Baseball in Cleveland has always been a part of the fabric of “The Land” The Indians were a staple in this town forever and now those Indians have become the Guardians in this new age of trying to please everyone and everything. Many fans of Cleveland baseball are excited about this new beginning and others are still upset about a team they grew up with being torn away from them and the history of the franchise seemingly being thrown away. It’s a difficult time in the history of Cleveland baseball.
The team, now known as the Guardians, will play their season opener in Kansas City against the Royals. This will be only the fifth time since 1978 that these two baseball towns have hit the ball around the ballfield to start the season. In that 1978 contest the Indians got the win as their pitcher Wayne Garland got the victory 8-5. Cleveland’s first baseman Andre Thorton also hit one out of the old Municipal Stadium.
Now, in this year’s season opener, this Cleveland team is made up of many new players and most I have no idea about. Part of the reason for this roster is that this team ranks near the bottom of the MLB payroll. They are currently paying their players $40 million as a whole team. For some context, the current Los Angeles Dodgers payroll is currently $277 million. If you do the math, that means that the Dodgers’ payroll is seven times that of the Guardians.
The fact that this current Cleveland baseball franchise pays their team so little is a huge concern for this team and I’d even suggest staying in town in the future could be a big problem. That’s a discussion for another day.
In this season’s opener, one pitcher I do know in Shane Bieber will go up against Zach Greinke of the Royals. The Guardians will have to rely on their starting pitchers this season if they’ll have any chance in the league. Despite the low payroll and to their credit, the Guardians have won in the past, but now it’s a team of even more unknowns. The new infielders on the team include Ernie Clement and Owen Miller. New pitchers will include names I’ve never seen before including Nick Sandlin, Trevor Stephan and Konor Pilkington. The new catchers are Austin Hedges and Bryan Lavastida. The outfielders include a few familiar names Oscar Mercado and Bradley Zimmer but there’s a new name of Steven Kwan. The other outfielder of note is Myles Straw, who I’m most interested in to see if he can become the next big star on the team.
I mention all these names and the unknowns because the franchise, as we’ve mentioned already hasn’t invested anything in this team. It’s a shame and could come back to bite this franchise in the butt because the few fans of Cleveland baseball that are left are left trying to cheer for a team where there are always new unknown players coming to town. The team did sign their last known superstar, Jose Ramirez today to a nice extension. But, usually, this team has traded away every last standing superhero and that’s the biggest problem for this team’s public relations department.
I certainly will be cheering for this new Guardians team. The issues for this team, the owners and the front office will be how can they stay in business when they’ll be getting maybe 10,000 fans to come to the ballpark on a nightly basis? The franchise needs to understand that they are losing fans in droves and unless they want to get with the program and join the rest of Major League Baseball and really compete then this season has already gotten off to a rocky start even before the first pitch.