Category Archives: baseball

a letter from a former cubs fan.

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I became a Cubs fan around 1982 or ’83. I was a kid growing up in Michigan, so I was (and still am) a diehard Detroit Tigers fan. But I saw a segment on a TV show about loyal Cubs fans. I thought it was cool the way the fans never abandoned their team, so I decided I’d be a Cubs fan from that day forward. I was pretty excited during the 1984 season.

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You didn’t have to be a Cubs fan to be a Ryne Sandberg fan.

My two favorite teams on a collision course to face one another in the World Series. I understood the history of both franchises, but not to the extent I do now. I guess ’84 was my first taste of what it’s like being a Cubs fan.

 

Anyway, I considered myself a big Cubs fan throughout the 80s, 90s and into the aughts, but started to get discouraged by the fans and ownership. It’s one thing to be a loyal fan. It’s another thing entirely to reward mediocrity with your money.

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Even though this happened more than 30 years ago, my disdain for the San Diego Padres is still pretty strong.

Too Many “get drunk in the bleachers” Fans
I felt the Tribune Corporation knew it could put any 25 schmucks on the field and Cubs fans would still pack the stadium. I grew weary of that and it began to wear down my own status as a Cubs fan. It’s sort of ironic, really. The very thing that drew me to the Cubs was now pushing me away.

As I would say to friends, there are too many “get drunk in the bleachers” fans and not enough actual Cubs fans. I don’t say that to disparage my friends who are Cubs fans. I really don’t. For me, I simply couldn’t square in my mind that ownership was fleecing the fans and the fans seemed to go along with it. Truth is, I was angrier with ownership (but took it out on the fans, I suppose).

By contrast, look at the Detroit Tigers. From the late 80s until 2006, the team was a complete, wandering mess. After the Tigers’ 1987 playoff appearance, the team had just three winning seasons until 2006 (when they went to the World Series). Did attendance suffer in those waning years? You bet it did. And why wouldn’t it? I’m a Tigers fan, but I’m not going to reward management when they’re not even trying to compete.

“Wait ’til Next Year” & the Definition of Insanity
The Cubs had similar success and failure between 1989 and 2003 (let’s not talk about 2003), but their attendance never dipped as low as, say, Detroit’s attendance. I suppose the allure of Wrigley Field is enough to draw fans to the stadium, but it’s aggravating when ownership knows this and let’s it continue. On top of that, the lack of renovation to an old yard like Wrigley in the modern era also cheats fans out of simple amenities like clean restrooms and lack of falling concrete.

We can debate all day long about stadium lights and video scoreboards in the outfield, but I don’t believe either of these impedes the charm of Wrigley Field. As I’ve said before: they tore down The House That Ruth Built. Don’t believe for one second that Wrigley is untouchable.

I’m not advocating for the demolition of a stadium rich in history, mind you; just reminding fans that moving forward and modernizing does not mean a franchise sells its soul. Didn’t the New York Yankees play home games at Shea Stadium for a couple seasons in the 1970s while they rebuilt Yankee Stadium from the inside out? Just sayin’…

All this to say I grew more and more dismayed with what I perceived as stubbornness from Cubs fans. You can’t eschew change and evolution for 100 years and somehow expect the results to be different this year…or even if you “wait ’til next year,” as they say. Isn’t that the very definition of insanity? Rigid adherence to an archaic system borders on religiosity. The fans no longer celebrate success. They worship at the alter of the past for all the wrong reasons.

In other words, it felts like Cubs fans were embracing the “lovable losers” moniker a bit too much. It was similar to Boston Red Sox fans, who wallowed in “The Curse of the Bambino” for so many years they became the most insufferable fans in baseball. They’ve since gotten a taste of success and it’s changed their mentality, which is good, but they’re still insufferable fans. That’s another story for another time.

The game has changed. The players have changed. The competitive landscape has changed. You either evolve or die. It’s nice to reminisce about the bygone era of four-man rotations and fewer specialty players like middle relievers and closers, but look around. That day is long gone. Approaching the game, the marketing of the game and the stadiums in which the game is played is not anachronistically adorable. It’s a recipe for self-inflicted mediocrity.

