On Thursday, Major League Baseball presents “Opening Day at Home” -- a full slate of 30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms including networks, digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience is intended to invite fans to feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to while underscoring the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Using the hashtag #OpeningDayAtHome, fans can connect with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time. The Indians got things started with the thrilling walk-off win that secured their 22nd consecutive victory on Sept. 14, 2017.
“Opening Day at Home” is an opportunity for MLB to raise awareness for several worthy charities that are helping provide relief to the most vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic. Last week, MLB and the MLBPA made a $1 million joint donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30 million commitment made by MLB clubs to emergency relief for ballpark employees. If so willing and able, fans can contribute toward these charities, MLB official charity Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and additional causes at MLB.com/give.
During the Tribe’s 22-game win streak, only one victory came in walk-off fashion. The Indians punctuated their historic run with a game-winning base hit down the right-field line by Jay Bruce in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Royals. As José Ramírez scored from second base, the entire team took off from the dugout, chasing Bruce into shallow left field while dousing him with baby powder and water.
"Kids these days are throwing everything," Bruce said with a laugh after the game. "You never know what you're going to get hit with out there. It's my first jersey rip-off for sure. They didn't get it all, though."
The Tribe trailed Kansas City, 2-1, entering the ninth. Cleveland was able to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Bruce popped out to the catcher and Carlos Santana popped out to first to end the frame. Thanks to Francisco Lindor, though, Bruce had one more chance to become the hero.
With two outs in the ninth, Lindor delivered an electrifying game-tying double off the left-field wall, just out of Alex Gordon’s reach. Lindor stood at second, screaming toward his dugout, as his teammates had to restrain themselves from bursting onto the field in excitement.
"For a second, when I hit it, I was like, 'Oh no, I went the other way. I hit it to the wrong guy,'” Lindor told reporters after the game. “Then I saw it hit the wall, and the emotions were pretty high. Just seeing the whole entire crowd was fun, and then seeing your teammates screaming on the top step of the dugout is pretty special."
The Indians secured sole possession of the second-longest win streak in Major League history that night. They went deep more times (41) than their opponents crossed the plate (37) during the 22-game span. It was a stint that simply became labeled “The Streak,” and the Tribe's final win could easily be pegged as the team’s best game of the past decade. The Streak came to an end just 24 hours later, which made the walk-off celebration after victory No. 22 even more special.
"The atmosphere around here is incredible," Indians manager Terry Francona said after The Streak was snapped the following evening. "We don't take it for granted."
It was a random September night at Progressive Field that emitted October-like passion from the 30,874 fans in attendance. Lindor’s double prompted a stadium-shaking celebration, and Bruce’s walk-off left everyone with a memory of one of the top moments in franchise history. Now, we’ll all have a chance to relive it.
This week, MLB unlocked its expansive vault and is offering fans special access to the most unforgettable moments. MLB has made the entire 2018 and 2019 game archives free to all fans through MLB.TV. Fans can also access more than 200 full classic MLB games on YouTube including timeless World Series games, memorable postseason matchups, no-hitters and perfect games.