Indians 6, Cubs 0
I was supposed to be at Monday night's game between the Tribe and Cubs at Wrigley Field, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Tuesday evening was chilly but dry, so my wife and took the Green Line to the Red and found seats about 30 rows behind home plate for only $25 a piece. Not too shabby.
You may or may not be aware that, like Progressive Field, Wrigley underwent some big renovations this offseason. Last night was the first time I'd seen them in-person. For the most park i think they did a nice job of blending the new elements in with the (very) old, but it was sort of strange to have the massive screen in left-center field. So long as the old hand-operated scoreboard remains in center though, it'll probably still feel like Wrigley. The Blackhawks paraded the Stanley Cup around the field before the game, and I found myself wondering if Jason Kipnis (a Chicago native and big Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks fan) managed to get some face time with the players, and if he did, whether he acted like a fan or a fellow professional athlete.
In the 1st inning Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana each walked. I explained that no one walks more than Carlos. "He must get a lot of steps on his Fitbit," my wife replied. Indeed. Seeing Carlos hit his three-run home run in the 3rd inning was the highlight of the night for me, because as you all know, I love me some Carlos.
When the Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom half of that inning, and Miguel Montero came to the plate, I told my wife about the history between him and Bauer. (Montero bad-mouthed Bauer after the Diamondbacks traded him to the Tribe.) She asked if catchers have an advantage when they hit against former teammates, because they know how the guy pitches. I told her that was a great question, and that she should research it. I'm sure she'll get right on that, and I'll be sure to let you know what she finds. Bauer eventually blew Montero away with a high fastball, which was awfully satisfying.
I found myself wondering if Bauer holds any sort of grudge against Montero. Well, for what it's worth, before Bauer's second at bat (the one in which he singled!), he and Montero were talking at the plate, and Trevor was laughing. Perhaps what happened two and a half years ago is water under the bridge, or was never that big a deal in the first place. (Or maybe Bauer is just playing the long con.)
During the middle of the game I went and met Andrew and Brick for a few minutes. I spent the first 32 years of my life not knowing any other Indians fans. I know sort of know a bunch of them now, because hanging out here sort of counts as knowing one other, right? In any event, it was nice to have a face-to-face meeting with good people who speak my language.
When I bought tickets for this series, I knew there was some chance I'd get to see Francisco Lindor's debut. The Indians ruined that by calling him up on Sunday and putting him in long enough to collect his first hit. I'll have to settle for having been there for his first start. It then became a recurring thing for me to call out "First MLB ____" whenever he did something. I saw his first RBI, his first stolen base, his first multi-hit game, and his first run scored. My wife mocked me by pointing out that I saw his first Tuesday night in June game too, because she's good at giving me crap about stuff.
I'm no scout, and I'm not telling you anything you haven't read before, but Lindor looked great in the field, making things look smooth and effortless. He also flew around the bases on Santana's double in the 9th, on which Lindor scored from first base. Watching him go around third base was beautiful.
It was great to see Bauer throw seven shutout innings. It was great to see Lindor have a number of firsts (some of them even pretty legitimate). It was great to see my favorite player homer, double, and draw two walks. Most of all it was great to watch the Indians win in person, something that's been far too rare for me in recent years.
The baseball, it was good.