A New Era of Cubs Baseball
Somewhere between the end of the 2003 season and 2009—when the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs from the Tribune Corporation—my fandom for the Cubs went dormant. It seemed all those things that frustrated me as a fan grew too much to bear anymore, so I threw it off and moved on as a Tigers fan, exclusively. I didn’t hate the Cubs. I simply chose to no longer be an active fan of them. I divested emotionally, you might say.

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I enjoyed Lou Piniella’s congenial efforts to make his point with the umpires.

Even though I should recognize I appreciated the hiring of Lou Piniella, who immediately went to work on that “lovable losers” attitude among fans. The Cubs got to the playoffs a couple times with Lou running the show, but never quite got over the hump. Nevertheless, he echoed some of my sentiments and I did appreciate that.

It wasn’t until the Ricketts family came to town and ushered in a new era of Cubs baseball. Where many Cubs fans shrieked in horror at plans of plazas, video boards, luxury boxes and modern clubhouses, I applauded the efforts to modernize Wrigley Field.

Where many Cubs fans raged at the idea of blocking the view of the rooftops on Waveland and Sheffield, I applauded it. Whatever charm the rooftops had in the early days was completely lost on me as these building owners took to corporate sponsorship, constructing bleachers and “luxury boxes” and charging fans a fortune to pilfer a baseball game across the street. It was one thing when people who lived in these buildings had rooftop parties. It’s another thing entirely when you turn it into a corporate enterprise. No thanks. My hope is the Ricketts family one day buys all those properties and turns it into part of the Wrigley Field grounds, but that’s another story for another time.

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The Ricketts families’ proposed changes at Wrigley Field. Unlike many in Chicago, I was onboard with this plan from Day One.

While I’ve been pleased with the off-the-field changes for the Cubs, I’ve been even happier with the changes to the team since the Ricketts family took over. The hiring of Joe Maddon told me they were serious about winning.

Does winning make me a Cubs fan again? Well, I’m on the bandwagon, sure, but it would be disingenuous to say I’m a “Cubs Fan” again. As a baseball fan, I love seeing them in the World Series. For my 13-year old self who was a big Cubs fan, I love seeing them in the World Series. Even though I’m much happier with the Cubs over the past six or seven years than I was the previous 10, I can’t call myself a Cubs fan again. I say that out of respect to my diehard Cubs fan friends. This is their moment, not mine.

But I don’t mind riding the bandwagon as long as they don’t mind. Just as I walked away from the team over the culture of losing, I have to recognize the cultural change around the Cubs. They are no longer “lovable losers.” That’s all I ever wanted.

Go Cubs Go.

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detroit & tampa baseball fans: a tale of two cities.

Comerica Park, Detroit.

Comerica Park, Detroit.

Baseball is my favorite sport for several reasons. The numbers and math of the game fascinate me, for one. That extends beyond the typical batting averages and WARs and WHIPs to the stands. Last season, for example, the average total attendance for an American League team was 2,384,555. In fact, for 23 of the past 25 years, the season average has been more than 2 million fans per AL team.

When my favorite team—the Detroit Tigers—take the field tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox, they will surpass the 3 million mark in attendance this season (providing at least 124 fans show up). For the Tigers, it will be their fourth season of drawing 3 million or more fans to Comerica Park. Shockingly, the Tigers never hit the 3 million plateau at the much larger Tiger Stadium, where they played until the end of the 1999 season.

It’s no surprise to me the Tigers have drawn more than the league average since 2006. They have been one of the most consistent, successful baseball franchises over the past seven seasons:
* Four playoff appearances (including this season)
* Three AL Central Division Championships (well…soon)
* Two American League Pennants

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ostensibly, Tiger fans are loyal to this team, from top to bottom. Contrast that with another potential playoff team, the Tampa Bay Rays. With four home games remaining at Tropicana Field, the Rays are sitting dead last in attendance in Major League Baseball with less than 1.5 million fans turning out this season. It’s a bit jarring when you consider the Rays are not some flukey team, backing their way into a wild card berth.

Since 2008, the Rays have won:
* Two AL East Division Championships
* One Wild Card berth
* One American League Pennant

Over those seasons, Rays attendance has been woeful; never reaching 2 million fans and nowhere close to the league average. It’s no better this season (their only 2 million+ season was their inaugural one, 1998). In fact, less fans, on average, attend Rays home games this season than last season. And they’ve been a competitive team most of the season!

