Why you should boycott the Indians…

What do you think of this?

 

Recently Forbes magazine published an article detailing the financials of all 32 major league baseball teams. Most Indians fan have, over the years, heard the Dolan family cry poor. That Cleveland is a small market town and therefore they cannot afford to field a competitive team. However, according to Forbes, your Cleveland Indians made more operating profit than any other team in the majors. Let me say that again in case you missed it, the Cleveland Indians had the highest operating profit in all of baseball. They made a tidy little 30 million dollar profit last year before taxes and interest payments all the while fielding one of the most rotten teams in our equally rotten history.

 

There are not enough synonyms for the word “anger” to describe how I feel. Acrimonious? Livid? Incensed? I feel betrayed as well. This weasel has been making money hand over fist every year since he bought the team 10 years ago and then foists a vastly inferior product down our throats and cries poor. Let me be very clear, there is nothing wrong with making a profit. The Dolan family has every right to make a profit from their investment. But they also, as owners of a professional sports team, have a civic responsibility to give us a team that we can get behind and support.

 

Next year the new television contracts come into play and the Indians will be on the receiving end of about 100 million dollars in national and local money. In addition, they will receive a welfare check from MLB to the tune of about another 20 million. In spite of that huge influx of revenue, the Indians are expected to continue to field a team only slightly better than AAA caliber.

 

As disgusted as I am with how the Dolan’s take their civic responsibility so lightly I am even more ashamed at the conduct of the typical Indians fan. Why are we attending these games? Until we put our collective foot down, this situation will never change. The Dolan’s have told us, “we will spend when the attendance improves.” Tell me, would any of us go to a restaurant under the promise of edible food once they start getting more customers but until then, the food is going to be horrible? Not a chance. So why do we tolerate the same treatment from the Dolan’s? The typical Cleveland fan is comparable to an abused spouse. We get a beating and we keep coming back for more.

 

It is high time that we boycott this team. Do not go to the games. Do not watch them on television. Do not tune in on the radio. Do not buy or wear their team gear. It is also time to tell their advertisers that you will not be patronizing their establishments if they choose to be a vehicle for perpetuating this crime. It is blatantly obvious that there is only one thing the Dolan’s covet and that is the almighty dollar. Let’s hit them where it hurts the most, in their wallets. Boycott all aspects of this team until there are wholesale changes that bring us a winner. This cannot be tolerated any longer. I lived through 1970’s baseball with this team and trust me when I say, we are looking at an even more bleak situation.

Two Takes on the State of the Indians

I will preface this blog by saying myself and my cohort have been loyal Cleveland fans our entire lives, and have reached a breaking point with our beloved Indians.  That being said, venom must be sprayed:

Take #1 (As told through the perspective of George Shihadeh)

As a Clevelander, I crave a championship, but I am relegated to begging for relevance.  We have been on the precipice in recent memory, only to have it stolen away.  The perceived lack of urgency from the Indians front office is a reality that makes my skin crawl.  How can you say we have a window to win, to win big, then sign the following players in free agency:  Casey Kotchman, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Spilborghs, Johnny Damon, and Kevin Slowey?  Then Antonetti and Shapiro have the audacity to sell these players to us as a glimmer of hope? 

In making the Ubaldo trade in 2011, they made the statement that it is now or never.  Never looks to be the reality of the Cleveland Indians, at least with the current regime in place.  There was a lack of urgency that we battled with another team who’s stadium rests majestically on the shores of our Great lake.  The team is on the verge of being sold, and it immediately becomes an all out blitz by the front office to win, and win now. 

All I ask for is urgency, and no more excuses.  The Cleveland Indians: What if?   What if the front office put as much effort into making this team a winner, as the fans pour their passion into it every year? 

When the standard of excellence becomes a 3rd place finish in the division, someone must be held accountable.  The issue with the current Indians regime is that there is no pressure on the big three (Antonetti, Shapiro, Dolan) to answer to the fans.  There must be more than Bobby DiBiaso coming out and selling ticket plans and fireworks shows to us.  It’s as if they aim to appease us with smoke and mirrors, with the team hiding in the background. 

Take #2 (As told through the perspective of Jon Shaver)

I think I’m done…as done as any Indians fan can ever be. More times than I care to admit, I have imagined myself a sad but regular client of the domination dungeon operated by whomever happens to own the Cleveland Indians. I don’t want to go back but I have no control over myself. I like the beatings, I think. It’s an expensive habit, and believe me, Larry Dolan does not look good in studded leather.

A masochist, that’s what I am. For 40 years they’ve done nothing but beat me into submission. I have the emotional scars of Larry Dolan’s whip, of Gabe Paul’s rubber ball shoved in my mouth. Phil Seghi put me on the rack and left me there to die and yet I keep coming back for more.

This time, 2012, will be the last time, at least for a long time, that I will darken the door of Progressive Field.  That I will dial into WTAM or watch STO. I am picking my dignity up off the floor and moving on to better pursuits.

Last year, we were told, that the time was right for the Indians to make a move, to stake out their place in the playoffs. They told us that the window would only be open for a short time and that by swapping two of our best prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, we would be adding a front of the rotation pitcher in Ubaldo Jiminez. I remember thinking to myself, “why would the Rockies be willing to trade a front line starter with 2 years left on a reasonable contract for two virtual unknowns.” My masochist induced denial would not allow for an answer. Truth be told, Jiminez was damaged goods from the start and I soon began to realize that we had been taken once again. Don’t get me wrong, Ubaldo has magnificent talent but he is an emotional mess and will never be able to harness the willpower to overcome his weakness. That is why the Rockies dumped him, plain and simple. He was beyond fixing.

Fast forward to 2012, the Indians, you will remember, told us that the time was now. They put this into motion with Ubaldo and we all expected that the building process would continue over the winter. However, the Winter Meetings brought us only Aaron Cunningham. Who? And over the course of the next three months the Indians would fortify around Ubaldo with:

Ryan Spilborghs, Kevin Slowey, Derek Lowe (actually was traded for in 2011), Casey Kotchman, Dan Wheeler, Johnny Damon, Shelly Duncan, Jack Hannahan, and last but not least, Grady Sizemore.

These players, and I use that term lightly, including Aaron Cunningham’s contract, cost the Indians 25 million dollars in 2012 and that only includes the Indians portion of Lowes contract. 25 million dollars!! We have netted less than zero from these stiffs. Say what you will about the gloves of Hannahan and Kotchman but first and third base are positions of power in major league baseball and these two have managed to barely hit ten homeruns between them and struggled to stay above .200 in batting average. Whatever argument you put up, you’re wrong. They’re just awful.

By comparison, the contracts that the Indians insisted were too rich for their anemic blood, Carlos Beltran and Josh Willingham are 13 million and 7 million respectfully, annually. So, in effect, for five million dollars less per year, we could have had the two top run producers in both leagues on this team for the money we spent on the pack of jackasses listed above.

Blame Larry Dolan for being cheap if you want to but he gave Chris Antonetti 25 million dollars to spend and he went out and bought somebody’s garbage. This screams for some answers from the Tribe’s front men. They owe us some answers and they owe them now.