Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Buy Or Sell: The Cleveland Indians

Simple Jack loves The Thirsty Parrot.  GET IT?  Wocka wocka!
In case you are a West Virginia alumnus and thus can not read a calendar, we are now currently in the month of May. In the sporting landscape, it is an average month as football provides us with very little and that counterbalances the basketball and hockey playoffs. On the diamond, this time of year provides us with enough of a sample set where we can begin to fairly judge all teams. It’s really easy to say that the Orioles will never be able to keep this up and that one day soon the Tigers will stop getting embarrassed by the Mariners. But one of the more pleasant (at least for a few) surprises so far is that the Cleveland Indians are in first place. Just like they were last year at this time…and that didn’t last for long.

Much to Iceman’s eventual delight, it seems like the spirits of Indians fans have never been higher. Facebook is being peppered heavily every night with meaningless pro-Tribe babble. And that’s great and all because it exposes two main character flaws: you idiots overreact to everything and you learned nothing from last year’s embarrassing fade. But let’s be fair. Last year, I did this exact same post around the time that Believeland had the best record in baseball while almost 7000 fans were pouring into Progressive Field to support them with silence and drum beats every night. I determined then that it wasn’t going to last and it did not. Let’s investigate this franchise again this time around to see if things have changed and if they are in it for the long haul.

GOOD! They can hit which blows up my preseason prediction that they wouldn’t be able to. At least so far they can but then again…
BAD! I think I read somewhere that no one had an easier schedule in April. Beating up on the Royals, A’s, and Mariners is something that you HAVE to do to stick around, but it should not be over-valued or taken as a harbinger of continued good play.

GOOD! The starting pitching, outside of Ubaldo, has been consistently ELITE! They have gotten surprisingly good production from the Derek Lowe’s and Jeanmar’s of the world.
BAD! You got Derek Lowe on the cheap for a reason. He’s about to get bombed and Josh Tomlin is awful.

GOOD! Jason Kipnis appears to be coming into his own as a player.
BAD! Casey Kotchman is terrible as most grown men named Casey tend to be. Also BAD, Jack Hannahan. I like to think that you all know that he blows so you are just enjoying his hot streak while it lasts.

GOOD! The bullpen is filled with a bunch of no-namers but they are pretty effective. After a shaky start, Chris Perez (I’m not calling him by whatever dumbass nickname that he is going by) appears to have his velocity back.
BAD! Depth; which is ironically a word that Clark Kellogg says correctly. They can’t afford any injuries in the lineup or any more Venezuelan grandpa deaths. It’s already bad enough that Travis Hafner is about to go down for the year as is tradition; you need to stay off the DL. More Aaron Cunningham = more losses.

GOOD! Manny Acta is a pretty awesome manager. It is probably because he looks like Snoad without the jaw crackin’.
BAD! The fans. They are embarrassing. What is the point of these “businessman special” noon games when you aren’t even drawing 5K to them (at least you break five figures at night)? On Monday, Hafner hit a homer into the RF bleachers and there were about 6 people in the section and it took the nearest fan 8 minutes to find the ball. That is shitty. I made a claim awhile back that the Cavs had long since passed the Indians as the #2 team in the city and I stand by that. People want to watch the Cavs. They CLEARLY do not want to watch the Indians in person (other than Seal of course). Sorry, folks, but even a pretty good Indians team can’t outdraw a basketball team that has finished the last two seasons as the second worst and third worst team in the NBA. There is no excuse for these horrendous attendances. Don't hide behind the economy.  There are millions of people that live within an hour of that stadium and Cleveland is a good sports city.  That is pathetic.

So what do I think of this team? Taking two out of three from Texas was pretty damn impressive and shows me that this team could be in it all year. Also, I would like to see what they do against the White Trash in a series before I crown their asses as contenders. The AL is a really deep league and the Indians have not been tested very much through 6 weeks. Obviously that will change soon enough.

Verdict! Nah, I’m not buying it. They hang around until late July but play the last two months in relative obscurity. Don’t worry about them, no one cares anyway. I would instruct Indians fans to not get their hopes up (again), but it’s too much fun to watch them get depressed and angry. Basically, the baseball season is so long that it is really hard to fluke your way through it. If the Indians want to win the Central, they would have to defy those odds. I’ll take my chances betting on them to fold.

28 comments:

Grumpy said...

As someone here so eloquently put it, nobody cares about baseball until July/August.

GMoney said...

Don't tell that to Indians fans...

MUDawgfan said...

Interesting that Cleveland doesn't get behind the Tribe (even in younger, rebuilding years) but practically throws their wallets at Browns management for the chance to get into any regular season game.

