We’re only a few games into the 2017 season and already the Indians appear to be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The opening series in Texas featured three close games including two comebacks, one fueled almost exclusively by a character never seen in Cleveland before, an angry Francisco Lindor.
While it may be tough to keep up that kind of intensity all season long, wins in April count as much as those in September and the Indians should be doing everything they can to wrap up the Central as early as they can. There are plenty of reasons for the Tribe to stay angry all season and here they are, in order of opponent:
Texas Rangers: The Indians opened against the Rangers and “former” Indians catcher Jon Lucroy. His opinion that he had a better chance of winning in Texas shouldn’t have bothered the Indians after Roberto Perez hit two home runs in the World Series, but it’s obviously still a sore spot and the Indians will let the hate flow.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Cleveland rarely plays Arizona, so there isn’t much of a rivalry, but taking away the Indians DH in the second series of the season is enough to push an AL team’s limits. Also, those first two games were pretty maddening.
Chicago White Sox: There isn’t really any recent animosity between these two divisional rivals, so let’s bring up some really old dirt and get mad that they sullied the name of one of the greatest Indians ever, Shoeless Joe Jackson, by throwing the World Series in 1919.
Minnesota Twins: The Indians dominated the Twins in the standings last year, but still finished barely over .500 against them and in 2015 the upstart kids kept the Tribe out of play-off contention. Forget the last 15 years, there’s enough in the last two to hate Minnesota.
Houston Astros: Sports Illustrated already named the Astros the 2017 World Champions back in 2014 and the Indians already hate SI, so add Houston by proxy. There’s no better way to make them look bad than by keeping the Astros from winning it all.
Seattle Mariners: This is really more on the Royals, but the Indians could really have used Jarrod Dyson this off-season. Also, who tries to make their fan base eat insects?
Kansas City Royals: The Royals were the Indians before they became what they are now, transforming a poor franchise through improved defense, a great bullpen and a consistent line-up. Who can you hate more than the guy who did what you were doing before you did it and still thinks they’re better than you?
Toronto Blue Jays: The Indians could almost have forgiven the Jays for their comments during the 2016 ALCS, but they resigned the boot shaking Joey Bats, so this rivalry is just getting started. Hopefully, Ryan Merritt will get called up for added motivation.
Tampa Bay Rays: Every time Chris Archer pitches it’s a reminder of the stupid trades of front offices past.
Cincinnati Reds: What kind of team cuts Ryan Raburn in an odd year? It’s time to stick up for a former Tribesman.
Oakland Athletics: There’s enough to hate about Oakland just by being forced to play baseball on an ancient football field.
Colorado Rockies: For trying to push Coors as something more than just Rocky Mountain water.
Los Angeles Dodgers: If they had only been able to beat the Cubs two more times, things could have been quite different right now.
Baltimore Orioles: Their 7 year, $161M contract given to Chris Davis was likely at least part of the reason that the Indians had to give Edwin Encarnacion $20M+ per year and will likely lose Carlos Santana to free agency.
San Diego Padres: Clint Frazier was only with the Indians franchise for about two weeks after he played in the Future’s Game in San Diego last year, which is obviously the Padres fault.
San Francisco Giants: The most devastating postseason appearance in Indians history came at the hands of the Giants. Never forget.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout thinks he’s the greatest, but how could he be with Lindor being as such.
Boston Red Sox: Even though SI gave the 2017 World Series trophy to Houston back in 2014, the rest of baseball’s media gave it to the Sox after they picked up Chris Sale. The current AL champs disagree.
New York Yankees: How dare they make Clint Frazier cut his hair?
Chicago Cubs: It isn’t officially on the schedule yet, but it very well could end up there. The Indians don’t need any more reasons to get mad at the Cubs than the obvious ones.