The attendance on the Cleveland Indians’ last homestand brought up a discussion on why no one is going to the games for a team that is very much in the playoff hunt.
Some people thought it was the way the tickets are priced for different days and different series, and others thought the team wasn’t very exciting.
However, many of the fans we talk to bring up the ownership. They simply do not trust the Dolan family’s commitment to building a winning franchise.
While that may or may not be true, a wise man once said that “Perception is Reality”, and that is the uphill fight the Tribe ownership has to battle.
The Indians’ front office tries to fight that notion, and will site the free agent signings made over the last off-season, and amount of money spent on player development as examples that they are trying to win.
This winter, the ownership and the leadership of the franchise, led by team president Mark Shapiro should keep this in mind…actions speak louder than words.
Therefore, they shouldn’t complain in the media about the poor attendance during the 2013 season. They have every right to be disappointed. Fans have clamored for a winning team since 2007, and Terry Francona’s crew has delivered, only to be ignored by the populace.
Still, it will only inflame the ticket buying public already poor opinion of the ownership. So, the best course of action is not to say anything.
Instead, they should continue the same plan they did last winter, meaning continue to add to the roster and show the fans they are doing everything they possibly can to get into/back to the post-season in 2014.
Remember, the Indians have another off-season where a lot of cash comes off the books in the salary column.
Mark Reynolds and his $6 million deal will be gone, as well as the failed Brett Myers experiment and his $7 million contract.
It is doubtful that Chris Perez, who is making approximately the same amount as Myers will be offered arbitration either, meaning GM Chris Antonetti will likely part ways with the team’s closer.
And just in case you think it will be about Perez’s off field troubles or his controversial comments, it won’t. It will be a baseball decision. If Perez is still on the roster, he could earn up to $10 million next season.
He isn’t worth that based on his performance.
We understand that other players will get raises, in particular Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, whose free agent deals escalate from the first year of their contracts.
They also have to try to keep Justin Masterson, who will be a free agent after next season, and try to keep one of their free agent starting pitchers, Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir.
They won’t have $20 million to spend.
However, that doesn’t mean they can’t continue to improve this baseball team.
That is what they have to do in order to win over their critics.
Yes, getting rid of the way tickets are priced currently will help. So will other things that can help the gameday experience.
But the biggest thing will be to gradually decrease the number of people who think everything about the Cleveland Indians is related to money, and make everyone understand that ownership is trying to bring a winner to Progressive Field.