Opening Day in Cleveland 2011: The White Sox Romp

[Box Score]

[South Side Sox]

Mike from The Sombrero and I awoke from our slumber for day two of our Opening Day tour today, and headed up I-71 to Cleveland where we took in the entire batting practice of the Chicago White Sox. The day started off really good with Adam Dunn almost impaling me in the chest with a rocket to right field in batting practice while I was attempting to tweet at the time. Bad idea at the park. A couple of swings later, Mike caught a home run ball off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski.

One thing I took note of, the Chicago White Sox just looked crisp and focused in batting practice. I had a coach that used to tell us that you can win a game right there with focus and by looking dominant and organized. They just seemed sharp from the ‘opening bell’ so to speak. As we would learn, they took batting practice for about 9 innings to the tune of a 15-10 win.

Bob Feller was honored at the park today. Two of the coolest parts of the day were introduction videos on the big screen. One of which was a video of the Indians which showed their team from the beginning of time through the tough years of the 80’s and into the glory days of the 90’s all the way to present day set to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Dream On”. It was very well done and was kind of like the club acknowledging that ‘ok, we know we aren’t perfect but here’s where we have been and you have been there with us all the way through the heartbreak, the triumph and the dreams’. It was somewhat moving.

Then they played a video of Bob Feller. This video was of Rapid Robert through the years and was set to a very emotional song. It was extremely emotional and I am sure there were not a lot of eyes dry amongst Indians fans. No doubt, the Indians were playing to one of the greatest of all time.

Bob Feller’s wife was on hand to deliver the game ball to the mound. And that’s about where the fun and positives ended for the Indians despite a hard fight. It wouldn’t be long until Adam Dunn put a signature on his first game as a ChiSox player with a tape measure shot into the Indians bullpen.

Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and Brent Morel all had really nice days with extra base hits that put the Indians in a 12-0 hole. The bright spots offensively for the Tribe would have been Jack Hannahan–who made a couple nice snags down at third base–and Carlos Santana. Santana homered and collected another two hits driving in three runs on the day. He’s going to be the headliner and hope for the Indians franchise for a while.

Here’s a nice view of outside of Jacobs Field Progressive Field on our walk to the stadium this morning. It was supposed to be high 30’s or possibly 40’s. It was sunny enough that I collected my first sunburn of the year and didn’t need the four layers that I packed on.

Lastings Milledge got in this game and doubled–he also dropped a fly ball in the outfield. As I told Mike, Lastings giveth, Lastings taketh away. That’s been his career so far.

What’s notable about the picture above is that it’s Lastings Milledge pictured as Juan Pierre. The Indians made a mistake early and I caught it on camera.

You have to give Indians fans credit. They really know how to take an ass-whipping in stride. They make jokes and they laugh and make light of the unfortunate situation that is not only their baseball franchise but their entire sports world. It’s rough, man. There isn’t a lot of hope on the horizon. It was a nice Opening Day that they put on at their venue. But the day belonged to the White Sox who lived up to the billing of being a big time offensive team. They showed some chinks in their armor by having to go deeper into their bullpen than they probably would have liked but the ChiSox are 1-0 and ready to take the American League by storm I think–especially with what I saw today confirming that.

Look for Dunn to do his thing; 40 to 50 yard balls. And look for Gordon Beckham to emerge into an All-Star player.