I’m not sure if there’s a definitive correlation between the fan bases for these two franchises, but it does indicate a sharp contrast in turnout, loyalty and market behavior. That aside, it’s worth pointing out the contrast in market sizes. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Detroit is the 14th most populous market (4.2 million) in the U.S. while Tampa-St. Petersburg is 18th (2.8 million).

If cost is a factor, you’d think it would impact hardscrabble Detroiters more than Gulf Coast Floridians, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Average ticket prices:
* Detroit: $26.36
* Tampa: $20.39

In fact, both Detroit and Tampa are below the league average ($27.73). Same goes for the obligatory “family of four” cost of going to a baseball game, where the league average is $210.46. Great source.

Market size, franchise history (both recent and long-term), team success and ticket prices all play factors in drawing people to the ballpark as much as keeping them away. So what gives here? Why are Detroit fans filling the stadium to near capacity every night while Rays fans are barely there?

I ran these numbers exercise in hopes of gleaning some new information to solve this riddle and I ran into a brick wall.

Stripping away the numbers, my best, most uneducated guess comes down to this: Florida is not a baseball state. It’s a football state (unless you have to include the Jacksonville Jaguars).

Yes, Florida is a great place for spring training. Baseball fans love to go watch their teams work out the winter kinks in sunny Florida. But the locals don’t seem to much care for the Rays nor the Miami Marlins (we don’t have enough time to dissect Marlins dysfunction).

Too bad Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are stuck with these two Sunshine State stepchildren. I’m sure they’d love to give them up for adoption, but that’s even more unlikely than fans ever showing true loyalty to the Tampa Bay Rays anytime soon.

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wherein i discuss the detroit tigers as though i’m taken seriously as a sports columnist.

Even though the Detroit Tigers are widening their lead over the second-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, October baseball is not a certainty. My pessimism (and long memory for historical sports collapse) won’t allow me to pop any corks just yet.

After 136 games last season, the Tigers were 73-63 and sitting a game behind first place Chicago. The Tigers went 15-11 down the stretch to finish in first place by three games over the Sox. True, Detroit’s lead over second place Cleveland is 8.5 games, but anything can happen.

Can ‘Anything’ Really Happen?
In this case, “anything” would be Cleveland going 27-0 to finish the season. If that happened—and it won’t—Detroit would need to win 19 more games to stave off The Choke Of The Century.

Even if Detroit went 13-13 down the stretch they’d probably win the division because I don’t see Cleveland going 21-6 in September. Their best month this season was 18-12 in May. My guess is Detroit will lock up the division title during their final home stand of the season.

The Home Stretch
After tomorrow’s game against Cleveland, the rest of the season for Detroit is:
* @ Boston (3)
* @ Kansas City (3)
* @ ChiSox (3)
* vs. Kansas City (3)
* vs. Seattle (4)
* vs. ChiSox (3)
* @ Minnesota (3)
* @ Miami (3)

The Red Sox series could be a preview of the ALDS or ALCS. The main issue for the Tigers is keeping up the intensity and clinching one of the top two seeds to secure home field advantage for at least one series. Those six games against the Royals will be critical; same goes for the six against Chicago. The Royals have been tough on Detroit all season long. They won’t go quietly. The White Sox have gotten better since the trade deadline, going 16-12 in August.

Contrary to popular belief, the home stretch will not be an easy coast.

October Baseball
For my money, the five AL playoff teams are pretty much decided: Boston, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Texas. You can almost put that in cement. Who plays whom and when and where is still strictly in pencil. My gut tells me Boston and Detroit get the top two seeds, Texas takes the AL West and the Athletics and Rays are the wildcard teams.

How has Detroit fared against these teams?
* Boston (3-1)
* Oakland (3-4)
* Tampa Bay (3-3)
* Texas (3-4)

Despite all the hype around the Tigers’ starting pitching and middle batting order, it will not be a cakewalk.

