I won’t lie. I, along with countless others across Northeast Ohio, have harbored a long-standing grudge with Larry and Paul Dolan, the owner and CEO of the Cleveland Indians, respectively. There were numerous time where we all chimed in on the “Little Fan Larry” quip and how we thought he was cheap.
And let’s not forget how many of us nearly blew our stacks when Paul said on dreary day in Cleveland that the Tribe wasn’t going to be a perennial contender. We’re sure that he gave reasons, but I don’t doubt we tuned it out and went about our ranting.
That statement, if memory serves correct, came after two years in which the Indians traded Cy Young Award winners. Back-to-back. It was the first time in the modern baseball era that this ever happened. Our rage clouded the fact that CC Sabathia was in the final year of his contract and there was no chance he’d resign or that Cliff Lee would also be equally unlikely to sign when his contract up up the subsequent year.
We howled when nothing happened after fast starts in 2010 and 2011 and watched as the Indians collapsed in the latter year. And we were especially unhappy that they trade their top pitching prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, for Ubaldo Jimenez who, like the Tribe in 2012, collapsed as well.
You can see how there could be a little (or a lot) of animosity towards to the Dolans, President Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti. And it translated this year into nobody showing up to Progressive Field.
That’s not to say that nobody was paying attention to the Tribe, mind you. Ratings for game telecasts have been up considerably from the previous year. So you can see that perhaps there was a glimmer of hope that folks would come back to the ballpark.
Well, the Indians are in the playoffs, and the reluctant fans have returned. The one-game Wild Card game was sold out soon after the final out was registered in the regular season.
Does this mean that the fans have taken a hard look and decided to give the front office some forgiveness? For at least one game, that would appear to be the case.
Just remember, fans, that just about everyone from this team is coming back next year, too. Something to think about as you’re crossing the turnstiles on Wednesday.