Friday, September 4, 2009

Indians 'bad,' and that ain't good

I’m not sure what to say anymore. I’ve gotten so many calls and e-mails from people who are Indians fans the past few weeks that I’m utterly exhausted from talking about the team. I never figured out what to tell ’em about an organization that, a good friend said, is as dysfunctional as Ozzy Osbourne or the Addams family.

“I’ll bet Charlie Manual has a big poster of Mark Shapiro in his office with a big Sharpie and draws scars, beards and pirate eye-patches on it,” another friend e-mailed me. “I guess this is Shapiro’s way of saying ‘I’m sorry’ to Manual for the shabby way he treated him in Cleveland. Anyone want any Indians gear for cheap?”

He was talking about the Cliff Lee trade, but he could have been talking about the Victor Martinez trade or the whole mess.

His frustration speaks to what has emerged as the consensus in Cleveland this summer. Everybody who roots for the Tribe is as discouraged and as exasperated about it all as he is. Not much anger in it anymore, because Indians fans like my friend have spent all their anger earlier on a season that has turned into 10-car pileup on Interstate 90.

Fans have been left to listen to the talking heads on radio putting their explanation to what is without explanation. It’s just another season of disappointment in a city that has suffered as much disappointment as any baseball town in America. To call Indians baseball hopeless might overstate matters, but if things aren’t hopeless here, they are on the precipice of it.

I can’t tell people they are wrong to harbor such feelings. I can’t tell them that next season will be better; It probably won’t be. All I can tell them to do is what any consumer should do when a business treats them badly: boycott.

Don’t waste a dime on the Indians, who open a nine-game homestand tonight. Don’t shed a tear for the ballplayers who are left behind to play out a season that means nothing. Talk all you want about playing for pride, but what pride is to be found in playing for an organization that cares so little about winning it can put a Triple-A team on the field and expect to charge big-league prices?

Suckers might be born everyday, as P.T. Barnum once bragged. But even suckers should have their limits, and in Cleveland, they reached those limits in late July after watching Shapiro hold a garage sale for the second time this decade.

With 18 homes games left, what will be worth going to Progressive Field for in the final month that remains in this bad, bad season? Try fireworks and dollar dogs.

  • "The returns so far on the Cliff Lee trade with Philadelphia has left something to be desired," wrote Plain Dealer sportswriter Paul Hoynes after watching right-hander Carlos Carrasco's debut Tuesday night in Detroit. Carrasco, fresh from Triple-A Buffalo, served as batting practice for the Tigers in an outing that showed what he might be able to offer the Tribe down the road.
  • With center fielder Grady Sizemore likely to have his injured left elbow rested, Michael Brantley will get a heavy taste of center field, Anthony Castrovince reports in his blog CastroTurf. The speedy Brantley, a big piece in the CC Sabathia trade with the Brewers last summer, made his debut in Carrasco's start.


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