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2002/09/17

perhaps i am overly pessimistic – however, i’m certain i’m not wrong. jacobs, bavasi, hart and company used all the tricks of the corporate trade to sell seats at the jake (as well as gund arena) – that is, in order to insure good attendance once the stadium and arena got built, there were deals made in backrooms all over the city of cleveland. since public dollars were used, there must be income projections and statements exhibiting how these new facilities will benefit the city as a whole. we know that what’s good for business is good for business, so to speak, and it’s been very clear that there were many seats sold to corporations (a complaint we have discussed many times before – the lack of access for the ordinary ticket buyer), thereby assuring few unsold seats. these agreements between businesses seem to sort of buckle under the weight of their obligation, and when economic times are tough, most businesses understandably stop doing so much frivolous spending (on things such as ballpark excursions, lunches at strip clubs, etc.), and the attendance began to wane last year at the same time as the tribe’s performance began to become questionable. when the indians began their rise, tickets became almost impossible to acquire. really, it was hard if you didn’t know somebody who had them. and scalpers made a fortune. the current situation is good for the ordinary (that is, not wealthy, non-corporate) baseball fan. it isn’t however, great for the business side – REVENUES WILL BE DOWN. that is a fact. this will likely result in even leaner payrolls, and poorer teams on the field (until, of course, these prospects we acquired this year become solid starters – and there’s no guarantee they will…), and as a result, even lower revenue. hopefully, the indians’ marketing machine – almost non-existent for seven years – will get in gear and make jacobs field THE place to be again, somehow….though it seems to me the best way to market a team is to put a good product on the field. you’re right about one thing, though – if the indians fail to sign jim thome, the fans may stay away in droves, hurt that the fans’ favorite was let go. this is a critical test – in my opinion – for shapiro AND dolan. now is the time to show the fans that there is something to root for today, and next season – not just a distant and uncertain future.

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