Monday, April 02, 2007

Live blogging the opener

Opening Day fills everyone with optimism. Even in Cleveland. Right now the Indians are unbeaten and unscored upon, and that's the way they'll stay if we have our way. Of course, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates are also unbeaten. But at least the Devil Rays aren't still unscored upon; they've already given up two runs in the first inning.

So before the oppressive weight of a new season crushes our optimistic outlook, here's the first GHCS live blog, as the Tribe and White Sox prepare to start The Season of Optimism ...

1:45 p.m.
What is this? C.C. Sabathia is healthy enough to get the Opening Day start after all, the Tigers are already down 3-0 in the first inning, and Gold Glover Derek Jeter has made an error in the second inning. Well, not everything's backwards as this season starts -- the Yankees scored two runs in the first inning and probably won't trail all year.

1:50 p.m.
Boy all these Baylor/Oklahoma State fans are going to be pissed when they cut away from this game in a few minutes. After all, it's only half over!

1:49 p.m. What, this game was played yesterday? Man, these Oklahoma State/Baylor viewers must be REALLY pissed!

2:02 p.m. Apparently someone else is about to be really pissed off. In an apartment about 750 yards from Jacobs Field, the STO broadcast is BLACKED OUT. Yes, the team's own station not allowed to broadcast the season opener in downtown Cleveland.

2:06 p.m. And Grady Sizemore starts the season with a second-pitch homer run off Jose Contreras! Not since John Rockefeller discovered oil has there been such a great start in Cleveland.

2:08 p.m.Of course, everyone in downtown Cleveland just saw some Oklahoma State kid thrown out at the plate. Or Baylor kid. From yesterday. Sports (Some)Time(s) Ohio is at it again.

2:13 p.m. STO has been located! Apparently it was hidden on Channel 17 on your dial, even though every other thing ever broadcast on there is on Channel 30. Interestingly, the radio broadcast is a full five seconds behind the TV broadcast. Keep this in mind when you want to win some easy bets from your friends.

2:17 p.m. The Face of the Indians, Casey Blake, comes to the plate. Or is it the chin of the Indians?

2:18 p.m. And The Face of the Indians becomes the first to not even hit the ball out of the infield.

2:20 p.m. Man, Jose Contreras looks even older than Greg Oden!

2:21 p.m. And Tom Hamilton just questioned Jose Contreras' age as well. Contreras is listed as 35 years old. Which Means Oden is at least 33.

2:22 p.m. Jhonny Peralta starts the season with an RBI single, which positions himself for the biggest comeback since the guy who played Kelly Leak was nominated for an Oscar for his work in Little Children last year.

2:23 p.m. And Josh Barfield delivers a two-run double. That was the greatest trade ever, Mark Shapiro!

2:25 p.m. Even The Season of Optimism wasn't this optimistic. 5-0 Tribe after a half-inning. Or, as Tom Hamilton just called it, 15 minutes of pleasure for the Indians. Lucky them!

2:30 p.m. Looks like no swelling on C.C.'s left arm as he makes his fourth Opening Day start. As for the rest of him, there's plenty of swelling.

2:32 p.m. And maybe his head is swelled up as well. Darin Erstad, who should be out of baseball, just hit his first home run since 2005.

2:38 p.m. Five first-inning runs might not be enough today. Three warning-track outs end the first inning for the White Sox. Unless the Indians bats plan to provide more action than Ron Jeremy in his heyday, this lead won't last. Not even in The Season of Optimism.

2:43 p.m. And Trot Nixon is now on pace for 1,458 hits after doubling in the second inning. That would absolutely shatter the single-season record. Mark Shapiro, this Bud's for you!

2:46 p.m. Bye-bye, Jose Contreras, as Travis Hafner hits one up the middle that turns into a Juan Uribe throwing error, two runs, and a 7-2 Indians lead. Contreras strolls to the dugout as fast as his 55-year-old legs can carry him. Which makes Greg Oden 53.

