Indians fans are odd birds. We complain and gripe about the team even as we bleed red, blue, and white. And we talk about the team. And  talk. And talk. These findings are the result of more than 35 years of field research.  I’ve crunched the numbers to determine what we talk about when we talk Tribe. One of the interesting findings of this research is that these percentages hold up year after year, regardless of the team’s actual won-loss percentage.

There are 15 topics that were statistically significant. While this appears to be a comparatively large number (for example, Yankee fans have only three topics–”Why the Yankees will win the World Series this year,” “Why haven’t the Yankees won a World Series in X years?,” and “How great Derek Jeter is”), the preponderance of discussions that focus on team history are slightly higher than comparable breakdowns for other MLB teams. However, the lack of optimism reflected in the discussion topics is consistent among small market teams.

The percentage breakdown of topics about which Indians fans talk is as follows:

How awesome they are this year — 14%
How horrible they are this year — 14%
Actual discussion of the most recent game — 11%
Speculating whether you’ll ever see a World Series win in your lifetime — 9%
Griping about past trades — 9%
How great that ’95 team was — 9%*
How much they stank during your childhood — 8%
Possible scenarios that would get them to win the division — 7%
Griping about the ownership — 6%
What would have happened if we had signed ______________ — 4%
Why we should trade ____________ — 4%
How great Bob Feller was — 2%
How much you hate Jose Mesa for blowing Game 7 — 1%**
Is there anybody in AAA they could call up? — 1%
Why the Indians are cursed — 1%***
*Note: Prior to 1995, this topic was evenly divided between “How great Rocky Colavito was and did you ever see him play in person?” and “Were you around to see the 1954 pennant team?”

**Note: Prior to 1997, this topic was “What a jerk Pete Rose was for ruining Ray Fosse’s career.”

***Note: This topic is a statistical anomaly. Actual discussion of the Indians being cursed invariably leads directly to discussion of why all Cleveland sports are cursed and why it sucks so bad to be a Cleveland sports fan, both topics that are beyond the scope of this study.

6 Comments

  • Kendall says:

    After getting over the 2007 ALCS, which led me to not talking to my father for at least 2 months, that moment is a popular Tribe conversation topic for the padre and I. Especially when you look at the way the BoSox took care of the Rockies. ’97 I cried. I was wee little lad who had no concept of the Tribe being able to lose… It just didn’t make sense back then that all of those horror stories my Dad would tell me about how bad the Tribe were in his youth could come to actual fruition in my lifetime.

  • Kevin Urbanek says:

    Interesting. I too was crushed by the end of 2007. But I was happy to get so excited about baseball again… I thought maybe that was gone with my youth.
    No one talking about the red ball caps? Is that last year’s news? Last year’s team was so fun to watch that I happily bought one.
    I would be happy to discuss the recent game, except they were blacked out on tv and mlb.tv… sto had lacrosse on. Lacrosse? Go Tribe!

  • John-Ryan Dobbs says:

    Were Doomed.

  • John-Ryan Dobbs says:

    I’m just kidding, But I will say, as a 29 year old Cleveland sports fan with a meager 401(K) existing of just over $6,000, The day the Browns, Tribe, Or Cavs make it back to glory, I will drain it in a heartbeat, just to be there.

  • Brian Munch says:

    The fact that as much as 1% of conversation about the Indians (and all of Cleveland sports) stems around a curse – a curse that isn’t there – scares me. Take a look at Boston, and their ludicrously famous “Curse of the Bambino.” They didn’t do anything to break any curse. Management and the owner adopted a system, stuck with it, and it ended up paying off. The curse didn’t end. They just stopped sucking.

    Losers make excuses. Step one to get Cleveland back on the map, sports wise and as a city, is to stop making excuses.

  • KP Stray says:

    Seriously though, the ’95 Tribe was not just good, they were fun to watch. Just think of how many bubble gum bubbles ended up on hats, the Tony Pena playoff home run trot (arms raised with a huge smile on his face), “The Flex”. You could tell they really enjoyed playing the game that year. I see a similar emotional spark in this year’s team.