Saturday, July 25, 2009

The summers of my youth were like this ...
The Indians have won three out of four games, which I think answers the following question:

"If the 2009 Indians win back-to-back series, and no one is there to care, does it make a difference?"

Not to us fans, and probably not to many in the Cleveland media. But it probably does matter to Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro, who could use a strong but meaningless second half as a reason not to dismiss manager Eric Wedge and not to bring some new voices into the organization.

As a fan, it seems easier and more simplistic than it is. I know that Wedge and Shapiro aren't trying to destroy this once-proud franchise, and in fact have each done some very good things while a part of it.

But 2007 was two years ago. For seven years, the Indians' front office and its coaching staff have spoke with one voice coming from two throats.

After seven years and five non-contending seasons, one has to develop a filter listening to Wedge and Shapiro talk. Wedge goes on and on about "grinding." But as Tom Selleck said in the rather mundane film Mr. Baseball: "Baseball's a game, and game's are supposed to be fun."

Maybe Willie Mays had his grinding days. Maybe Ernie Banks didn't really mean it when he said "Let's play two."

Maybe Pete Rose only hustled while keeping in the back of his mind the realities of the market in which he was playing.

Anyone else think Wedge might have benched Babe Ruth for calling his shot?

The more I see him and hear him, Shapiro comes across as someone who came to baseball because Harvard Business rejected his resume. I get the sense that some of the guys the Indians have signed were not signed because they had great talent or a ridiculous will to win. They were hired because the front office multiplied the player's OPS by some other statistic they made up and the line came out OK.

I know this sounds harsh and it's probably not true. But it seems like that. In a losing baseball season, perception is reality in the time it takes to break a bat.

The bottom line is that Indians baseball isn't just a grind for the players, it's one for the fans as well.

As time passes, I become convinced that it's not just the manager that needs to be replaced. It's the whole system.



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