If you're a Cleveland Indians fan, it's pretty good to have baseball back, isn't it? Not that months of dwelling on Game 7 weren't fun, like a trip to the dentist, and not that the Cactus League isn't meaningful, like that dance you went to sophomore year with your cousin's friend because you owed them a favor, but I think there's something to be said for watching games without anyone wearing jersey number 93, especially when they go as well as these first three for the Tribe have.
In case you were under a rock: The Indians won their Opening Day game 8-5, coming back from an early four-run deficit by getting home runs from Jose Ramirez and the newly acquired Edwin Encarnacion, along with shutout frames from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. They won their second game 4-3 on the strength of a game-opening blast by Carlos Santana, who later drove in a second run. They completed the sweep with a 9-6 victory despite trailing by two late, with rookie Yandy Diaz picking up a pair of hits, and Francisco Lindor hitting two home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth. None of the Tribe's three best starting pitchers was at his best, but the team won all three games anyway, because the offense kept coming and coming.
This is the 15th time the Indians have begun a season by winning their first three games, but the first time in 19 years, and only the fourth time in the last half century:
1906: Started 3-0, but it was a four-game set in St. Louis against the Browns (who eventually became the Orioles), so they didn't get a sweep. The combined score of those three games was 12-2. The Indians finished 89-64 that season.
1922: The Tribe were at home to sweep the Ty Cobb and the Tigers. Tris Speaker was one of three Tribe players with three hits in the finale. The combined score of those three games was 26-11. The Indians finished 78-76 that season.
1923: The Indians won their first six games this year, sweeping a four-game set against the White Sox, then winning two against Detroit, all at home. combined score of those three games was 20-15. The Indians finished 82-71 that season.
1925: A season-opening sweep of the Browns in St. Louis. The first game was a wild 21-14 affair, the highest-scoring Opening Day game in MLB history. The Tribe was losing 13-9 until they scored a shopping 12 runs in the eighth inning. The series finale was the complete opposite, as Joe Shaute pitched a shutout and the Indians won 1-0. The combined score of those three games was 24-15. The Indians finished 70-84 that season.
1933: The Indians won their first two games in Detroit, then one in St. Louis. Opening Day was a 4-1 victory that took 13 innings. The combined score of those three games was 18-6. The Indians finished 75-76 that season.
1948: The Tribe won on Opening Day at home against the Browns, with Bob Feller pitching a shutout, then went on the road and won their next two in Detroit, eventually running their winning streak to six games. The combined score of those three games was 16-3. The Indians finished 97-58 and won the World Series that season.
1951: The Indians won two in Detroit, then came home and beat the Browns. (The Indians apparently only played the Tigers and Browns at the beginning of every season.) Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, and Bob Feller each went the distance in their start. The combined score of those three games was 10-4. The Indians finished 93-61 that season.
1952: The Tribe swept three games from the White Sox in Chicago. Then they went home and swept the Tigers in four games, running their season-opening winning streak to seven games. Same as the year before, Tribe starters (this time Wynn, Lemon, and Mike Garcia) pitched a complete game in all three of those first contests. The combined score of those three games was 8-5. The Indians finished 93-61 that season.
1955: The Indians beat the White Sox at home on Opening Day, then went to Detroit and won two. Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, playing in what would be the final season of his career, homered for the Tribe on Opening Day. The combined score of those three games was 17-7. The Indians finished 93-61 that season.
1959: The Tribe beat the Athletics in each of two games in Kansas City, then came home and beat the Tigers, eventually winning their first six games. The third win featured two home runs and six RBI for Woodie Held. The combined score of those three games was 17-7. The Indians finished 89-65 that season.
1966: The Indians beat the Senators in Washington on Opening Day, then came home and beat Boston twice, on their way to a franchise record nine straight wins to start the season. Each of the two wins against Boston came in extra innings. The combined score of those three games was 16-11. The Indians finished 81-81 that season.
1984: The Tribe won two games in Texas, then a third in Kansas City. Julio Franco, Ron Hassey, Brook Jacoby, and George Vukovich each hit safely in all three of those wins. The combined score of those three games was 18-4. The Indians finished 75-87 that season.
1994: The Indians won two at home against the Mariners, then one in Kansas City. Opening Day was a 4-3, extra-innings victory in game Randy Johnson started for Seattle. The combined score of those three games was 18-8. The Indians finished 66-47 that strike-shortened season.
1998: The Tribe won two in Seattle, then their next game in Anaheim, on their way to six straight wins. Manny Ramirez and Brian Giles each had a two-homer game during those first three. The combined score of those three games was 25-18. The Indians finished 89-73 and reached the ALCS that season.
2017: The combined score of those three games was 21-14.
Only time will tell how the Indians finish this season, but it's hard to complain about the beginning.