Miggy for MVP…Again
For the past two weeks, everyone agrees Miguel Cabrera is the odds-on favorite to win the AL MVP trophy. Well, everyone that isn’t a Mike Trout sabermetrics nerd. Miggy’s numbers in ever major offensive category are better than last year.

Despite Miggy’s miraculous batting exploits, it hasn’t put his name alongside other greats like Albert Pujols, Tony Gywnne or even Hank Aaron. No. He’s being mentioned in the same breath with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby. And Cabrera’s earned it.

Will he win the Triple Crown again? It would be something, but he’s got to catch Baltimore’s Chris Davis first. Either way, I think it’s a safe bet wins the MVP award. Again.

Mad Max
Pitcher Max Scherzer has distinguished himself as the Tigers ace this season. Cy Young worthy? Depends on whom you ask. I think he’s a leading candidate, but I also know the sabermetrics nerds like to bust out their slide rules and dump water on pithy stats like wins and ERA as meaningless, 20th century contrivances.

Here’s what they forget, with regard to Scherzer:
* Leads the AL in wins (19) and WHIP (1.06)
* Second in the AL in strikeouts (201) and WAR (5.8)
* Fourth best ERA (2.90) in the AL

In other words, Max Scherzer is at or near the top in all the statistical categories that matter. And yes, saber-nerd, wins matter.

The Return of Jhonny Peralta(?)
The Tigers shortstop will be eligible to return to his team just in time to play in the final three games of the season at Miami. While Peralta was having a career season at the plate prior to his 50-game suspension, credit GM Dave Dombrowski for acquiring Jose Iglesias, Detroit’s shortstop for the future.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Leyland held Peralta off the postseason roster. It has less to do with the nature of his suspension and more to do with being rusty. Besides, Iglesias is a better defensive shortstop and has proven to be a more versatile hitter in the batting order.

In Summation…
* Tigers will win their third consecutive AL Central Division title and the best record in the American League
* Miguel Cabrera will win the AL MVP award. Again.
* Max Scherzer will win the AL Cy Young Award.
* Tigers in six. I’ll let you figure that one out.

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you never know who’s listening.

To help out a friend, I did a little PA work this week for the 2013 Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series in Hammond, Indiana. While I consider baseball to be my favorite sport to watch, I confess to being a mostly average (at best) baseball PA announcer. The problem isn’t a lack of understanding of the game as much as it is a familiarity with the behind-the-scenes process.

Having done basketball for the better part of the past 20 years, I can hop on the mic at any gym or arena anytime and sound like a pro. Why? Because I know what to expect, when to expect it. Believe it or not, I was more nervous working these baseball games in Hammond—where no player is older than 12 years old—than I was working in front of 35,000 screaming fans at the NCAA Regional in March.

Play Ball!
I worked two games on Friday, plus the opening ceremonies later that evening. Getting through that first game is always a bit nerve-wracking because, no matter how much I prepare, I never feel prepared enough. In this case, I wasn’t even really prepared until I got to the park. I reviewed the starting lineups and the order of announcements that needed to be read. Once I got started with the opening greeting, I felt fine. My problem is—and I really need to work on this—I never feel totally comfortable ad-libbing if I’ve never done it before. It’s my own hang-up that I requires continuous improvement on my part. I felt pretty rusty on Friday afternoon.

I had a couple errors that bothered me (missed a player introduction when he came up to bat, defensive switches) that I need to avoid next time. I pride myself on being professional and those errors are anything but professional.

The games themselves were fun to watch. The kids played hard and never quit. Their families and supporters were loud and spirited and cheered loudly. Best of all, the sportsmanship on display was great. All those overzealous stage parents could learn from them.

Opening Ceremonies
The opening ceremonies went off much better. Originally, I wasn’t going to do it, but I was asked if I’d stick around and help with it. About an hour prior to starting, I sat down with Tim Bell, president of Hammond Optimist Youth Sports (the host group for the World Series) and Paul Mullaney, the group’s past president and regular PA announcer for many of its games and events, to go over the script. This helped tremendously. It also helped to have Paul right next to me, cuing me up and keeping me in line.

The event itself, I should mention, was well attended. Ten teams from around the country are playing in this tournament. Teams from as far away as Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota are joining to local teams from Crown Point and Hammond. From what I saw, they all brought vocal contingents of fans. It only made the atmosphere that much better.

