A Case to Bring Back Veteran Fan Favorites

The Indians town hall meeting was earlier today and the front office was there to answer questions from fans. I’m assuming that Dolan said nothing that offered any hope at all. On the other hand, Manny Acta and Chris Antoinetti most likely had a positive outlook on this season. As I recall from last years town hall meeting, Dolan was very excited about the new sushi option at the ballpark. This is the guy who runs a multi-million dollar company.

I know many questions that I could have asked the team, but I am most curious about the answer to one. Would it be smart to sign a veteran who used to play for the Tribe such Manny or Jim Thome?

The attendance at Progressive Field was historically low last year, (which is surprising because everyone  loves eating sushi at a baseball game). There are many young players on the team and in the organization that offer hope, but are not drawing masses as of now. Besides the opener, the most attended games in Cleveland were because of the opposing team. Stephen Strasburg’s first start on the road and A-Rod’s chase for 600 drew many fans to the stadium. This fact should be embarrassing to the front office and inspire them to look for a way to fill the seats.

The Rays have a similar attendance problem so they decided to make a change. Since winning is not enough for the senior citizen population of St. Pete, the Rays added both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Damon is eligible for about 750K in attendance bonuses. He will get paid if people simply come to the games.

I do not see how signing one fan favorite would hurt the team’s “plans”. Sign the player to a one or two year contract worth no more than a few million, and put them at DH for most of the year. Hafner gets paid way too much and not many fans really enjoy his presence anymore.

The Indians front office would likely say that a veteran would hurt their rebuilding process. A player like Jim Thome would not cause trouble in the clubhouse if he did not start every game. He would mentor younger players such as Matt LaPorta and contribute to the jobs of the coaches.

Unfortunately for my vision, Thome and Ramirez were signed by the Twins and Rays respectively. Another former Indian, Bartolo Colon, was recently signed by the Yankees, but signing him would just be stupid. But with Dolan in charge, anything could happen.

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Tags: Jim Thome Manny Acta Manny Ramirez Matt LaPorta Travis Hafner

  • Rich

    They slashed the price of bleacher seats, most likely because they grew tired of seeing home run balls rattle around amidst the empty seats. Perhaps they have been trying to bring back nostalgic memories of Cleveland Stadium.

    Next up: Albert Belle speed pitch night. Left field seats on sale cheap!

    • Steve Kubitza

      With that idea, Dolan should hire you in no time.

  • Ed Carroll

    Disagree wholeheartedly that signing a former Indian past his prime would be a good idea for this ballclub. For starters, it won’t help attendance. Cleveland does not support this team and really hasn’t for some time. Bringing back one or two players from the glory days is simply not going to help. The Indians brought back Kenny Lofton in 2007 and the move worked perfectly. Didn’t help attendance though, Tribe finished 21st in total attendance in 2007, and that team was tied for the best record in baseball.

    Furthermore, signing an aging, mediocre vet takes away playing time from younger players who need to develop. I know you propose benching Hafner, but um, what are you gonna do with him then? He’s making a lot of money, and he’s still mildly productive. About the only former Indian that makes sense is Kevin Millwood.

    Leave nostalgia in the past, and press forward.

    • Steve Kubitza

      It was simply an idea to increase the worst attendance in baseball. I did not dig deep into the issue of playing time, it was just a basic idea.