CLEVELAND -- Call it a Tale of Two Openers -- one a first, one a last.
For Travis Shaw, part of a Major League Opening Day roster, Monday represents a new beginning and, no doubt, a day he will always remember.
“(Monday) is going to be fun,” said Shaw, who beat out Pablo Sandoval last week to become the Red Sox' regular third baseman. “It's something you dream about your whole life, to start on Opening Day. If it's not going to be in Boston, what better place than Cleveland?”
Shaw grew up in Washington Court House, Ohio, about three hours from Cleveland, and expects there will be somewhere between 10-and-15 family members and friends from his hometown at Progressive Field.
He spent the final two and a half months with the Red Sox last season and made his major league debut, so most of the nerves were already worked out.
Still, Monday will be special.
“It's just another game,” said Shaw. “I'm ready for this opportunity and kind of take off and run with it.”
Shaw is a relative newcomer to third base, but has quickly made himself adept at the position. He figures the first chance he gets in the field might carry with it some butterflies, but not for long.
“Once that first play is out of the way,” he said, “you can kind of settle in. First at-bat, first ground ball...once those are done, everything calms down.”
In the crowd Monday with be Shaw's father, Dennis, who pitched in the majors and for whom the opener will have extra significance.
“I know he's looking forward to (Monday),” said Travis Shaw, “he and my Mom. Like I said, (Monday) will be fun and I'm ready to take it all in.”
David Ortiz, meanwhile, has had more Opening Days than most, dating back almost 20 years. But because this will be his final one, it might have some added significance.
“Opening Day is the one of the parts of the season you always look forward to,” Ortiz said. “I don't feel any different yet (about it being his final one), but knowing that it's your last one, you go about your business and try to enjoy it.”
Ortiz is trying not to get wrapped up in his surroundings and promises to treat it like any other opener.
“I don't think about (the fact that it's his last one),” he said. “Your mind can't be processing too many things, especially when I'm getting ready for the season. I'm not thinking about anything except trying to win some games and get back to the playoffs once again.”
The Indians plan a pre-game ceremony and presentation to observe his last regular season visit, but that won't happen until the series finale on Thursday night.