The first pitch, a called strike, was fitting. Just like Bob. Yet Fausto Carmona, never really seemed relaxed. Juan Pierre got a hit to lead off the game, then another by Beckham. Dunn struck out. However, Konerko hit one into right field and scored Pierre. Quentin added another hit to score Beckham and it was already 2-0 before the Indians even got to bat.
The game was played like two halves to a football game in a football town. However, this was baseball. Still in football language, the White Sox were up by the equivalent to a safety in football early in the first quarter. The second inning it seemed like Fausto settled down and it was going to be okay. The third inning a couple of “bombs” were launched into the stands off the bats of Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin. After the end of the 1st quarter of the game for the White Sox, the score was equal to the total of two field goals as the White Sox were up 6-0. Remember this is baseball! Things were not looking well. The fourth inning was even worse and the rout was on resembling a 1986 memory where Greg Swindell lost his major league debut, 24-5 as the White Sox added a double factory and Dubble Bubble bubble gum sponsorship was nowhere to be found among the many scoreboard, foul pole and outfield advertisements. The White Sox were up by the equivalent of two touchdowns, 14-0 after 4 innings and remained that way until the bottom of 6. Colt McCoy, the Browns quarterback was nowhere to be found due to the fact that this was baseball and it doesn’t help his league is in a lockout.
The Indians thanks to the effort of of some consecutive singles added what equaled two safeties in football in the 6th and some timely “bombs” of their own cut the score to a touchdown and extra point deficit by the end of 7 innings. It was 14-7 in the 4th quarter of the game. After another run was added by the White Sox making the score 15-7, the thought of tying the score with another touchdown now required the two point conversion. Did we have enough for a two minute, er…two inning drive?
Thanks to the efforts of key hitting by Michael Brantley to get Matt LaPorta and Jack Hannahan home and Matt LaPorta hitting a single to score Hafner in the ninth, the score added a field goal and became a much more respectable 15-10. On the way out, I said to the greeter at the gate who said “Thanks for coming.” Thanks, at least it wasn’t boring. When going to sporting events, if we don’t have the talent to win a lot yet, we fans at least want to see our teams compete. And compete they did. Thank you to the Cleveland Indians for not giving up and competing until the last out. Hopefully they will pull out a W today. This fan can only hope.
Player of the game: Carlos Santana thanks to his key hits scoring the first run as well as another homerun
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Today, March 31st, the snow was on the ground. It looked like winter. Winter, a season where everything appears to be dead, asleep. It was a day of reflection. A day to remember. A day to look back at the life of Bob Feller. We all have our memories of Mr. Feller, some very close, personal. Some very distant, passing. Yet we Cleveland Indians fans are united and very proud people. We cherish our history and pride our conversations with each other and especially Mr. Feller. The knowledge we gained from hearing from Mr. Feller and about Mr. Feller is something that we cherish and we must now pass on from generation to generation. Mr. Feller was and is the face of our franchise. Today, the Indians owner promised Mr. Feller that the Cleveland Indians will carry on.
On April 1st, Opening Day, it will be Spring, we will play on by living and striving to have the winning spirit, the love of God, the love of country, the sacrifice, the youth that Mr. Feller showed every day he lived. In striving to have these qualities, Mr. Feller will never die because his life will be celebrated forevermore and lived on in each kid from the sandlots to the farms to the prospects to the major leaguers. Each person that plays ball shares Bob Feller, shares the dream that the Cleveland Indians strive to live out. Baseball is a game for the family, the community, the state, the nation, the world and should be celebrated whenever and wherever it can be whether it is playing catch with a child or peer or a formal 9 inning game between two teams and cheered by all.
April 1st at Progressive Field, it will be Fausto Carmona vs. Mark Buerhle to kick off the 2011 season, a very special beginning to a very special season. It will be a day to remember a man who threw the only no hitter on Opening Day to date, Bob Feller. I expect tomorrow to be a classic pitching duel, something Mr. Feller would relish between two of the game’s great pitchers.