Makes no sense, to the outsider the Browns deserve more scorn than the Tribe.

Anonymous said...

Anybody that is BUYING this should be put down.

--Drew

GMoney said...

Dawg, glad that you chimed in today. Off topic but I was watching the end of the Hawks game last night and just kept coming up with the same thoughts:

*Jos Johnson is awful
*Josh Smith is the dumbest player in the league
*Their utilization of the LeBron offense over the last 5 minutes was hilarious. That offense hardly ever works.

Drew, did you guys finally get one over on those pesky Mariners last night???

Anonymous said...

No real issue with what you said, but one thing that will keep them around longer is the division they play in. The Royals, Twins and White Sox are among the 3 worst teams in baseball.

Dawg hit in on the head. The Browns have been a joke for the last 20 plus years and yet people blindly support them to no end. The Indians have been far from a model franchise, but they have been at least respectable at times during the last ten years. Idiot fans say they will start going to games when ownership spends money. How the fuck is ownership supposed to spend money when the fans show up to the tune of about 10,000 per night? You have an exciting young team. Show the fuck up!

-Damman

MUDawgfan said...

G$ - At this point I don't know what the issues are.
I thought getting rid of Mike Woodson would fix things - but not really.

The team just doesnt move on offense. No back picks, no guard loops, nothing.

If they don't force turnovers on defense, they will struggle to win.

Anonymous said...

G$...The Mariners did indeed get hit with the Detroit dick last night.

The Browns attendance/season ticket sales have not been as good the last few years as you guys are making it to be. They definitely aren't selling out every game. ESPN shows their attendance at an average of 90% last year....and that's only tickets distributed...can be unpaid as well. Their season ticket numbers are also only around 50,000 which is well below being in the low 60's as recently as 2008.

Seal...I see the NCAA is paying visits to the Northeast to investigate Cal's top recruit Nerlens Noel.

--Drew

Prime99 said...

Good for the Tribe. I'm not buying that this can last all year, but I'm ok with them doing well. Since I have no Indians on my fantasy team, I have very little knowledge to contribute on this subject...

G$-How about Bryan LaHair?! Cubs are terrible but that hits bombs almost daily.

GMoney said...

Prime, that is why I picked LaHair Of The Dog to win the NL ROY! HE SICK! I waiver wired Jeff Samarja (don't care). ELITE pick-up so far!

The Indians have the worst attendance in baseball and have been near the bottom for the last five years. I found this amazing...the Phillies average 30 THOUSAND more people per game than the Tribe does and the Indians are better. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Mike and Mike threw out the first pitch last night. Nobody would want to be in the same building as them.

Drew, most people in Cleveland would rather talk about the Browns 6th round pick than the Indians being off to a hot start. That's what pisses me off. I love the Browns too but they continually churn out a shit product that for some reason people can't get enough of it. I know Cleveland is a Browns town and that is never going to change, but give the Indians some love for christ sake.

-Damman

Anonymous said...

And going to baseball games is one my favorite things to do. The Indians are practically begging fans to come with their cheap ticket offers that the adorable Katie Witham tells us about every night. I just don't get it.

-Damman

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with most of your post (surprisingly), except the Hanahan line. The only reason i think he may have a decent season and it isnt a fluke is because he has been hitting great with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Lucky hitters dont always get lucky with 2 outs when it matters.

It is a fucking joke that this city cant bring in more than 10K fans a night. We held the fucking record for most consecutive sell-outs!

Damman makes a great point that outside of the Tigers our division is terrible, so I do see the Indians staying in the race for most of the year. As long as the pitching stays healthy and keeps doing what its doing, we will be in it.

Drew - did you read the article? It's also funny that you point that out when you are a fan of the most corrupt college football program in the country.

Seal

GMoney said...

Lucky hitters dont always get lucky with 2 outs when it matters.

That pretty much DEFINES luck though. It isn't something that can be maintained ever. It is a fluky stat. It's why sometimes Jhonny Peralta's cheap bloop hits down the RF line fall but most of the time they get caught or land foul. Jhonny Peralta sucks is what I'm trying to say.

And you know better, the first time that Hannahan has a one hit week, Chisenhall will be up.

One more pile on about how terrible Indians fans are. You can get into that place for ten bucks. Don't tell me about the economy being bad.

Anonymous said...

You posted this last year and I will say the same thing I said last year; I will start buying into it if the Tribe is still in first place at the all star break. If not, then it is likely just another season as an Indians fan in which half the season is great and the other half is terrible.

-Lil' strut

Anonymous said...

"you are a fan of the most corrupt college football program in the country."

Link?

--Drew

Anonymous said...

One of the "new" loaded hot dogs is the same fucking price as a ticket.

