Cleveland Indians Opening Day, the first of many lasts

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians team (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cleveland Indians Opening Day, the first of many lasts

With Opening Day arriving for the Cleveland Indians, and across all of Major League Baseball, we’re brought to the realization that the final season of the Tribe is becoming reality. For many, this is a step that seemed inevitable. But experiencing the first of the many lasts to come this season make it all seem real, maybe for the first time.

Talks about removing Chief Wahoo and the Indians moniker have been around for years to the point where for some fans it just became constant background noise to the franchise. However, the 2021 season is the first step in the new beginning and that’s closing the door on the last chapter of Cleveland baseball.

For more than 100 years the Indians have called Cleveland home through League Park, Municipal Stadium, Jacobs Field and now Progressive Field. Two World Series titles have come and gone with the longest active championship drought in the game following. Nevertheless, the fans have stuck by the club’s side to this point. From seasons that were hard to watch to heartbreak that was even harder, the fans have stayed and supported.

As the team looks to embark on the 2021 campaign, we’re brought to the first of many lasts this season. It’s almost like the senior year of high school for the Tribe. It’ll be the last Opening Day, the last home opener, the last playoff push, etc. However, to keep with the clichés, every ending brings with it a new beginning. That’s exactly what the Cleveland Indians will get moving forward.

Opening Days, playoff appearances and entire seasons have been tarnished by the looming fate of the team’s name. From protests outside the stadium to court hearings in Toronto, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. Now, we get to see a fresh start for the club. While the new name is a long way from being announced, or perhaps even determined, there’s a gleam of a season that doesn’t have to deal with that. A season where the only thing being talked about regarding Cleveland baseball is baseball.

Obviously the transition will take some adjusting, more for some than others. Being a third-generation Tribe fan, there’s plenty of memories and memorabilia paired with either Chief Wahoo or the Indians name. Luckily, those won’t be erased, but rather rebranded. Cleveland baseball will remain just that, Cleveland baseball. The team will still take the field next year at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario and while things will look and sound a bit different, we’ll still have Cleveland baseball.

So while the future draws near, as does closing the book on the Cleveland Indians, we still get one more season with the Tribe. A year that looks promising thanks to a young roster that will grow into the new nickname while going out with a bang on the old moniker. Maybe, just maybe, they can even make a run to end the drought. Wouldn’t that be poetic?

Every Opening Day brings with it emotions. Excitement. Anxiety. Joy. Sometimes disappointment. They all encompass the day well. This year, they will be even more prominent, but the list will be longer. There’s no question that Opening Day and the home opener will come with additional emotions than a normal year.

Yes, Opening Day will mark the first of many lasts this season. That’s true. There will be emotions that come with seeing the last of anything, especially something that has bonded generations and served as an escape for so many. Thankfully, that escape will still be there next year. Luckily, that bonding experience for generations will still be available in 2022. It will go by a different name, but it will still reside in Cleveland.

When the team takes the field a year from now we’ll still look forward to the first game at Progressive Field with the Key Bank and Terminal Tower in the background and it’ll still be Cleveland baseball.

With that being said, this season will be one to cherish because it will be the last for the Tribe. Hopefully, this edition of the Cleveland Indians can bring the magic back to Progressive Field, end the year with fireworks and give us a season to remember for more than just being the last one.