We had the greatest expectations
You know, it’s not every day you can walk to the press box bathroom and pass a former president along the way.
Then again, not every day is Opening Day. It’s a special day, whether or not President George W. Bush is in attendance.
“I think it spurs emotions that a lot of times most people don’t feel,” Eric Wedge said. “I think that’s what people like about Opening Day. I let that in. I think it’s important to feel that. I’ll stiff arm a lot of that stuff, but… if you love the game of baseball and you appreciate and respect the fans who pay their money and the players that work so hard to be the best in the world, I think that’s something we all owe to ourselves.”
It’s a day of hope. A day of opportunity. A day when all is right with the world and the best is yet to come.
Well, until Cliff Lee coughs up seven runs in five innings, and the good people of Cleveland drive home from work in an April 6 snow shower. Then it’s back to square one.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- I’m already getting the messages of panic from Tribe fans regarding Cliff Lee and his Opening Day dud against the Rangers. One former Indians.com scribe, who shall remain nameless, is insistent that the Indians should have traded Lee this offseason, while his value was at its peak. This, of course, is how Cleveland sports fans react to such things. It’s their nature, and I suppose it’s understandable.
- On my end, I’m not sure what to make of Lee’s struggles this spring and in this start. His velocity is intact, and his command doesn’t appear to be too terribly out of whack. It’s worth keeping in mind that he’s never really pitched well in this ballpark (3-3, 9.19 ERA in six career starts here). Today’s loss boiled down to a poorly pitched second inning and one particularly bad pitch to Blalock in the fifth. The looming question is whether those rough patches are going to creep up once or twice in each of his outings (they were rare, at best, in ’08). If they do, it’s going to be a long year.
- For the record, Lee said the Blalock one-hopper that dotted his forearm in the second played no part in everything that transpired afterward.
- You can tell when Wedge is upset with the offensive effort and, conversely, when he’s genuinely impressed with what he saw from the opposing pitcher. Today, he was definitely impressed with Millwood. Still, the Indians didn’t notch so much as an extra-base hit against Millwood or the Texas bullpen.
- I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Texas crowd on Opening Day. Every other time I’ve been here, the place is half-empty… if that. But arriving this morning around 9:30 a.m., the parking lots were all packed with tailgaters braving the 45-degree weather (which is downright arctic in these parts).
- The players were all excited to meet the former president. He went around the locker room about an hour before first pitch, signed a ball and took a picture with pretty much every player and coach.
- No one was more excited than Shoppach, an unabashed Bush fan. Bush apparently told Shoppach he remembers him from his Baylor days (Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch is near Baylor’s campus in Waco). “That got me pumped up,” Shoppach said. Either Shoppach was a truly memorable college player, or Bush’s secret service guys do their homework ahead of time.
- For the record, I nodded at Bush as I passed him in the hallway and said hello. He was en route to the Rangers’ broadcast booth and didn’t nod back. Didn’t he realize I come from a key swing state?