Seal

Anonymous said...

Baseball thread?

Allow me to throw in my customary boast about how awesome I am at fantasy baseball. Averaging 5.5 point victories every week is hard to do, unless you draft like a god.

That is all.

Ide

Brady said...

The attendance has been awful but that will change as school lets out, it starts to warm up some more and the team stays in the thick of it past mid June. These are all definitely excuses but each one does play a factor into why there is an empty ballpark.

I agree that Derek Lowe has pitched past his expectations thus far but why can;t that continue? He is a veteran ground ball pitcher. There is no reason he cant get 11-14 wins this year as long as the team hits behind him.

Kotchman is an awful player... at the plate. I would argue he is the top defensive first baseman in all of baseball. Whatever he doesn't score for the team while hitting, he makes up for with his leather at first. If he can get his average around .240 or so I can live with it.

The schedule has been pretty tame to start the year but you have to take care of the teams across the diamond from you. Taking 2 of 3 from anybody in the majors is impressive. The Rangers series was awesome and the Indians have a chance to take 3 of 4 from Sox tonight. Those are more impressive than the Mariners (LOL Tiger fan) and A's for sure.

Overall, I have been sucked into the season way too early again but I really don't know any other way. Every day you spend in first place is a good day. There will definitely be some slumps and losing streaks to come but I think the Tribe has a shot to hang around this year. Yes the same thing happened last season but all of these young guys have another year under their belt and know they belong in the show. We will see.

GMoney said...

Brady, "school" is not a NE Ohio exclusive issue. They have those everywhere now! And no, it will not do much to boost anything as the past 5 years have proven.

My point about Lowe is that he isn't that good anymore. He's going to start needing 5-6 runs from the offense.

If you want to contend, first base can not be an offensive hole. And if it is (like Mark Teixeira), he better hit 40 homers to go with that .240 average.

Ide, I have not won yet (0-5!!!). I blame Heaff Bell. Now that he has been benched forever, my team will be reaching to the sky for the Ho-zone layer!

GMoney said...

No Iceman pop-in today? I thought that he loved taking shots at Indians fans?

Anonymous said...

In 2007 when the Indians went to the ALCS they ranked 22nd in attendance. Its not going to get much better this year. Summer or Spring, school out or in.

-Damman

Brady said...

The number of true baseball fans in and around Cleveland doesn't compete with the NY's and Philly's of the world. Back when the Tribe was selling out 400+ games in a row it had alot to do with Corporate sponsors and the Cleveland upper class (is there such a thing anymore) going because it was the place to be. Plus, the Browns had been shipped off to Baltimore for much of that run. Those days are long gone. It's going to take a serious run at the division to wake up the locals. It's sad but true.

I get what your saying about first base but the Indians don't have the traditional "power postions" that most teams do. We get our HR's from C, SS and 2B. Kotchman definitely needs to wake up his bat but you can't ignore the defense he brings to the table.

Lowe may or may not tank mid-summer but he is a better option than anything the Tribe has in Columbus right now. McCallister and Huff don't really move the needle much for me. I think it was a great signing considering the cirumstances (Carmona err Hernandez).

GMoney said...

My point is that first basemen need to be more than gloves if you have the desire to compete. You have 5 homers (at least I think Kipnis only has 5) from 2B and probably less from short so don't give me that nonsense. It's why teams will always sign guys like Carlos Pena and why teams like the Indians get to sign Kotchman. It's because the good teams with decent pockets will always find better options.

What I'm trying to say here is "BRING BACK PAUL SORRENTO!"

Brady said...

Teams with deeper pockets will always be the contenders in baseball. Until the league implements a salary cap, teams like the Indians have to sign players off the scrap heap. All I'm saying is that Kotchman is semi-valuable because of his defense. Do we need more production from the corners? Fuck yeah we do! I'm just not going to give up on Kotchman just yet.

Maybe the Indians have found the right combination of guys and can get a little luck this season. There is another Wild Card spot to be had so you never know. The stars have to align for teams like us to get in the playoffs. We can't just buy our way out of trouble every year.

Brady said...

"cheap ticket offers that the adorable Katie Witham tells us about every night"

She reminds me of the Festivus episode where Jerry can only date that chick in the coffee shop because of her two-face. Katie will look super hot in one shot and then look average in the next. I can't decide if she's is kind of cute or hot. Don't get me wrong. I would have sex with her either way. Just curious.

GMoney said...

Matt Underwood looks terrible in every shot.

Anonymous said...

I would say Katie is hot. She is a little to peppy at times though.

Casey Kotchman is a bum. I don't care how good he is on D, you've got to be respectable at the plate as a 1B. He is far from respectable to say the least.

-Damman