There are high expectations for the Cleveland Indians this season, following their World Series run last year. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto reflects on the team and what makes the length of a baseball season special...and important.
It was just a little more than fives month ago the Indians lost the World Series in a dramatic Game 7 against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field.
"[Baseball season] starts in the cold weather in April and it ends in the cold weather in November -- if you play long enough," Pluto says.
Pluto predicts the Indians will win the Central Division because the other teams -- Chicago, Minnesota, Kansas City and Detroit "aren't very good right now." But he's skeptical about a World Series win. "Pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar have had some arm problems. Michael Brantley is healthy now, but will he stay healthy? Things always go wrong, but it (his skepticism) really just comes down to having lived 56 of my 61 years in Northeast Ohio."
The regular season matters
Pluto says the exciting thing about baseball is that there's a game virtually every day for the next six months. And "the regular season means something."
"In the NBA, whether you have the best record in the league or the eighth-best record, other than home-court, that's the only advantage you get. Baseball, when you win your division, you are out of the dreaded wild-card game."
In 2013, the Indians finished the season by winning 10 straight. They qualified for the one-game wild card against Tampa Bay, who won fewer games than Cleveland during the regular season. The Indians lost. Season over.
"Your ability to win your division prevents you from just having bad day and having to go home. That's so important."
A good start
Pluto says winning a bunch of games in April doesn't mean a team will make it to the MLB playoffs, because it's 162-game season.
"But a really lousy April and May could cost you a playoff berth. You're playing from behind the whole time."