Spring training is a little over a month away, and sports fans through northeastern Ohio are starting to think about baseball. The cold, cold winter does that to you.
On Friday, Indians’ president Mark Shapiro was doing a radio interview and when asked about the roster brought up (once again) that the team is financially limited.
Most of the interview was Shapiro talking about what the Indians have focused on most of the winter, namely the construction at Progressive Field. We get that, he’s the president now, not the general manager, so he doesn’t want to steal GM Chris Antonetti’s thunder.
However, it almost seems like a reflex for anyone in the organization to bring this up when talking about trying the add talent to the current roster.
And it is a sensitive buzzword for many potential ticket buyers. As we have said before, like it or not, perception is reality and the perception around Cleveland is the ownership is cheap.
We get it.
Most fans understand the Indians will never be able to have one of the top ten payrolls in the sport. However, there are many teams in the sport who have managed to stay relevant without spending $150 million on talent.
So, we will play public relations/advertising consultant for the Indians. Why not talk about the positives the Tribe has going into this season.
1). The Indians have had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 2000-01 years, and made the playoffs in 2013, and were still alive in the playoff chase until the last weekend of the 2014 season.
2). They have a widely respected manager in Terry Francona, who has piloted two World Series winners.
3). They are the only team in the American League with a player who finished in the top three in both the Cy Young Award voting (Corey Kluber) and the MVP voting (Michael Brantley). Really, the only team in baseball because although a Dodger claimed both awards in the NL, it was the same guy (Clayton Kershaw).
4). The Indians have a good core of young players. Their best players are Brantley, Kluber, Yan Gomes, Cody Allen, and Carlos Santana. All are under 30 years old.
5). They have one of the game’s top prospects in SS Francisco Lindor, who should make his big league debut in 2015.
6). The last two months of the ’14 season were highlighted by excellent starting pitching, led by Kluber, but also with dominant months from Carlos Carrasco (27), Danny Salazar (24), Trevor Bauer (23), and T. J. House (24).
7). The Indians had the sixth best ERA in the American League, and they did it with the youngest pitching staff in the AL at 27.2 years of age. And that figure includes the ageless Scott Atchison.
8). They traded for a left-handed slugger who made the All Star team in 2014 in Brandon Moss, who, by the way, also hit two home runs in the wild card game.
9). Although the players are far away, the ’14 amateur draft was rated the best in baseball by Baseball America.
Those are things to talk about if you want to encourage people to purchase tickets. That, and get rid of the dynamic ticket pricing that most fans dislike.
There are plenty of positives to talk about with the Cleveland Indians that don’t involve money and/or ripping seats out of Progressive Field.
We just wish the front office would talk about these instead of playing the “small market” card.