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2002/06/12

incidentally, it has been the ohio bureau of tribescribe that has criticized the approach of owner dolan and general managers hart and shapiro most vociferously in their contention that a team built like the current model indians can win a championship, even if that criticism has been in private. almost as important, though, is the fact that the fans will not turn out to see those teams. and why should they, frankly? if ownership is not interested in investing appropriately – whether those investments should be made in the minor leagues or in the free agent market is a subject we ought to consider – why should fans be forced to pay to see unwatchable baseball? not that i didn’t love those teams of jorge orta, rick manning and – tribescribe/ohio’s all-time favorite – mike hargrove, and i did go to see those teams at the old stadium, but not nearly as frequently as i have made the trip in the recent past since the resurgence of the franchise. the fact that they were winning was why i was doubly excited. the way they won was the reason, i believe, that the indians led the league in licensed product sales for a few years in the mid nineties. they captured the imagination of fans everywhere by bludgeoning their opponents and having baseball’s best pitching staff – especially the relief corps – making game scores lopsided and laughable. it may have just been the novelty of chief wahoo becoming recognizable again to lay-enthusiasts, but there is a connection to the make-up of those teams (all-star at every position, offensive powerhouse) and the financial success of the indians. so, i throw my hat in the ring and add my assent to your assertion that the “little ball” offensive style is offensive. but i must point out that a team must have someone who can slap the ball around a little bit. earlier this season, after the great 11-1 start, the indians seemingly needed someone just to make contact, and we weren’t getting much. this is probably a perceived thing – it may be that i was just tired of seeing branyan striking out with runners on, and knew that the opposition’s pitcher was automatically going to beef up his strikeouts with russell out there. in any case, it is encouraging to see runners getting into scoring position – we just need them to score.

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