Monday, July 7, 2008

Prince Fielder Acquires Cheese-Eating Partner

By Tony Mazur

We only knew it would be a matter of time.

C.C. Sabathia's tenure in Cleveland is over. After he and Danys Baez became the talk of the minor leagues, C.C. quickly became the ace of the pitching staff. As much as he racked up his share of wins, innings, and strikeouts, he also consumed his share of Dunkin Donuts and Courvoisier. Nonetheless, Sabathia was the lone spark in the rebuilding Cleveland Indians during the Dolan-Shapiro regime. In 2007, C.C. went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA, winning the Cy Young Award and helping the Tribe win their first Central Division title since 2001.

All of that is a memory. A distant one, if that.

Going in to the 2008 baseball season, hopes were high for a few Major League teams, the Indians included. The one difference, however, was offseason acquisitions.

The Cleveland Indians were expected to go far. Well, not by me, nor my fellow FDH colleague, Rick Morris. Both of us said that if this season turned out to be a bust, you must part ways with C.C. Don't just let him go via free agency. But if you're going to trade him, at least get SOMETHING out of the deal.

On July 6th, 2008, the Cleveland Indians sent C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Double-A OF Matt LaPorta and two prospects yet to be named.

This deal sounds eerily familiar.

Oh, that's right. We travel back to 2002. Bartolo Colon was sent to the Montreal Expos for IF/Stiff Lee Stevens, and three prospects named Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore.

Out of all the lies and deceit I've heard from the Indians' organization, this Colon trade still grates on me. First of all, Bartolo Colon was the only ray of sunshine this team had back then and he was traded away. Secondly, I'm STILL hearing about this trade to this day, mainly by fans.

"Well, y'know, if we didn't get rid of Colon, we wouldn't have gotten Grady."

It's rather pathetic that the only instance of competence at the executive level occurred six years ago. And the only reason that deal happened in the first place was because the new regime was cleaning house.

I compare the Dolan-Shapiro dictatorship to that of Clear Channel Communications. As soon as Clear Channel took over the Jacor stations, the monarchy developed. Soon, the programming that was local and entertaining was cut in favor of syndication and voice tracking. Many talented jocks lost their jobs. Why, you may ask? Just to save a few bucks.

Remember when the Indians had Manny Ramirez? Jim Thome? Bartolo Colon? A healthy Juan Gonzalez? Omar Vizquel? How about C.C. Sabathia? What drove these talented players out of Cleveland? The all-mighty dollar.

And don't even get me started on the Curt Schilling fiasco of 1997, and all the other players who refused to come to Cleveland.

The best of luck to C.C. Sabathia. While the Brewers have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs for the first time since 1982, the Indians will be rebuilding. Will 2016 be the year that Cleveland wins its first championship since 1964? Or will we be privy to watching YouTube videos of LeBron James asking Danny Ferry how his a$% tastes?

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