Thursday, July 30, 2009

Turning in my Indians card...

The Indians traded reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee yesterday to the Philadelphia Phillies. This follows their trade last season of then-reigning Cy Young Award Winner C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee Brewers. (No team in the history of baseball has traded reigning Cy Young Award winners in consecutive seasons.) One conversation that could be had at this point is how the Indians have proven that they cannot keep the superstars that they develop such as Jim Thome, Albert Belle, Bartolo Colon, Sabathia, Lee... even the lesser stars but All-Star caliber players like Sean Casey, Jeremy Burnitz, Richie Sexson were traded to bring hopeful players to the fold. But there is a tangent to this point that

Indians Fan of 2009
I believe is something that all fans of Cleveland Indians baseball need to consider at the start of each season, and this point was made loud and clear with the trading of Cliff Lee.

At owner Paul Dolan's initial press conference, the one at which Dick Jacobs essentially handed over the keys to the Indians to him, Dolan revealed his business-of-baseball philosophy: He indicated that when the fans bought tickets, he would put a winner on the field. This is entirely and completely backwards in the world of professional sports. What Indians fans can expect is this: unless all of the farm-developed talent peaks within the same season at the Major League level and wins the World Series, there will be no baseball championship team in Cleveland any time soon. And even if there is one title, there will not be a hope of a repeat because Dolan will not spend the money to keep the talent around when contract talks arise.

Further, as my barber often reminds me, Dolan said to the media, "I don't want to win just one [World Series], I want to win a string of [World Series]." What an idiot. First of all, a franchise can't win two or more until the franchise wins one. Secondly, what doofus, virgin owner talks about winning multiple championships when the franchise he's purchasing hasn't won anything for generations?

I'm tired of rooting for a perpetual farm franchise for the rest of the league. Dick Jacobs gave us a taste of what spending money on a baseball team could produce, and we got sooooo close ('95, '98). Now we've got a professional baseball team owner who's worried about the bottom line... that's so '80's. We're now in the era of Dan Gilbert, Mark Cuban and Dan Snyder (and I won't even mention John Henry and the Steinbrenner family)... guys who spend money on their team and don't care about the bottom line because either their real jobs make them more money than they know what to do with or their team's TV deal can fund the team without worrying about ticket sales. Larry Dolan just doesn't stack up. And until he sells the team, consider me a baseball fan looking for a team to follow.

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