Big League Weekend matches pair of AL contenders
Restocked Indians, hopeful Rangers will play two games at Alamodome amid other festivities.
— 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,