The Cleveland Indians had the second lowest attendance in baseball in 2012 — an average of 19,797 per game. For some perspective: That's less than half of the attendance leading Philadelphia Phillies, who averaged 44,021 per game.
In Cleveland, it's not 2012 anymore. Many things have changed — and that sagging attendance looks to be one of them, at least judging from early returns. Tickets for the Indians' home opener went on sale Monday and sold out in just six minutes.
This, of course, doesn't mean that every Indians game is going to be packed at capacity with 43,345 people. But it does mean that the public is responding to what proved a busy offseason for the Indians.
They brought on Terry Francona to manage, signed free agents Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher and traded for Trevor Bauer. The Tribe also signed buy-low deals with Jason Giambi and Daisuke Matsuzaka that could prove fruitful, or at least fun for nostalgia purposes.
It's early, but the Indians sit atop the standings this spring. They have 5-0 record and with whopping 48 runs scored, including a 14-10 win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
It's safe to say these are not the same Indians who finished 68-94 last year, fourth in the AL Central, two games ahead of the last-place Minnesota Twins.
They might not win the World Series — or even the AL Central — but it sure looks like the Indians will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch in 2013.