2:52 p.m. The White Sox are now waving the white flag, otherwise known as Nick Massett. He's now the pitcher. All you need to know about him is that the Texas Rangers traded him. And that he just gave up a double to Casey Blake. If the Texas Rangers can't find a place for you on the mound, it's time to retire. That's like a politician not being able to find a way to accept a donation from a special interest group.

2:53 p.m. God Loves Cleveland Sports! Jhonny Peralta two-run single and it's 9-2 Indians. Charge eight of the runs to Contreras. And one to Massett, who's been in the game for five minutes.

3 p.m. Two innings in, and the Indians have already scored more than the Browns did in five of their 16 games this past season. If the Tribe can score six more runs, it will give them a higher total than the Browns had in half their games. Touchdown, Indians!

3:01 p.m. Sabathia chugs through the second inning and the Indians come back to bat leading 9-2. Should we get used to seeing Sabathia? Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, the most prized free-agent-to-be among pitchers, has been offered between $75 million and $85 million for five years. That's $15 million a year at the high end. There's your Sabathia comparable. Zambrano's a year younger. Sabathia's pitched about 200 more innings. Both have a career winning percentage right around .600. No way Sabathia goes for less than $15 million a season once his deal expires after next season.

3:08 p.m. And Trot "The Babe" Nixon is at it again. He's 3-for-3 with a hit in each of the first three inning, keeping him on pace for the all-time single-season hit record of 1,458.

3:23 p.m. Thousands of Chicago-area TVs click off as we go to the third with the Tribe up 11-2. Chicagoans haven't seen anyone throw a ball this bad since the Super Bowl.

3:26 p.m. STO wants to know how many games people think the Indians will win this year: 95 or more, 85-94, 75-84, or 74 or less. Odds are if they did the poll before the game, people would have picked 75-84. Now, in The Season of Optimism, people might be picking 95 or more.

3:27 p.m. and Trot Nixon's hitting streak has ended at three -- innings. But only because he didn't bat in the fourth as the Tribe went down 1-2-3.

3:40 p.m. And it's a Bob Wickman sighting. First, some satellite activity spotted a disturbance. A closer glance showed Wickman on the mound in the bottom of the ninth as the Braves visited the Phillies. It's a tie game, a situation Wickman rarely found himself in with the Indians, which is why the satallite thought the activity was suspicious at first. That and an all-you-can-eat buffet are the two worst place someone would want to put Wickman, though, as he is just 2-15 since 2002. He either saves 'em or blows 'em, but he doesn't win 'em.

3:45 p.m. If LeBron James played with Bob Wickman, he would be gnawing on more than just his fingernails. After two outs, Wickman gives up a double to Shane Victorrino. He throws a couple balls to Ryan Howard, the 57-home-run man from last year, then intentionally walks him. Now Chase Utley's up. He had a 34-game hitting streak last year. Maybe Wickman needs Jerry Tarkanian to manage him; that big towel the Tark always had would come in handy for wiping nervous brows when Wickman's on the hill.

3:47 p.m. Utley pops out! Wickman grabs a chicken wing and a beer!

3:55 p.m. Back to the Indians, and they are still up 11-3. Time for the rest of us to grab a chicken wing and a beer!

4:14 p.m. A-ha! It helps to look for STO on the correct channel instead of on the Fox Sports Ohio channel. Stretch time with the Indians still holding their Season of Optimism lead, 11-3.

4:18 p.m. The Braves do it for Wickman, scoring two in the 10th to give him the victory. And there's another ex-Indians reliever getting the save, Chad Paronto! It's Wickman's third victory since 2002 and Paronto's first career save. Meanwhile, the Tribe turns to its own bullpen with Rafael Betancourt starting the seventh, and hope its from somewhere other than Hell this year ...

4:28 Trot "The Babe" Nixon takes a walk. He's been on base four times today. Last year he was on base 39 times via hit or walk. Nine more games and he tops last year's total!

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