October 18th now hurts even more.
There are no guarantees in sports. Just because you are almost on verge of winning a championship doesn't mean the next year you will. When the Indians came up just short of the playoffs in 2005, many assumed 2006 would be their year instead the season was over before the All Star break.The Indians had a golden opportunity on October 18th and let it slip through their fingers.
Wait til next year seemed to have real meaning.But the White Sox, Tigers and even Royals spent the next few weeks improving their teams. Even the Twins while losing one star and preparing for life without another-- made a few trades to improve their lineup. And you knew winning the Central was going to be a tougher task let alone dealing with Santana bolstering the front of the Red Sox or Yankee rotation.And then Tigers empty their farm system and jack their payroll to go out and get Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Some hometowners are already spinning this as it isn't as bad as it looks. Sure injuries can decimate a club and you never know but the Tigers scored the most runs in the AL last year and now they have Cabrera and Indian killer Edgar Renteria in the lineup. And while Willis hasn't put up number one stuff-- he won't be the number one guy in Detroit and he will eat up wins. It takes lefties longer to become dominant starters-- look how long it took Sabathia and eve Randy Johnson. Willis is only 25 years old. He is going to look could in a Tiger uniform.
Did the Tigers empty the piggy bank to get these guys? Hell yes but now that clubhouse knows management will do whatever it takes. Screw small market economics. Detroit is built to win now. Good look getting tickets in Motown now.
I don't want to hear any whining from Cleveland management or media why the Stadium-- because it won't be the Jake for much longer- doesn't fill up. I know Shapiro is doing this the right way because I know he wants to compete on a yearly basis. I say forget that. Win once. The place will sell out for the next three years regardless. And believe this-- the big market teams are figuring out this farm system and prospects stuff. The window for anyone ever winning outside of 200 million payrolls is closing fast. The world may not end in 2012 but small markets even getting a sniff in baseball will.The Indians blew their best chance to win a title. And they may not get another one. No matter if they build it right and play it right.