The Indians have a lot going against them headed into 2012. The Tigers reloaded with addition of Prince Fielder, Kansas City looks primed to play spoilers for the first time in a long time, and the rest of the AL might be as deep as it’s ever been. Throw in the fact that Grady Sizemore is already hurt, there doesn’t appear to be a solution to the left field problem, and Ubaldo Jimenez looks like the same Ubaldo Jimenez that pitched for the Rockies and the Indians in 2011. Hell, Fausto Carmona was revealed to not be Fausto Carmona
Needless to say, things could be better.
Despite all of that the Indians appear to be heading into 2012 with a positive attitude and enthusiasm that is nothing less than contagious. They understand that what happened last season, the ups, the downs, and everything in between, was an essential building block in forming a winning core for years to come. Because of last season and the confidence it instilled in them the Indians don’t think they can compete in 2012… they expect to compete in 2012.
From all of the interviews I’ve seen and articles I’ve read over the past few weekes since Spring Training opened, the Indians are a focused group. They realize the opportunity that lies in front of them to take the city of Cleveland and the baseball world by storm and as a group they’re saying all of the right things. The funny thing is, they aren’t just saying them to say them. They’re saying them because they legitimately believe in themselves and in each other.
A lot of that credit has to start with Manny Acta. A lot of people, myself included, questioned the hiring of Acta a few years ago because of his lack of success as a big league manager. I’m beginning to realize what the Indians saw in him during the interview process. His attitude and ability to motivate and build a true team mentality is like nothing I’ve ever seen. I know from my own personal experience I always played harder for coaches like that as opposed to the screamers and hardcore disciplinarians so it’s understandable why such a young team has responded so well to his leadership.
So as spring training winds down in the next couple of weeks and the journey to October begins, the Indians look poised to make a run. Could this be the team that ends the streak and finally wins something for the city of Cleveland? Maybe… maybe not. Who’s to say this early on. But regardless, the Indians should be fun and exciting to watch. Yes they’ll be frustrating at times and yes they have some insurmountable odds against them, but what else would you expect from a team in Cleveland?