Speaking of Atmosphere…
It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a crowded press box. When I work soccer for IUPUI, the press box is usually occupied by only a handful of people. It helps that getting to the press box at Carroll Stadium is similar to climbing the stairs to Mecca, so it keeps the riff-raff out. Kidding (mostly). The press box at the World Series is teeming with activity, all the time. It is the nerve center of the complex, nestled at the apex of three baseball diamonds. For the World Series, only two are being used, but they’re being used concurrently. That makes for lots of people, lots of noise and lots of distractions. It’s a long way from that soccer press box or even press row for basketball games. I can handle a noisy audience at a basketball game easier than a conversation between two people happening right over my shoulder. Figure that out.

PAWhat’s Next?
Originally, I was only committed to working that one day. I had a few pending situations that prevented me from committing beyond that. But I had so much fun working Friday afternoon that I agreed to come back and work two more games on Monday night. They needed someone and I’m happy to volunteer. It’s worth noting I do have an ulterior motive to coming back: I want to prove to myself that I can do better than what I did on Friday. Personally speaking, I’m not happy with my performance and I want to go back and do it again because I’m certain I can do better. Why? Because you never know who’s listening.

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a hodge-podge of detroit tigers talk.

After 100 games, the Detroit Tigers are 56-44 and in first place by 3-1/2 games over the Cleveland Indians. A year ago, after 100 games, the Tigers were 53-47 and a game and a half behind the White Sox for first place. Detroit would eventually finish the regular season 88-74 en route to their second consecutive division title.

Detroit has 62 games left in the season. By my count, only 17 of those games are against teams with a +.500 record: seven vs. Cleveland, four vs. Oakland, and three vs. each the Yankees and Boston. Does this mean it’s an easy run to the playoffs? Not so much. Tigers’ starting pitching has been mostly solid, but the bullpen has been inconsistent. And while the offense has been among the best in baseball, the pending issues with Jhonny Peralta could cause a disruption in the batting lineup.

All this to say I’m not ready to pop any corks just yet. For example, the Tigers have to play the Kansas City Royals 11 more times. The Tigers are 3-5 against the Royals, so far this season. Conversely, Detroit’s 9-3 against the Indians. That, in a nutshell, has been the 2013 Detroit Tigers: playing up—or down—to their competition.

If the starting rotation continues to be dominant (or Verlander figures out whatever’s ailing him) and the top of the batting order continues to terrorize pitchers, Detroit should keep plenty of breathing room between themselves and Cleveland. But the problems get no easier as the calendar turns to October.

At least eight American League teams are jockeying for five post-season berths. The Tigers play those teams 17 more times before October. Those games will prove whether or not the Tigers resolved their bullpen issues and are ready to make an October run.

We shall see.

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the detroit tigers bullpen circus continues.

Papa Grande exits the game against Kansas City after blowing his third save of the season.

Papa Grande exits the game against Kansas City after blowing his third save of the season.

While the Tigers’ series against Kansas City was ultimately a dud—dropping two of three, despite quality starts from Doug Fister and Justin Verlander—it might turn out to be a gift. No, losing is never a good thing. But watching closer Jose Valverde melt down in this series, including blowing a two-run lead in the ninth inning yesterday afternoon, pretty much guarantees one thing: the Jose Valverde Reign Of Terror has finally reached its sad, undignified end.

Truth be told, it’s hardly fair for Papa Grande. For two seasons, he was mostly a lights-out pitcher. He locked down 49 saves in 49 opportunities in 2011. While not perfect in 2012, he was still a big reason the Tigers repeated as Central Division champions. Unfortunately, when the end came for Valverde, it was about as subtle as falling off a cliff. Blowing two post season saves last year spelled the end, or so we thought.

To Valverde’s credit, he took his lumps and rebuilt himself in minor leagues to earn his way back to the bigs with the Tigers. Of course, his return was aided by the reality that Detroit’s bullpen has been a shaky mess all season. Valverde’s return brought some stability, but it seems he’s already run out of gas. In 17.1 innings of work this season, Valverde’s given up 13 hits and five home runs. He’s leading the team in saves with nine, but he’s also blown three saves. This is not the same Jose Valverde even from last season.

