Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 40
There is something about Bartolo Colon that makes him beloved by fans across the nation and the world.
Sure, he has had a long and sometimes successful Major League career, keeping his name in the news during springs and summers since debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 1997. But now, many years removed from a slimmer, more dominating flame-throwing version of himself, Colon now looks like an everyman, resembling more of a middle-aged man who had let himself go and now is attempting to squeeze himself into a pair of baseball pants in some sort of midlife crisis.
Colon takes the brunt of the jokes for being out of shape and being a really, really lousy looker while standing in the batter’s box.
But the joke’s on you – the 43-year-old right-hander signed a $12.5 million deal in November to join the starting rotation of the Atlanta Braves, providing lots and lots of life experience and veteran leadership to a young team, now constructed by John Hart, a very familiar face for Colon from his time in Cleveland.
For the first time since 2004, a reigning National League championship club will make an appearance at Progressive Field as the New York Mets come to Cleveland to take on the Indians in a three-game weekend set.
The last time the Indians faced the reigning NL champs in the regular season was in a three-year stretch from 2010 to 2012 when they went on the road to face Philadelphia, San Francisco, and St. Louis, respectively. They last hosted the senior circuit kings in 2004, when the Tribe dropped two of three to the 2003 World Series winners, the Florida Marlins, from June 8 to June 10.
2002 – The Indians enter rebuilding mode, as the club deals staff ace Bartolo Colon and minor league pitcher Tim Drew to the Montreal Expos for three future star prospects and veteran first baseman/outfielder Lee Stevens.
Colon, off to a …
A dozen years ago, the Indians were just starting a new era of Tribe baseball. Long gone were Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga and Manny Ramirez, but it was just prior to the 2002 season that Cleveland said goodbye to Roberto Alomar, Kenny Lofton, Dave Burba, Marty Cordova and Juan Gonzalez. The long-dominant Indians were a team in transition and were picked by most to finish in third place in the American League Central Division.
“I wish everybody would have picked us to finish last,” newcomer Matt Lawton said in a Plain Dealer article by Dennis Manoloff. “It’s fun when nobody expects anything out of you and you go out and prove people wrong.”
Just about two weeks into the season, the Indians were doing just that. After ace pitcher Bartolo Colon fired a complete game shutout at Edison Field in Anaheim on Opening Day, the Tribe dropped their first game of the season two days later. After that, the new-look team went on a tear, winning their next 10 ballgames to run their record to an outstanding 11-1. The Tribe was in first place after Saturday April 13; four games up on both of the division favorites in the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. Like the surprised fans, the Indians clubhouse was all smiles after their amazing start—a start that equaled the greatest through 12 games in franchise history.