The Indians ended the 2012 season tonight the same way they ended the first and 93 other games this year, with a Big L. Some of the players might have changed since the beginning of the season, but the song remains the same, and that’s no way to say goodbye. The once mighty Travis Hafner had what will likely be his last dance in an Indians uniform, going 1-3 with a strikeout and leaving 2 men on base. Like most games this year, every time the Indians tried to fire it up, they fell to pieces. The White Sox, on the other hand, hit it. They smacked 5 home runs off Indians pitchers (Dan Johnson had 3 all by himself). The end result was a 9-0 rout to end the season, and I’m left seeing how many pop culture allusions I can fit into a game recap because it somehow makes writing about the loss a bit less painful.
Like most fans, I have a lot of questions about what went wrong this season and what the front office will do during the off-season to improve the team. I’m still wondering why the Indians chose to fire Manny Acta with only six games left in the season. If they didn’t fire him after the Awful August, why not let him finish out the season? It’s one of many decisions that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and has slowly eroded my confidence in the front office.
I’ve been to two Indians-sponsored events this year at which Mark Shapiro spoke and took questions. I honestly like the guy. And I like that the organization has been making an effort to reach out to fans through social media and put in more value-priced food options and ticket plans. They’ve been generous and proactive in trying to keep fans from abandoning the team, and I’m appreciative of that. The thing is, the performance of the team you put on the field is what will ultimately keep fans coming to the ballpark, buying Indians gear, and watching/listening to games. Everything else is just window dressing.
The fact that Sandy Alomar and Terry Francona are the top two candidates for the manager position (at least the top two that the Indians are acknowledging publicly at this point) is at least one small step in the right direction. Of course, the front office could surprise us and hire someone whom they haven’t yet mentioned publicly. So even though they have two fabulous candidates, they could still screw this up. And even if they do hire two-time World Series manager Terry Francona, no manager can field a winning team if it lacks a first baseman and a left fielder and starting pitching.
Tonight’s game and the season and all its frustrations are over. On with the search.