I will not say that the Indians have caught a break in the past couple of seasons, but it is fair to say that the last couple of disappointing years have flown a little bit under the radar, what with all the frenzy that surrounded the Cavaliers for the past six or so years. By the time the Tribe was struggling and watching Central Division teams drawing further and further away, the Cavs were getting ready for -- or had already begun -- their seemingly perennial playoff run, and the eyes of casual Cleveland sports' fans were focused on the Q.
This year, there is no such "luxury" for the Indians. Although the Cavaliers have eight games left, it may be rightly thought that in 2011, the Tribe is the only game in town for the next three or four months, until the Browns get into gear.
It would be nice -- yes, nice is a good word -- if the Indians could get off to a good start. Nobody is expecting that the Tribe will duplicate the Detroit Tigers' start in 1984, when the Tigers came out of the gate smoking at 35-5 on their way to a World Series title.
Imagine that for a moment. Imagine having played 40 baseball games -- taking a team deep into May -- and still having lost only five games.
Now for the Indians, I am thinking that a nice 25-15 start in the first forty games would be more than acceptable. Even that may be a stretch, but I am writing this on Opening Day and so I can be excused -- yes? -- for being a little giddy.
The point is: Indians, you need to get off to a good start, because this year, the stage is all yours for a few months. The microscope of Cleveland fans will be scrutinizing you, and it would be nice if you could show Cleveland a new culture -- a culture that the Cavaliers brought for many years, a culture which you, yourselves, Tribe, had in the nineties -- a culture of winning.