With all do respect to Cleveland sports fans, I think this has to be one of the worst weeks of sports in recent memory. Soak this in:
First, you have Brandon Weeden getting caught underneath the American flag prior to opening kickoff. I love the top comment on this video- “He should have stayed under there for at least another 3 hours.” I second this statement.
Then, you have the Browns defense almost beating the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday…
…That is except the Browns offense gave it away with a plethora of turnovers.
Tonight, the Indians were able to somehow muster 4 runs of offense, yet they lose 6-4.
…Oh, and 3 of those runs were unearned, as Russ Canzler could not come up with a catch to begin the second inning.
Just another week in Believeland, right?
In reference to the title of tonight’s post, the Cleveland Indians are just 15-42 in the second half. That is a .263 winning percentage, which basically means that 7 of Texas’s starting 9 in tonight’s game have a better chance to get a hit than the Indians do to win a game. Wrap your mind around that!
Let me be clear, that this is not some sort of a “rage” post centered on the Indians inability to be self-accountable and admit that they have led to their own demise. This is a post to ask, “What the hell happened, and why has it became this bad?” Had this season gone as last, I may not find myself as angry as I do right now. Despite falling out of the race in the 2nd half of last season, it seemed as though the Indians attempted to remain competitive (Jimenez trade) while eventually falling back down to earth. This year? The team has stopped hearing Manny Acta, and has quit. They look as though they are nothing more than a group of guys throwing their gloves out on the field, expecting something to happen.
Despite this being clearly visible to analysts (Rick Manning and Matt Underwood have mentioned the word “quit” numerous times over the past couple of weeks while doing the telecasts) and average baseball fans alike, the Dolan’s have still not have pulled the plug on this thing. Instead of making a change, the ownership has allowed this to become a spectacle, a sort of laughingstock among the other teams in the league. An honest question to any Indians fan out there: When does this stop? When is it too much to handle?
To me, its now. I have enjoyed the opportunity of attending several games this season, and despite being a huge baseball fan, I have noticed my overall fun and enjoyment has declined in a linear fashion as the season has progressed. At the beginning of the season, the Indians were playing well, and although there was just a small crowd the games were fun and the fans were lively. As the team began its current horrendous slide, I began to notice that the fans stopped coming; however, the worst part was largely the fans that DID COME to the game. They acted as though the team was going to turn around, and things were going to be okay.
They cheered for Shelly Duncan despite his consistent misplay of flyballs and constant strikeouts. They jeered when Brent Lillibridge was in the lineup, shouting “BRIDGGGGGGGGGGGGGE” when he would come up to bat. They even clap for Matt LaPorta’s strikeouts (No lie, the last game I attended featured a man sitting behind me, saying “Ah, Matt, its okay. You’ll get it next time.” Was it his dad? The world may never know).
After all of this, I vowed to not attend another game this season. Supporting all of the failure was just too much for me. I have no problem with losing, but its how the Indians have lost this second half. Where is the accountability? Who is coming forward saying “Hey, it’s my fault.”?
To me, building a franchise from the ground up begins with having a strong owner and front office. After all, in order to build a team, you need people who are able to make quick, educated decisions on player personnel. It is important to have guys who can tell when it is the right time to fire a manager who is not being heard, and when it is the proper time to release a struggling veteran. Right now, the Indians do not have anyone in their organization (ownership or management) who is capable of making those decisions. Until someone enters the organization (someone buys the team; new GM), this ball will continue to roll downhill.
I am by no means saying that people should NOT attend Indians games. I am simply trying to get a point across: When a team struggles extensively, something needs to change. Whether it is the ownership, front office, manager, or players, one or more of those things need tinkered with to achieve a more positive result.
When a fan base can understand that, change typically happens. Take the Browns fans for example. They love the team, yet boo the heck out of the players who are constantly whizzing themselves on the field. What happens when the Browns play bad? Well, a coach is fired, or there is a change at the starting quarterback. Does it work any better? Most of the time it does not, but it is better to try and fix it if it is broke, don’t you think?
I find it odd that Indians fans do not take this stance more often. As an Indians fan, make your voice heard. I am not saying that you should be a rude fan, but if you are unhappy with how the Indians have played, show them somehow (my favorite fans are the “bags over their head” guys). Despite what everyone thinks, not going to the games is not doing enough to let the management know that this is unacceptable.
Which brings me to the whole point of my piece. Despite how terrible the Browns have played…I am willing to bet that the Browns will make the playoffs before the Indians will. Yeah, I just said that a team with a rookie QB/RB combo will make it to the postseason before a team coached by Manny Acta will. Bold statement, I know.