Just five short months ago, the Cleveland Indians were one win away from bringing Cleveland their second major sports championship in 2016. Coming off the incredible Cavaliers championship run, Indians fans were riding a high, believing that their team could (somehow) beat the juggernaut Chicago Cubs. It was almost David vs. Goliath, but they had all the confidence in the world, partially due to what the Cavs did five months earlier. For the first time in many of our lives, Cleveland fans had confidence that it was possible and the Sports Gods – if there is a such thing – didn’t hate the city’s teams and would allow something that many Clevelanders thought would never happen take place twice in the span of five months.
Heading into the 2017 season, a majority of Indians fans are still riding that same high, believing that their team can not only get back to the Fall Classic, but actually come up victorious and bring home a World Series championship this time around, no matter what teams get in their way. The Boston Red Sox are good, but they don’t have the experience or the team that the Indians have. Cleveland was just one win away from a title without a healthy Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar while also bringing in Edwin Encarnacion to be the permanent cleanup hitter in the middle of the order. The Cubs are good once again, but the Indians getting those additions might push them over the top this season. So, essentially, the team that was just one game away in 2016 will come into 2017 with the addition of a No. 2 and 3 starter in the rotation and No. 3 and 4 hitter in the lineup. Not bad, eh?1
With those additions this season, plenty of Indians fans are a bit over confident, and they deserve to be. The Indians own one of the best (and deepest) lineups, a very good rotation, and the most dominant bullpen in baseball. The team that was just one win away from a championship in 2016 added that much? It’s hard not to be over confident, honestly.
Looking ahead, the only thing that can stop this team might be injuries. With an ailing Jason Kipnis to start the season, the Indians have already been hit with the injury bug even before the first pitch of the 2017 season. If the team can remain semi-healthy for the majority of the season, the sky is the limit. It’s going to be a fun summer at Progressive Field. Enjoy it and don’t take it for granted, Indians fans.
For the first time in what seems like a long time, Indians fans are somewhat over confident heading into the upcoming season. While it’s a different (and new) feeling, it’s completely OK to be like that, Cleveland. Something special is brewing at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario. This summer (and fall) can be one to remember. Mike Napoli may have left the Indians and joined the Texas Rangers, but the party will remain in Cleveland all season long.
The Indians begin their 2017 campaign Monday night in Arlington, Texas against the Rangers, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
- Don’t forget to hop on the Yandy Diaz bandwagon before it’s too late either. [↩]