Opening day started with an added flurry of excitement for the Toronto Blue Jays when the startling lineup was posted with slugger Brett Lawrie batting third.
The lineup, however, was the work of somebody within the Cleveland Indians' organization and not the plans of Toronto manager John Farrell to elevate the status of the young Canadian slugger -- at least not yet.
The original lineup sheets were quickly confiscated from the press room and replaced with the real deal, showing Lawrie hitting sixth which is where the manager has said all along he would be hitting to start the season.
“Somebody got confused,” Farrell remarked on the wrong lineup. “I don’t know who did.”
Farrell's lineup was as expected, with Yunel Escobar leading off, followed by Kelly Johnson, home run king Jose Bautista and Adam Lind batting cleanup.
Edwin Encarnacion will bat fifth followed by Lawrie, Eric Thames, J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus.
It is blustery and chilly - but sunny - in Cleveland with game time temperature expected to be around 7 Celsius. Much the same weather is expected throughout the weekend for the three-game set.
“In many ways, compared to many years, this is like mid-summer today,” Farrell remarked. “We’re catching a break here this weekend. But the adrenalin will be flowing, they won’t know it’s cold.”
There was a buzz of excitement throughout the city with opening day on hand. City buses were roaming around the city with “Go Tribe” messages flashing above the front windows.
“If you can’t get excited for today something might be physically or electronically wrong in your body,” Farrell said a couple of hours before first pitch. “This is always an exciting day. Guys have gone through seven weeks of spring training to prepare for this.
“And it will be good I think to get everybody involved at some point, and that’s not going to be in one game today. But I think in this series it would be great if we could get everybody involved to get that first of 2012 out of the way.”
Even Toronto utility infielder Omar Vizquel, who is beginning his 24th Major League season with the Blue Jays, said opening day never becomes old hat for the players.
The 44-year-old entered the clubhouse armed with a video camera to capture some of the moments.
“This might be might be my last opening day,” Vizquel explained.
Both Vizquel and Farrell played in Cleveland and it is expected that both men will receive warm greetings from the anticipated capacity gathering at Progressive Field.
“This is where I started as a kid professionally, both as a player and later on in a post-playing career,” Farrell said. “There are a lot of special people in this organization that I am still very close with.
“But most importantly it’s a chance for the Blue Jays to start 2012.”
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