Monday, September 29, 2008

Numbers Lie

By Tony Mazur

For those who've heard my voice on the STC/STN airwaves in the past ten months, you've probably listened to my anger towards the Cleveland Indians' organization. With the 2008 season over and done, and the Indians not in the playoffs, I can give my review.

But first, let's translate quotes from some of the media and team personnel (from the 9/29 edition of The Plain Dealer).

Plain Dealer: The Tribe's month-by-month record tells its story -- 13-15 in April, 12-15 in May, 12-16 in June, 10-14 in July, 18-10 in August and 16-11 in September.

Translation: The season was done in May.

Plain Dealer: So do the extended stays on the disabled list by Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook. As well as the trades of CC Sabathia, Paul Byrd, Casey Blake and Jason Michaels.

Translation: Rather than blame the front office for the mediocre season, we'll pretend that, if the trades and injuries never occurred, WE'D be in the playoffs instead of Minnesota/Chicago.

Eric Wedge: We had a lot of holes to fill.

Translation: We needed to find SOME way to put Andy Marte in the starting lineup.

Plain Dealer: They had to go 44-28 the rest of the way to break even.

Translation: The rest of the teams really had nothing to play for.

Eric Wedge: I'm proud of these guys. They could have made excuses, but they never did.

Translation: If it weren't for the Cleveland Indians, these guys would be flipping burgers at Hardee's.

Jamey Carroll: We had to overcome a lot. There were a lot of expectations on this club coming out of spring training. Then we lost Vic, Hafner, Fausto and Westbrook. Guys tried to step in and replace those guys and tried to do a little too much.

Translation: This team was so desperate for "veteran leadership" that they traded for me.

Plain Dealer: Bryan Bullington (0-2, 4.91) started Sunday's game in place of Cliff Lee. The Cy Young favorite couldn't pitch because of a stiff neck, but he's expected to be back at full health in spring training.

Translation: Cliff Lee sat out of Sunday's game because the Tribe's lackluster offense would possibly hurt his chances at winning the Cy Young Award.

The only words you'll read from the media about the Tribe is how they turned it around in the second half of the season. In August and September, the Indians were 34-21, a very respectable record. However, because that kind of record was not posted in the first four months of the contest, nobody gave a rat's rump.

This season for the Indians and the fans was painful. Sure, it gave Ben Francisco, Shin Soo Choo, and Kelly Shoppach the opportunity to hone their skills, but that shouldn't have been. Remember, this was the team that won the AL Central and took the eventual World Series-winning Boston Red Sox to seven games of the ALCS. Or was it?

Injuries played a factor for the Tribe, but that shouldn't be an excuse. Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez collectively hit 7 home runs and 69 RBIs in 464 at-bats. Yes, they may have been injured, but they weren't playing very well before they went down. "But Tony, what if their injuries were affecting their game before they went on the disabled list?" Well, then they shouldn't have let their team down. The same goes for Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona. They both sign big contracts, and spend the majority of it on the DL. See you next August, Jake.

Trading Sabathia was smart, but a little too late. I hear good things about Matt LaPorta, but in reality, the Indians let go of CC for some magic beans. The Brewers traded an unproven prospect for a Cy Young Award-winner. Now the Brew Crew is in the playoffs, and the Indians are at Hopkins International Airport, waiting on the next red eye home.

They also had to trade Paul Byrd and Casey Blake. Again, the Indians could have gotten a little more out of the deals, but it's been like this since 2002.

81-81 looks like a respectable record, but we saw how fraudulent this team is. That's what they get for attempting to pass David Dellucci off as a starting outfielder. After the Detroit Tigers spent a ton of money and choked in the regular season, don't expect the Dolan-Shapiro tandem to pull off a blockbuster move in 2009. Go Cavs.

1 comment:

Rick Morris said...


Here we go again. Every year, the front office drums up justifications for not getting serious about importing outside talent to try to make a run the next year. Last year, it was the "Why would you want to tinker with a team that won 96 games?" gaga, notwithstanding the fact that it was obvious that you couldn't count on so many things going right two years in a row. This year, it'll be "Look at how great we played when we finally got healthy. And that was without Byrd, Blake and CC!"

All the front office needs to do each year is get enough suckers to keep forking over the dough so that the status quo of dangling future success in front of us while not doing anything serious right now can continue. The Ponzi Scheme that this front office calls a plan has been going since the 2002 season, and still these credulous yahoos keep eating it up; fortunately, the number of suckers seems to be declining based on the whining we've heard from the front office about how the turnstiles weren't clicking enough to see this putrid display this year.

The Dolan plan to keep perpetually getting over on the fans depends on having propaganda shillmeisters out their to do their dirty work to persuade just enough rose-colored-glasses-jerkoffs that good times are right around the corner. Enter DiaTribe, Swerbs Blurbs and the Swerbs Blurbs boards, where a constant Kool-Aid refrain of how this front office is miraculously going to create a World Series winner with a bottom-tier payroll keeps circulating year after year regardless of the facts at hand.

In this climate, near-misses like the one we saw last year are actually extremely harmful to the progress of this team, because they buy time for this cynical bunch to keep perpetuating business as usual. As such, we get further and further from the happy day when this crowd either realizes you've got to spend (some) money to make money or sells the team. We should be so lucky with the latter scenario; they're pocketing way too much hellajack on STO to shut down their gravy train.

I don't ever want to hear any fan from any other city whine about anything ever again. Nothing is worse than what we keep continually getting subjected to in Cleveland decade after decade. At least #23, Mo and Boobie give us some sliver of hope, though. Go Cavs!