The Tribe did it again last night as they pulled victory from the jaws of defeat through persistence, solid bullpen work, and surviving a Wickman 9th. My buddy Dozer, who was among the 17,000 actually in attendance (his estimate, not mine), said that the standing ovation that the team received after coming back to take the lead in the 1st was like nothing he's ever seen at the Jake. This from a guy who STILL wears a Thome jersey regularly and has Chief Wahoo on his ankle. It must have been a pretty special moment, which could've been more special if more than 20,000, much less 40,000, people were there.
I'm not going to harp on attendance much more, but please don't ever tell me that Cleveland is a baseball town and that 455 consecutive sell-outs proves anything. I remember mocking Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and (particularly) Atlanta for not selling out playoff games, thinking, "How could people be that nonchalent about an exciting baseball team". Well, it's happening here, so let's hope that the Jake is filled if the Tribe makes the playoffs in 2005.
With Katrina dumping water on the North Coast and Tuesday's game cancelled (with Wednesday's game very much in question), I thought that I'd share a letter written to Bud Shaw, in response to his column in Tuesday's PD. The letter was written by serial poster Cy Slapnicka and articulates many of the issues that I'm having with the support that this team is receiving, both from the fans and the local media.
After reading your column today, I have a question. How was it a throwback night? Was it because they came from behind to win or was it because they won based on runs and not pitching?
This team is completely different than the 1995 Indians. They embody the word team. They are well rounded and seem like quality people. While they have taken some time to gel, the result is far supierior to that of the late 90's Indians. Not to take anything away from that team, as I still fondly remember that summer working as an usher at games and watching them hit the cover off the ball. However, that is the past and I've moved on to the new team. The Kool-Aid Shapiro is serving tastes like wine.
I find it a lot more fun to watch Grady evolve into one of the best players in the AL. Jhonny Peralta has shed Omar's shadow and become his own brand of SS. The class clown Hafner brings a constant threat to the plate and a smile to everyone's face. Boone's bat has reappeared to complement his glove and leadership. And of course, there is the pitching. Bob Wickman wears his heart on his sleeve and as Joe Ladd (wickman's warriors) said in an ESPN article, "He looks like he's from my neighborhood." Kevin Millwood has shown this staff what veteran leadership is, both in the clubhouse and on the mound.
I am tired of Cleveland media comparing this team to the team of the late 90's. Can we just embrace this team as its own and get over 1995? What is not to like? Yes there are flaws, but the Indians of 1995 had theirs as well. And why hasn't the media questioned the faith Indians fans? Where have they gone? Is it because the novelty of the Jake has worn off? Did we ever have that many fans or was it just the thing to
do at the time? Its obviously not good baseball that will lure them to the park.
How can the PD not be interested in this? If attendance at Browns games dropped off to 30,000 a game (their play warrants it), I can only imagine the media uproar. Especially if that continued even after they started winning. I am not sure if you or anyone at the PD will respond to this (I've grown used to responses from Beacon Journal writers). But I'd be very interested to hear why you aren't writing about some of these things.
Why isn't this a big deal and why are there only fluff pieces on this? Lets face it, the Indians are a good baseball team and are contenders, yet the fans refuse to come. That's not worth writing about?
Well said. I'll let you know if he gets a response.
Rumor has it that Todd Walker may be coming to town, which is fine with me as an extra bat off of the bench and glove in the field.
While most are excited that Walker can also play 1B, did you realize that Broussard, after a hot stretch, now has the 9th best OPS for 1B in the AL, ahead of Morneau, Millar, Erstad, and Hatteberg? The position is certainly in line for an upgrade next year, but let's remember that when Benny gets hot, he adds another run-producing bat to an increasingly potent lineup.
Wednesday is the last day that the deal can go down though. With the second trade deadline on Wednesday and rosters expanding on Thursday, how could you not love this game?
I'll work in the "building through FA" vs. "building from within" soon.