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What needed to be said.

Terry Pluto is the only area columnist who I could imagine writing this:

Did the Indians win 93 or 39 games last season?

That question is asked because it seems fans are the most angry at the Tribe, compared to the other two Cleveland franchises.

Perhaps it is that fans have come to expect so much from the Indians and so little from the city's other two franchises, but to me it's the team's owners who seem to have become the bogeyman responsible for everything from the impending departure of Kevin Millwood to the record December snow totals (I'm kidding about that last part).

Sometimes, honesty gets you in trouble with fans, and the Dolans and General Manager Mark Shapiro have, generally, been straight. In 2002, they announced that they were ripping up the team with the plan to contend again in 2005. That happened, despite having one of baseball's lowest payrolls.

Jay's covered this point before; the Indians were able to contend while having a small payroll because they had a lot of players with little service time. The payroll will probably increase $7-8M each year for the next couple of years as the core players reach arbitration status. If attendance goes back to near 90s-levels, $70-80M payrolls aren't out of the realm of possibility.

The Indians remain the local franchise closest to serious contention, despite their obvious limitations. They still have some money to spend, some prospects to trade, some capacity to make a move before the season. In baseball, shopping season doesn't end at Christmas.

It's no fun being a fan of a good small-market team, because there's rarely a high-exposure signing, and if they make a good signing, no one notices it until the season starts. But foremost I want my teams to win; how they do it is just window dressing.

At the other end of the spectrum, I'm glad to see that Roger Brown has finally received the national exposure he's richly deserved. He's the subject of Deadspin's ongoing series "Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks." My question to Deadspin is this: why the hell did it take so long?