Big League Week­end matches pair of AL contenders

Re­stocked In­di­ans, hope­ful Rangers will play two games at Alam­od­ome amid other fes­tiv­i­ties.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Kevin Lyt­tle klyt­tle@states­man.com In­di­ans

— For a Rust Belt city on the re­bound, Cleve­land just about knocked it out of the park last year.

Cleve­land hosted the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion. LeBron James and the Cava­liers ex­tin­guished the city’s 52-year pro sports cham­pi­onship drought. The In­di­ans came within a whisker of win­ning their first World Series ti­tle since 1948. The Browns? Well, even The Man Up­stairs grants only so many mir­a­cles.

The In­di­ans are again an Amer- ican League fa­vorite in 2017 and will face the two-time de­fend­ing AL West cham­pion Texas Rangers on opening day in Ar­ling­ton. First, though, the two loaded teams square off on Big League Week­end in San An­to­nio with games Fri­day night and Satur­day af­ter­noon at the Alam­od­ome.

“We’re ex­cited to visit San An­to­nio,” In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “We hear a lot of peo­ple go to the games, so it’s not your typ­i­cal spring train­ing at­mos­phere. It’ll be a nice break for the guys.”

The In­di­ans built, and then blew, a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Cubs in the Fall Clas­sic, even- tu­ally los­ing Game 7 of the World Series in ex­tra in­nings. More than 40 mil­lion view­ers watched the dra­matic fi­nale, mak­ing it the most-watched base­ball game in 25 years.

“It was some kind of ride — the high­est of highs and the low­est of lows,” first base­man Car­los San­tana said. “You wish you could re­play it to do maybe one thing bet­ter.”

The Cubs cred­ited a 10th-in­ning rain de­lay, of all things, for halt­ing the In­di­ans’ mo­men­tum.

“You want to say they broke their 108-year curse or what­ever, and now it’s our turn,” Cleve­land closer Cody Allen said. “But it doesn’t work that way. No­body owes you any­thing. We start over,

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