Ever since reading the ESPN article ranking the Indians as the fourth best team in the major leagues (did you notice that everyone ahead of them was in the National League?), my entire outlook on the 2015 season has changed. Being from Cleveland, I have spent 90% of my fan life rooting for the underdog. It’s a role that I am comfortable with. Spending more time reading mock drafts than playoff previews. Explaining to people that the first six years of somebody’s career are a fluke. Disregarding rumors of the team being sold to someone from out-of-town.
A big part of rooting for the underdog is low expectations. Let’s face it, we would all have been pretty happy with 7-9 for the Browns if not for everything that has happened since the season ended. And wasn’t it almost easier to root for the Cavs when Tristan Thompson was their second best player, the draft lottery was the highlight of the year, and we would have been thrilled just to make the playoffs. Now there’s a new drama every day, and anything short of the NBA Finals will be a failure.
It’s the same with the Indians. I watched the offseason moves made by the Tigers and knew they were vulnerable. Replacing Max Scherzer with Alfredo Simon is not an upgrade, after all. I also figured that Victor Martinez is very unlikely to match his extraordinary 2014 season. At best, the Tigers have tread water; since the Royals have lost their best pitcher and probably gotten worse offensively, it seemed apparent that the door was open for the Indians if they could patch some holes from last season –namely get a healthy season from Michael Bourn, a rebound from Jason Kipnis and a solid rotation from the start of the season.
But feeling like the door was open is nowhere near being considered the favorite. Not only that, but the seven game gap between the projections for the Indians and the Tigers implies some degree of confidence in the prediction, or at least a perceptible gap in the talent level of the two teams. In fact, no American league team was projected higher than the Indians, which implies that they are, in fact, World Series favorites, at least in one man’s eyes.
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While some would look at that and say, holy crap, this could be a fun season, I know better. I know now that if Carlos Carrasco comes out in April and throws 38 pitches in the first inning of his first start, it won’t just be incredibly frustrating like it was last April, it will jeopardize our season of destiny. s open is solid rotation from the start of the season. last season -namely offensively, it seemed watching the development of Francisco Lindor is no longer a fascinating topic, it is an essential piece of the puzzle. Every pulled muscle, every bad throw, every pitch in the dirt swung at, suddenly could be the difference between a World Series and a season of heartbreak. I’m not ready for this.
There are so many ways this could fall apart. There has to be a reason the Blue Jays were willing to throw Yan Gomes in a trade for a mediocre pitcher two years ago. You just wait, sometime this season the truth will come out. Any day now the Yankees will call Antonetti in the middle of the night when he’s not thinking clearly, offer him five third-rate prospects for Kluber and Brantley, and he’ll say yes before he wakes up and realizes what happened. Half the team could get invited to Josh Gordon’s house for a party. We just signed Bruce Chen, who’s been killing us for years. Now he’s going to screw us over from the inside. There’s no freaking way the Buckeyes and the Indians could win a championship in the same year. Did you see the hat Justin Bieber had on a couple of weeks ago?
There’s no way to fix this now; we’re in for six months of anxiety with a few moments of joy mixed in. Maybe the whole team will get busted for PEDs and put me out of my misery.