Opening Day is like no other day of the year for baseball fans.
The stadium is sold out. Warm weather is on the way. There’s optimism. Everybody is tied for first place. A win can catapult a fan base’s spirit and a loss can crush early dreams.
No other day is full of overreactions quite like Opening Day.
So which Cleveland players have vaulted hopes on the season’s first day the best? I thought it might be interesting to find out and construct a lineup.
In order to be fair, I decided that the player must be in the top three number of games played in Openers started at their position and must have at least five games in under his belt, too. This eliminates any player who went 3-3 in their lone Opening Day contest as well as any pinch hitter who maybe went 1-1 with a home run in their lone Opener.
The Cleveland Indians play their first postseason game since 2001, welcoming in the New York Yankees for Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They play the ungracious host, as a three-run first and a five-run fifth inning lead …
2003 – Probably one of the more improbable players to do so, the Indians’ Travis Hafner hits for a cycle in Minneapolis as Cleveland defeats Minnesota, 8-3.
Hafner, playing designated hitter and batting sixth in the Indians lineup, started his …
2002 – Future Indians slugger Travis Hafner makes his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers in a pinch-hitting opportunity in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers.
Hafner entered with two outs in the ninth against knuckleballer Steve Sparks, …
1977 – Designated hitter/first baseman Travis Hafner is born in Jamestown, North Dakota.
The future Indians slugger entered professional baseball after being selected in the 31st round of the 1996 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers. He signed with the …
The Indians are moving into 2015 with little change in the names from their 2014 roster. While the Opening Day roster will not be set for another couple of weeks once Spring Training starts to get underway, it’s safe to say that many of the faces Clevelanders will see take the field on April 10 will be similar to those they saw the year before.
Despite invitations to big league spring training, it’s doubtful that prospects such as Francisco Lindor or Tyler Naquin will make the big league team from the get-go. Rather, their invites to spring training will serve as springboards to their careers and will give them a taste of the Major League atmosphere.
More likely than not, though things have the potential to change, the Indians Opening Day roster will be comprised of player who saw Progressive Field last season. As the season continues, it is likely that some of the organizations’ high level prospects will have their chance to make an impact with the big league team but, for now, fans will likely be treated to the same familiar faces they have seen on the field before.
Spotting any Major League Baseball team a 6-0 lead is never a good idea. When it is the New York Yankees and their ace, C.C. Sabathia, it is even more ill-conceived.
That is exactly what Cleveland did on Wednesday afternoon, falling behind 6-0 through two innings at Yankee Stadium. Though they gave it a good effort, the Indians could not dig out of that early hole. The Tribe fell 6-4 and was swept in the three-game series. The Indians have now dropped four in a row and is now 30-29, two and one-half games behind the Tigers, who play this evening, for the AL Central lead.
The ovation Travis Hafner received when he was introduced as a Yankee before Monday’s home opener was as well-deserved as any.
For 10 seasons, Hafner was a fixture in the Indians lineup as the power-hitting designated hitter. Unfortunately, as was the case for many Indians after 2007, injuries plagued “Pronk” and reduced his effectiveness.
Hafner, 35, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996, but didn’t make his Major League Baseball debut until 2002. The Indians decided to trade for him after the season, acquiring him for Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese.
It was one of the most lopsided trades of the last 15 years.