Disconnect Between Tribe and Fans Grows

The Cleveland Indians’ organization just doesn’t get it.

They don’t get the ever growing disconnect between the front office and the fan base.

Yes, the current team is flawed, they are a .500 team with over two-thirds of the schedule in the books.  On the other hand, there are plenty of teams in the same boat, so as this is written they somehow are just four games out of a post-season berth.

They continue to operate under the premise that was stated by the current ownership many years ago, that is they will spend money when people start showing up to Progressive Field.

Compare that to the buzz surrounding the Cavaliers, who likely will put a title contender on display at Quicken Loans Arena, and the Browns, who drafted the most talked about rookie in the NFL last May.

They are shiny pieces, attractive to the eye.  The Indians are like a gray sweater.  They simply just don’t, or perhaps don’t know how to make a splash with the area’s baseball fans.

They made two good baseball decisions this week, trading two players who will be free agents this fall, and who weren’t producing as expected for the club either.  They picked up two young players who may help the Tribe in the next couple of years instead of letting them leave for nothing.

Still, the fans expected them to take a shot at making the post-season for the second consecutive year, a feat not accomplished by the current ownership or management team.

Instead, they claimed they couldn’t or weren’t willing to get a deal done.

Team president Mark Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti and the Dolan family are good people, well liked by the media in northeastern Ohio.  Therefore, there wasn’t really much of an outrage when other teams around the Indians in the standings made move to improve their teams while the Tribe didn’t.

There seems to be an agreement between Shapiro and Antonetti and the ownership that the executives won’t bring up the lack of cash available and the Dolans won’t hold them accountable for the lack of success.

We even heard a member of the media floating the ridiculous contention by the organization that Tampa Bay wanted Danny Salazar, Carlos Santana, and Francisco Lindor for former Cy Young Award winner David Price.

Really? What did Tigers’ president Dave Dombrowski do, hypnotize Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman to convince to accept just Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and an 18-year-old prospect?

The fact of the matter is, there haven’t been enough results by this regime since the turn of the century.  Just three playoff spots, the first done with holdovers from the division and pennant winners of the mid-90’s, and one of those a one game wild card game.

To be fair, the Indians would have made the playoffs as the wild card under the old rules.

You have to go for it when you have the chance.  Now, we aren’t advocating dealing Lindor, who may just be the sport’s premier prospect, for a play who would spend a half season, or even a year and a half in a Cleveland uniform.

However, the Tribe does have middle infield prospects and power bullpen arms that could’ve been used to fill a weakness.

We have said it before, they didn’t need to get Price or Jon Lester, they just needed to get someone better than Justin Masterson, T.J. House, Josh Tomlin and Zack McAllister.

Instead they picked up another middle infielder, who likely will be moved elsewhere and has shown no strike zone judgment in the minor leagues, and yet another left-handed bat in an organization already top heavy from that side of the plate.

After making the post-season and winning 92 games a year ago, a way to bring fans back to the ballpark would have been to make the playoffs again.  Show them that last year was no fluke.

It could happen, but it isn’t likely when you have two shaky starters, and that’s crossing your fingers on Salazar, who has been solid since returning to the majors.

It appears the only team Antonetti improved at the deadline was the Columbus Clippers.  Somehow, the front office doesn’t understand the disappointment of its fan base.



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