Whatever the outcome, Cleveland is better thanks to Mr. Feller and the Cleveland Indians. The game that was passed on to me will be passed on to my son and daughter tomorrow and will be the first of one hundred sixty-two and eighty-one at home. It is like this every year. Yet this year I sense will be different for me because it will be cherished more than ever. Thank God for country, thank God for family, thank God for baseball in Cleveland! Mr. Feller would not want it any other way! Amen! Play ball!
Many times in Spring training I am bringing plenty of extra sheets. Cross out, erase, change numbers, change names. Who’s that? What’s his name? Something like Albert and Costello.
So when one sees the box score of 7-6 on Sunday, they might be upset to see that we blew a 6-1 lead. Yeah, I know the games do not count. So I looked deeper to what positive this Spring Training game showed.
The first thing that popped out to me was the styles of play exhibited by the two teams. The pitchers’ duel until the bottom of the seventh the way Feller would have pitched it (1-1)turned into a barrage of runs from the 7th inning on, showing 6 runs for Cincinnati and 5 for Cleveland. Thus, the 7-6 final score.This resembled the way Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine teams played. Score, score, score!
Secondly, the third basemen did well. When reading about how the Indians are looking for a third baseman and 5th starter, it was great to see everyone in contention for these spots getting their work in and doing well. Jason Donald, one third baseman candidate and the one to most likely win the position at least at the start of the 2011 campaign went 1-2 with a double and a run scored. The third baseman of the future, Lonnie Chisenhall, went 2-3 with two doubles and two runs batted in.
Last but not least, in terms of the 5th starter candidates, their lines showed how the two gentlemen want this spot to be theirs. Josh Tomlin, one candidate for #5 started the game finishing with two innings pitched, giving up 1 hit and throwing 1 strikeout. The other candidate, Aaron Laffey, pitched 1 inning only giving up 1 hit.
In both cases, the competition for the fith starter and hot corner was heating up in the desert right out of the gate. When it comes to this production, I, as a fan like to see the depth it creates and the options it presents for Manager Manny Acta.
Notes from Game 2. 2/28/2011 This day back home in northeast Ohio brought flooding to many, myself included. Not a pleasant situation at all. Yet in terms of baseball, it was pleasant as someone opened the flood gates not to the parched earth of the Arizona desert but to the run department of the Cleveland Indians. While most of us were trying to assess the damage to our property back home, the Indians were breaking open the flood gates with one run off Bronson Arroyo
the possible #1 starter, one run off the closer,
Francisco Cordero, two runs off Dontrelle Willis,
trying to get a spot on the starting rotation and four runs, three earned off Nick Masset
(the man only gave up 20 earned runs last year in 76 innings pitched. Already he gave up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.) I know Reds fans, the games do not count but still, I would be concerned especially with Masset.
Offensively, I was impressed with Ezequiel Carrera, the AAA gentleman who we received when dealing Russell the muscle Branyan to Seattle last season. Speaking of muscle, Ezequiel is showing consistency going 1-3 with 2 runs batted in game 2 and in game 1, he went 1-2 with a homerun. Take that muscle! I’m keeping my eye on this kid’s progress.
Today the Dodgers come to town, with the very recent loss of Duke Snider. I remember me as a three year old living in AZ wearing a Dodger cap. I was a fan but never saw them play in person at that time. There were no D-Backs then, so for me, I too I share my condolences and tip my cap for one of the greatest Dodgers, Mr. Snider. Thank you, Duke!
As a Cleveland fan, its’ easy to get down…way down before beginning. Seeing the record of the 2010 Indians at 69-93, the Cavaliers currently with 11 wins with a new coach after the All-Star Break, the Browns with another losing season and a new coach, one can say where is the hope? For the Indians, its a true test of faith and see why its a great time to love the 2011 Cleveland Indians baseball club. This is exactly what Manuel Acta is doing.
