All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey

As we find ourselves on the eve of the World Series most likely to be started by a former Cleveland Indians Cy Young winner (Cliff Lee) and a former Cleveland Indians draftee (Tim Lincecum) I found myself bored with the usual “What are the Cleveland Indians offsesason needs?” and “which stopgap third baseman should the Indians sign?” blog posts that litter the Indians section of the Internet.

So, bored, I found myself in a bit of an argument with my buddy, who we’ll just call Doug, who is a Tigers fan. He wanted the Tigers to sign someone like Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, Carl Crawford, or Victor Martinez. I told him none of those players would probably be wearing the old English “D” on their chests come next season, and to keep dreaming. He called me a hater, and there was some name calling, before we got down to a good old fashioned debate.  I stated that even in the unlikely chance the Tigers signed one of those guys, it wouldn’t be enough to get them to the playoffs, let alone to avoid a first-round sweep, like the AL Central Champion Minnesota Twins did this year. Doug said he’d rather attend meaningful games late in the season, even if the end result isn’t a championship.

Actually, I had this argument over at Motor City Bengals,’s excellent Detroit Tigers’ site. Which would you rather have? A perennial playoff contender that does nothing in the playoffs (what is it, 12 straight playoff losses for the Twins?? Kinda trumps the “anything can happen in the playoffs” argument, doesn’t it?) or load up for one or two runs with a team that can stare the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox in the eye, and actually contend for a championship? (Random fact I’ve been trumpeting: in the past 8 years, the Indians have won more postseason series than the Twins. Yeah that’s right, the 2007 ALDS win over, yes, the New York Yankees.

Look, losing sucks and the way MLB’s economics are set up sucks as well. The Indians don’t have an owner like Mike Illitch. But even though Illitch has spent, it’s not like the Tigers have much more to show for their money than the Indians – an American League Championship in 2006. That’s about it. Dolan has spent when he said he was going to spend – whether or not the money was spent well is a whole other argument.

I want a Cleveland sports championship. The playoff appearances and league championships are nice, but I want a ring. If I have to suffer through a couple losing seasons to get one, so be it. But I’d rather go with the ups and downs and potentially win a ring than just be decent year in and year out like the Tigers are. What does Detroit have to show for its season? A mid-round draft pick and a “Hey, at least you guys aren’t Cleveland or Kansas City!” And in the end, what is that?

It’s meaningless, that’s what it is.

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  • Doug

    I’m going to take responsibility as being the “made up Doug” in the above blogpost (good work on using a fake name, Mr Ed).
    While I frequently read Ed’s work and generally feel he does a quality job at backing up his arguments (no matter how hair-brained they may be), I think my side of this argument can be stated much more effectively.
    Yes, I am a Tiger fan and yes, I did tell Ed I’d rather be in the position of a Tiger fan right now than an Indians fan, but here’s specifically why.
    SPORTS IS ENTERTAINMENT! Ed and I will never quite see eye-to-eye on this point but for me, I like to be entertained by the team that I support. I like to sit down after a long day and listen to Rod and Mario produce enough banter to get through a 3-hour game and just enjoy what I’m watching. I like to drive to Comerica Park, hit up a bar first, and then go to the park knowing that there’s a good chance my team will win. That’s enjoyable for me. Would I love to see them grab a ring? Hell yes! Was 2006 heartbreaking for me? Absolutely. Did I ignore all phones calls and texts after game 163 last year? Of course, but my life doesn’t live and die with the Tigers.
    Let’s think about it. There are 30 mlb teams. So you’re chances right there are hypothetically one in thirty that you’ll win it all. Then take into account baseball’s current pay structure and realistically, your odds decline from there.
    I absolutely hate going to the Jake and seeing the now-barren landscape of sports fans. Yes, the die-hards are there, but it’s sad to see the fall. Go to Comerica and see your 25-40000 fans on a given night who genuinely care about the team and expect a win. The Tigers may have a great owner who is willing to spend the cash, but the Indians have a fan base who is MORE-THAN-WILLING to show up for games IF they think they have a chance to win. This isn’t the Florida Marlins here (sorry, that’s a cheap 1997 blow).
    So gimme 81-81. Gimme a loss in game 163. Gimme playoff exits. But most of all, gimme all these things because of a culture that expects to consistently compete.