May 22, 2013|
Cleveland Indians hottest team in baseball, yet remain last in attendance May 19, 2013 By AJ Kaufman 6 Comments There’s a scene in Major League where Bob Uecker, portraying the radio voice of the Indians, bemoans, “In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.” Well, that was nearly 25 years ago and fictional, but today’s reality is that Cleveland has won 17 of its last 21, and currently tops the AL Central with a mark of 25-17. No one in the majors is better than the Indians in the past month (20-7). That’s great news. The bad news, however, is the Tribe somehow remain in the MLB cellar when it comes to attendance. How can this be? The fact that I wrote on this same topic almost to the day last year – when only Tampa Bay drew fewer fans than Cleveland - may be even more troubling. Though roughly 34,000 watched a walk-off win Friday night against Seattle, perfect weather and free caps weren’t enough to draw more than 36,000 Saturday and Sunday combined. What did the Indians do in those tilts? They nabbed another walk-off win on Saturday, then the Indians crushed the great Felix Hernandez Sunday behind Justin Masterson, arguably the AL’s best pitcher right now. Fun fact: The Indians have already faced eight Cy Young Award winners in 2013: Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, David Price, Justin Verlander and Hernandez. They have won seven out those eight matchups. Simply astounding. This offseason, the much-maligned Indians front office finally made a legitimate attempt to improve the team through free agency. I’m not talking an Ubaldo Jimenez-like trade, but rather smart acquisitions that brought veterans Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn, Jason Giambi, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher to Cleveland. In addition to being a fantastic place to watch a game due to great egress and ingress, with extremely affordable tickets, the best promo lineup anywhere, Jacobs Field boasts overall, cooler, less muggy summer weather than most Midwestern locales. The team also lowered beer and hot dog prices to $4 and $3 respectively. What other professional stadium in any sport offers that? I have visited 28 of the 30 current Major League Baseball stadia, and few top The Jake when all angles are considered. I say that as a baseball fan, not an Indians fan. As for the putative “economic” angle, these are the same people who spend insane amounts of money to watch terrible football every fall and show up in decent numbers for putrid basketball in the winter. Irrespective of season length, those sports charge up to 10 times the price for a ticket, and the atmosphere isn’t half as fan-friendly as baseball. I understand fans’ lack of willingness to get on board to some degree. A decent recap of Cleveland’s decade of “rebuilding” can be read here and the team suffered a horrific collapse last August. However, in addition to all the benefits of attending games at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field, fans should also realize the team has potential and often exceeds preseason aspirations at any point without warning. Cleveland hosts the rival Detroit Tigers — heavy favorites to repeat as AL Central champs — Tuesday and Wednesday nights before hitting the road. The temperature should be pleasant at first pitch each evening so you’d expect The Jake to be full to watch the best hitter on the planet right now — but don’t count on it.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
Three down one goal for the Bruins to advance that will probably. Happen tomorrow night we shall see joining us on the AT&T outlining AT&T forgy LT -- a friend Barry -- good morning merry hell aria. I'm -- -- I don't know what I thought new York New York Rangers I can't even say today. I expect. Lundqvist played better in game four -- -- I don't think he can now -- an -- if you were going to steal one was last night the night it was gonna steal one. Believe it was also up that way it -- yeah I was we went into the game you know -- I've talked about the keys and you know -- we talked about was. The Bruins being ready early to match the desperation from new York and we didn't hear the desperation from New York I thought the Bruins right from the opening face off. Cut to the ground the crowd out of the game they they had two or three really good shifts that first period and allowed the raiders game momentum. They were you know they only had 24 shots on net. They had two power plays -- didn't have any coach on 34 24 with the Bruins for the most part of a really good job. Not allowing New York any sustained pressure on them. It was just that looked at me like the Bruins were much more under control. And forceful -- the New York Rangers were. -- drill collective wrenches to you Baird looked like a poorly coached team. I don't know the point coached and I think that would kind of almost say. Looking at it looked tired to me they looked physically drained mentally drained. You know if you look back on the on the schedule the raiders were one of those teams that had. I think the fewest players that had played during the lockout -- a lot of these guys look like they've hit the wall. But I the but again I think by doing that you're taking away so the credit to the Bruins deserve they've really went out there -- four lines. Especially a fourth -- last night and that you Wear you down and you know journalistic about driving home last night. The beginning of the year when the Bruins were really playing well but remember student ratio in talking about. The exciting part for me as the Bruins fan watching it was I didn't think they were anywhere near hitting on all cylinders and you about you know what's it gonna take art that I thought the pull the most important part for this hockey team was too. With their plans their team like to have that 2011. Season after the cup -- had that unbelievable November December run. What that he did was they attacked they had a defense jumping into the play they came -- with four lines are specialty teams we're going to have solid goaltending. Andy Ram through the league and I think you're starting to see some of that with the dimension that these young defensemen have brought to this