It’s disappointing to see a guy who was integral to the team’s success implode. But it’s not as calamitous as fans might think. Valverde’s implosion is a gift to the team, to the fans and, perhaps, to himself. This collapse occurred at a time in the season when the Tigers can weather the storm and, potentially, find a permanent fix.

As of this moment, the Tigers situation looks like this:
* 4-1/2 game lead on the division
* Starting pitchers are crushing it
* Offense is mostly playing well

That’s pretty good when you consider your leadoff hitter’s on the mend and the bullpen has been a big, fat question mark, with or without Valverde. Which brings me back to the “gift” of the KC series: Valverde is no longer the closer. He can’t be the closer; not when you’ve been an adventure on the mound in your most recent outings. It’s over.

Painful as that is—especially after the heartbreaking loss yesterday—coming to that realization in Game 64 is a whole lot better than coming to that realization in Game 1 of the ALCS. In a sense, Christmas came early. It just rode in on a black stallion and stabbed you in the heart. Merry Christmas!

Fear The Beard? Is Brian Wilson ready after his second Tommy John surgery?

Fear The Beard? Is Brian Wilson ready after his second Tommy John surgery?

Bring in “The Beard?”
Brian Wilson may seem like a sexy pick—and who knows? Maybe he can come back and be lights-out—but coming off his second Tommy John surgery likely has teams less inclined to sign him; especially if he’s bringing a high price tag. If he can still pitch and won’t cost Detroit too much money, go for it, I say. But there might be a good reason he’s still on the shelf. Can’t discount that. But we’ll have to wait and see if anyone still fears The Beard.

It’s going to take a few weeks for Detroit to iron out their bullpen woes (if it’s even possible to address them all). It’ll be interesting to see if GM Dave Dombrowski makes any moves for a closer or if they try once again with the closer-by-committee approach, which is a short-term bandage. It can work in a few situations, but not for another 100 games. Bottom line: Detroit needs a closer. The question is will he come from within or will he arrive before July 31.

We shall see.

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cleveland indians: first in a.l. central, last in fan attendance.

...and the crowd goes! Meh...

…and the crowd goes! Meh…

I turned on the baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians last night expecting to see a raucous atmosphere at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. It was, after all, a semi-crucial divisional showdown between the first-place Indians and second-place Tigers. What I saw rivaled the Indians crowds in the movie Major League. Attendance: 17,374. In a stadium that hold more than 43,000 people. The Indians are currently dead last in attendance in Major League Baseball. I guess the good people of Cleveland would rather be at home, watching the NBA Lottery to see where their Cavaliers fall in the draft (note: they got the top pick).

I’m a little shocked by the ambivalence of the Cleveland fans this season. They’ve got a new manager, Terry Francona, who’s a proven winner and a team that is playing great baseball right now. Through 44 games the Indians are atop the AL Central with a 26-18 record. Given the fact that the Indians haven’t had a winning season since 2007, their fans aren’t ready to commit. But it’s worth pointing out their commitment in 2007 was ambivalent, at best. Their 2007 attendance was in the bottom third of the league, averaging only 65 percent capacity for the season.

Typically, poor attendance indicates poor performance on the field…unless you’re the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, where all manner of logic and reason go to die. As I was saying, attendance is usually tied to wins and losses. The team that wins more games usually draws more fans to the stadium. This makes sense to me. If I’m a fan of a certain team that hasn’t fielded a winner in several seasons, I’d be hard-pressed to want to shell out money to get a good seat to their slaughter night after night.

When a team starts winning again, you expect the fans to show up. It doesn’t make them fair-weather fans. It makes them excited to see a quality team take the field again.

Using the Detroit Tigers as an example, look at attendance in 2006. It was Jim Leyland’s first season as manager and the Tigers had their first winning season since 1993. A half million more fans came to see the Tigers play at Comerica Park that season over 2005’s totals.

Perhaps Indians fans are worried they’re looking at fool’s gold again, given their team started out hot in 2012 and fizzled before the All-Star break, stumbling to a 68-94 record. After all, where were the Indians last season after 44 games? Atop the AL Central. With a 26-18 record. You know what they say: fool me once…

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