Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Calm down everyone

Did you enjoy the Indians fifth straight win yesterday?

Chances are you didn’t?

Most of you have probably given up on the Indians. Trading two Cy Young winners two years in row and fielding a lineup of quadruple "A" guys will do that to a fan base.

If you are fan with a iron stomach that watches no matter what, you likely missed the game because, despite owning its own network, the Indians and their marketing geniuses refused to televise a home game and instead pushed three innings and lunch to the corporate crowd of downtown Cleveland.

Regardless a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays has invoked big dreams from the Pollyannas among us. I heard a local radio host discuss with a Tribe player about how in this division the Tribe "can" get back in this race.

I instantly turned off the radio with a "Child please" and later, when I went to mock the outrageous of it at the office, our office’s fearless leader sheepishly rolled his eyes and stated that just earlier he was discussing the same point.

"They are only 12 games out," he tried to bargain.

I looked at our assistant fearless leader for help.

"Don’t worry," he assured me. I got up and walked out of the room before he finished his point.

It was just four weeks ago when the Indians won four in a row, including two against the mighty Red Sox. Ears perked up and people looked up from their bar stools to say, "Hey how about that Tribe?"

Then, the National League made the Indians their interleague red-headed whipping post.

Despite the five game outburst, the Indians still have the second-worst record in the American League and that is only because the Orioles are such a joke.

Sure, Matt LaPorta has homered in three straight games, Carlos Santana appears to be the real deal, the starting rotation have each put up a solid start in succession and the bullpen has saved five straight, including Kerry Wood mowing down batters three days in a row.

But before you dig out your Tribe gear from the Goodwill pile, as our assistant fearless leader likes to say in the office, "You need to check the schedule."

After this weekend’s holiday tilt with the just-below .500 Oakland A’s, the next time the Erie Warriors play a team with a losing record will be August 10 and by then, the Browns will be just days away from their first preseason game and the Tribe will be pushed off the front page for stories about Mangini’s practice regiment.

So, if you are expecting a exciting summer of young talent and thought to be washed up veterans making an inspired run for a division title, you better get in the basement and find your VHS copy of Major League.

This is not to say there is no hope. Watching Santana, LaPorta and other young Tribe players grow together this summer could be fun. But it’s hard to have confidence in an Indians front office that has blocked LaPorta with retreads and continue to play players with no future in Cleveland rather than letting kids have a chance.

The putridicity of the division is what convinced the Tribe "brain trust" to sign Branyan, Austin Kearns and the like. The pipe dream of contending stunted the youth movement. You are in last place, it can’t get worse playing prospects.

When Valbuena was mercifully put to pasture, the Indians decided to play Anderson Hernandez and Jayson Nix, rather than let a young kid, Cord Phelps, who is tearing it up in Columbus, have a chance.

This makes little sense to me. I could care less how productive Kearns or Duncan can be. They won’t be here if the Indians one day contend for real. Let’s find out if Michael Brantley will.

No one should care if the Indians finish ahead of the Royals this season. Don’t let a bad division fool you into thinking you can contend, forget the final record and play the young kids with no thought of wins or losses.

In the words of the Astrodome crowd in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, "Let them play."