Terry Pluto, the region's best sportswriter, patiently answers various e-mails concerning why people aren't going to Indians games. The biggest reason seems to be Larry Dolan, which doesn't make much sense to me. The Indians do have one of the smaller payrolls in baseball, yet they're one of the better teams in baseball. So which would you rather have...an owner who spends a lot of money and a team that loses, or an owner who doesn't spend a lot of money and a team who wins?
Of course, Pluto says it much better than I ever could:
It just seems the Indians are delivering on their promise -- they said they'd contend for the playoffs in 2005, and that's what they are doing.
* I like this team. Key players such as Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, Travis Hafner, Coco Crisp, Cliff Lee, Sizemore and others will be around for a few years because of their contract extensions or they simply are not close to free agency. The farm system is healthy. Even if they do lose Millwood, they have other pitchers coming -- and can use his $7 million to sign someone else.
I really don't understand the negativity around a team that could win 90 games.
These arguments are pretty poor excuses for why fans don't show up. Personally, I think it's because fans in Cleveland don't follow baseball to the extent we've been told. In the late 1990s, the Browns were gone and the Indians filled the sports void for many football fans until they returned. The Indians also happened to be in the midst of their best stretch of baseball since the 1950s.
When I go a baseball game, I don't go to support the Dolans or Mark Shapiro: I go because the Indians are playing and I want to watch. I purposely avoid the fireworks and bobblehead dates because I'd rather get better tickets to watch the team than to watch fireworks or get a bobblehead that just gathers dust in my closet.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I think it has to be said: If you won't go to see a winning baseball team, it's not because of the owner or Bob Wickman; it's because you don't want to watch a baseball game. In my lifetime, the Indians have been #1 in Cleveland only when there was nothing else. Now that there are other options, it's easy to see that Cleveland isn't a baseball town like St. Louis or Boston is. Which is fine; but I'd just like for fans to admit that rather than make excuses for it.