Just as spring training is about to get going, it's difficult not to be optimistic.
The arrival of baseball means longer days, warmer weather and something to listen to or watch for the next seven months.
It's just that, as an Indians' fan, the arrival of the sport has me upbeat more for what it represents than what it will be.
Because while the American League Central Division champion Detroit Tigers reloaded, signing superstar Prince Fielder, the Indians re-filled. They signed first baseman Casey Kotchman, who hits for average but not much power, and they brought back Grady Sizemore.
And, as we found out Friday, Sizemore is hurt again, and will miss opening day. That's about as shocking as phony modesty at the Academy Awards.
Lots of Indians fans I talk to are positive, pointing to the team's 30-15 start a season ago. During that 45-game stretch, it seemed like the Indians could do no wrong, despite possessing a lineup that made one long for the consistent mediocrity of Felix Fermin.
Of course, when a team starts 15 games better than .500, the decline can be hard to see. The Indians kept getting worse and worse as the season went on, and yet, because they'd started so well, they remained in the division race.
By the time Cleveland traded prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White for Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez July 31, the Indians were just 1 1/2 games out of first. They also were barely better than .500, going 23-36 since their 30-15 start.
Jimenez was far from the ace the Tribe thought it was getting. He went 4-4 with a 5.10 earned run average after being dealt.
The Indians finished 80-82 last year, a record that likely was better than the team was. Then they had a quiet offseason.
OK, that's not exactly true. Just ask Fausto Carmona. Or Roberto Hernandez, if you can find him.
Maybe there are reasons for optimism. Maybe Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis will be stars who man the infield for years. Maybe Jimenez will find his form. Perhaps Shin-Soo Choo will have a big year, just in time to get a contract that will get him a ticket to a market that can afford him. After this season.
But while the Indians have questions, the Tigers have near-certainties. They know Justin Verlander is an ace. They know Fielder and Miguel Cabrera can be counted on to produce, barring injury.
With about five weeks before opening day, Indians fans can be optimistic about 2012.
But they may not want to be realistic.