This pretty much sums up the bleakness of the Indians and the gaping disconnect between the front office and the wary and distrusting fanbase. Yet it took an odd beacon of light to come shining through to appease the restless souls who spend from April to September living for twenty-seven outs and maybe a big fly or two.
Earlier this week, baseball super-agent Scott Boras clearly went on the offensive and took his bargaining tactics public. In an effort to paint the Indians’ brass as the “bad guys” in the lack of progress in potentially signing or, far more likely, moving current Indian Shin-Soo Choo, Boras went on record about how the team does its business. And he clearly does not believe that they do enough for their players and their fans. While talking to The Plain Dealer’ Paul Hoynes, words were not minced. They were thick, juicy slabs of agitation.
“Choo’s let it be known that he has a desire to win. I think the ownership in Cleveland, foundationally, they’re going to have to illustrate some dynamics with new revenues and where they stand about what they do to show their fan base and their players who they are in competing. That’s a new calling that they are going to have to bring forth to give players, and everybody involved, (an idea) about what their intentions are in their ownership.”
Boom. Whacked. Boras has become the lead pipe and Dolan, Shapiro, and Antonetti are the three knees of Nancy Kerrigan. You’ll have to handstand your way through life over the rest of the winter.
Of course, it’s one thing to hear this sort of thing from Chris Perez; we sort of shrugged it off until he popped off again. No one believes that Boras is a saint either, and the strident nature of his comments could hurt whatever scant possibility of negotiating a long-term deal for Choo. Then again, it’s fair to suggest that Choo has checked out mentally and gave Boras the go-ahead to give his former employers some rotten pie in the face.
Here’s the thing, though. I can’t say that I disagree with him. It’s one thing if a player says certain things, even if it’s ultimately coming from truth. It often sounds misplaced and, well, whiny. (Perez wasn’t exactly timely when he spoke out on a few cases.) But if it’s a voice from a position of power voicing the largely-felt opinion of the paying public, then there is a sizable amount of credence earned.
It isn’t as if we wonder whether or not the Indians could loosen the grip on the pennies they pinch, because we do from time to time. And the spinning comes from both sides; Boras is probably just telling us what we want to hear. But with an uncertain future ahead, it admittedly feels good to be placated and patronized right now. Even when it will invariably end with Boras reverting to his usual Snake-Oil salesman self, plunging a machete in our backs after swinging at the fences for us. At least we got a few days worth of the warm fuzzies.
It’s understandable and completely on-point to note about how defeatist to go into a season expecting the worst so much that you get a bit of a rush from someone verbally fighting for you and the sorry state of the franchise. I’m guilty as charged. In my mind, however, if somebody largely independent of the team doesn’t say it, who will?
Boras has placed the onus on ownership to give us something to hang our ballcaps on. Whether it actually moves the needle is anybody’s guess (probably not, I mean, who am I kidding?). But it’s amazing how a few lines of a quote puts a little gas back in the tank of hope.