Opening Day is a week from today, and as of now the Indians are tied for first place. Although most talk around the Central Division has been surrounding the Detroit Tigers and their blockbuster addition of Prince Fielder to an already stellar lineup, the Indians could be a surprise team this year.
The Tribe made no flashy offseason moves. They added veteran pitchers Derek Lowe and Kevin Slowey, and added sure-handed first baseman Casey Kotchman, who had a career year in 2011. None of these names jump out as anyone who will make a tremendous impact, but by adding groundball pitchers and one of the best fielding first basemen in the league, the Indians are attempting to win through pitching and defense. We also have to hope that the team is able to stay healthy and the young guys continue to develop. If Shin Shoo Choo can bounce back from a poor year in which injuries and off the field issues affected his play, and if young players such as Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis continue to develop, the Indians could be an exciting young team to watch, as predicted by ESPN’s Bill Simmons in his recent podcast (around the 50 min. mark). The Indians offense will most likely be no match in comparison to the high-powered lineup that Detroit possesses, but if the pitching and defense can slow down the Tigers’ big bats, and players remain healthy and develop, the Tribe could hang around. Another factor that may help the Indians sneak into the playoffs is the addition of the extra wild card team. Both leagues have implemented an additional wild card team to the playoff race, which gives us one more shot at making our way into the postseason.
The greatest thing about Opening Day is that it gives us a chance to hold out hope and believe that at least one of our Cleveland sports teams can make a run into the postseason. Therefore, in celebration of Opening Day and our early season playoff dreams, GV Art + Design has re-released all our previously popular Cleveland Indians apparel along with a number of new gear for the new year. Many of our shirts will be carried in the Cleveland Indians Team Shop, as they were last year, but be sure to continually check our website, Facebook and Twitter, to keep up to the minute tabs on all the latest news from GV.