Focus on the second half…see how great the team did…build on this is what Acta is preaching. The fan wants all these players to gel and everything to click NOW! Yet, Acta and the rest of the coaching staff, while wanting the team to progress is not pressing. This is Spring Training. Grady is making slow progress. Shin-Soo Choo while hitting for power has slight elbow soreness and will sit out today. This is good. This teaches me a lot as a fan. Be patient! Let them be healthy!
It will be hard to not see Feller out there physically. However, he will be there. I believe this. There will be a video tribute for Feller, a patch worn by the team, and a banner with the words USS Alabama will help begin honoring Mr. Feller. What a wonderful tribute!
There will be battles for the fifth starter, and third base. However, the depth which must develop to make us stronger will be interesting. In baseball, the best thing for this young team is experience. These games will help this team take another step. We as fans must be patient and not be bandwagon fans if we truly wish to see this team be a champion. This is the challenge. Goal: Have a stronger, deeper farm, bench and team!
To review fans (note to self)…be patient….be healthy….be ready….cheer on no matter what! Do not compare this team to others. Accept them for who they are! Hopefully, they compete and win
Good luck Tribe! Train well! Please try to beat the Reds<–ego push "Battle of Ohio"
I remember my first time meeting Bob Feller. I was 10. It was lunchtime. Summertime. A beautiful sunny summer day outside the downtown Cleveland Public Library. I would tell him about Cleveland Municipal Stadium and the 1982 Indians. As I recall the ten minute conversation we had, he told me the stadium was used for special occasions, not all the time. League Park was still the park primarily used by the Indians when Feller came into the American League.
I was embarrassed because all I had was a napkin and never really studied baseball so I just saw him at the time as the “nicest old man” who was such a historian. I regret never hanging onto his autograph, never made money off of our encounter yet the memory I have of him as a man carries on forever.
Flash forward to 2009. I am a gameday security guard for the season. I saw him always show the same demeanor that I saw at 10: a kind, courteous, nice, gentleman. He never presented himself to be an athlete or a Hall of Famer. He was just an ordinary guy and never let his success get to his head or heart.
We in Cleveland complain about the Indians not winning since 1948 when Bob played. We see athletes always leaving Cleveland when free agency comes. Bob never left. He always loved NE Ohio and loved the Indians. We loved him because he was one of us. A great player, a great fan, more importantly a wonderful person!
Around this time of year, we all share gifts. We Clevelanders as well as baseball fans have a wonderful gift of memories to share about Bob, a player and person we will never forget. Thanks for your 75 years with the Tribe and service to the United States of America in World War II. God bless you and keep you, Bob!
Thank you one and all for your support for me in keeping me at #48 on the latest leaders list for fans of MLBlogs.com. Today I want to dedicate this ranking to a player on the Tribe the year my wife was born and the year I was born. For us, baseball is a family affair. That person was Sudden Sam McDowell.
Sudden Sam McDowell played for the Cleveland Indians from 1960-1971. For the Tribe, he was a 20 game winner in 1970, He was a six-time all star. He is second all-time in strikeouts to Bob Feller for the Cleveland ballclub with 2159 strikeouts. He also played for the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. He is current #34 of the Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time with 2,453 K’s all-time.
His greatest achievement happened off the field as he was able to admit he had a drinking problem and checked himself into rehabilitation. He then earned a degree to be in sports psychology and addiction and went on to be a sports addiction counselor with the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers. He even earned a World Series ring while working as part of the 1993 Blue Jays.The character of Sam Malone, the alcoholic ex-Red Sox pitcher portrayed by Emmy Award winning actor Ted Danson in the television program Cheers, was based on the baseball life of McDowell.
This information is inspiring to me because he is a man that was caught up in fame, admitted and overcame his addictions and has lived a productive life. We all can be inspired by Mr McDowell to overcome our present situations and strive to make the best of what seems like impossible odds by turning our lives over to a higher power and trusting that life can and will improve for all of us no matter what life holds. Thank you Sam for your example on and off the field.
Interestingly enough, his last playing year was 1975, the year my sister was born. Like his nickname Sudden, I received some sudden but exciting news as my sister announced she is engaged. I hope and pray for her life ahead and welcome her fiance as part of the family.