club. All the sudden now you're seeing the defensemen involved in the offense you're seeing that allows the forced to go in front of the net and kind of get some ugly goals by -- putting some dot net front presence. The team's starting to look like the beginning to -- are on all cylinders but there's still locked area. The irony Berrian in -- on some level is that the Rangers stars the one -- thought would be. Affect about their Arnott and guys the fourth line and some of these young defenseman the didn't necessarily prix series -- would be effective are -- seems ironic to me. Yeah really does I think I think the other Rangers stars and they've been struggling I think during the entire playoffs national particular Callahan show just a moment. But just not enough about the speed and pressure and then of course I think we can be sympathetic with the Rangers -- we've seen -- at times. The last few years for long stretches with a power play was as bad as it was last night for the New York Rangers. You not only do you not score goals but like we've been talking about all year long you just -- All the momentum out of the building. -- -- offensive players that are out there they don't feel good about themselves coming up the next couple of ships and other party Pierre McGuire went off on what I did his job. Appointee out the lack of puck pursuit the lack of urgency and desperation when you're on the power play you have to go work. The penalty killers as well lived they just weren't there. And and what do you think changes tomorrow night Barry I assume before this series you liked the bruins' chances right. What's surprised to about the over these first three games what it what happened that you didn't expect to happen. I thought New York close look I'm gonna be deeper more physical. -- to create more offense. And do remember off the broad side we weren't sure what we're gonna receive from three. Rookie defenseman but boy done that we said OK I that was too good albeit with the other holed up in this hostile environment. In New York well I didn't see any breakdown -- your rug I had a couple of defensive miscues like you're gonna have that part of the hockey part of the game but the ice was really bad -- -- bouncing around guys have a tough time controlling it. The boy I think these three. Rookie defenseman I think that provided. The Bruins an element that they desperately needed which was again. That attack mode that transition mode -- -- -- and all the sudden put the Bruins is going to be back on their heels. Now they put the Rangers. Back on their heels and then you start to see how what kind of filters to the team all the studies -- -- waited there he's pushing the puck up as well he's getting deep into the Rangers own self. I think this is showed the team that they have an element that they haven't used. And that when they do use it they become even much more effective team. You know very looking at the time on the ice like you can't think of a time where. Somebody was as impact full as -- important while the entire. A fourth one to be sure shot in particular in six minutes and 42 seconds of ice time you get a lot going on amateur British time. Yeah I really did and of course one of the more important ships may have been you know the -- when he comes on. When the doorsteps trying to suck marshaled into apparently physically come. Manhandled a little bit and don't try to get him off the -- has -- that such a good player for the in this series. And -- face -- right by the bench you could see Marshall like it's gonna yell that and chargers squad to take over here. Shawn Thornton popped on the right it goes right over to doorstep and that they let -- not gonna do that and once. Shot proved his point he went off the Marchand came right back on I thought from that moment on. You could see that -- -- Kelly also with the Lucic hit on stroman who never returned after the epic four check this you can kind of see the momentum shift in the Bruins just took over. What is your opinion we've become of this all morning guy like Brad marsh and agitator investigator whatever you -- column to dirty cheap shot guys sometimes. I'm sure he ever in your opinion -- have to fight his own battles ores are always going to be approach on tour and then have his back. Well he does he does -- has -- he has throughout this season but one of the things that. Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell do so well as they do their intelligence fourth line players I mean not only do they go out there it's what makes the -- that -- -- difficulty to play against it's their depth of their balance. We saw the throttle series. Beginning of that period when Ronald tried to match them with their four ply their fourth line could not. Compete. On speed basis with the talent basis and they had a changer for planet trying keep up. This -- is fourth line gives you shall -- dimensions also. Campbell imply they are your top penalty killers -- just can't imagine how pleased. And happy the players in the dressing room were for the -- simply because they know throughout the season. When it I think would it to game the momentum is not going your way. With the two guys have to go up there all the time and do what they have to do which John -- and and Gregory Campbell where they stick their noses -- they grab guys that Wear their physically overmatched they don't care they do what they have to do for the team and boy. Thirteen mixed truly appreciate what these guys have done from going throughout the season but what they're doing for them right now in the playoffs. You articulated very well look at fourth line means the Boston Bruins team if you're the New York Rangers and you're watching that psychologically what does that do you. They put you back to deal you know it's a situation where it's like hey we thought we can handle. The top two lines but it's the fourth line yeah. -- beating a compelling that would be if that's the way they're beating the beating us by winning one on one battles they're beating us by being more physical. In the corners the puck pursuit of those goals were just phenomenal. And -- by able. I can't believe there might look like your golf game John that -- -- -- -- that back. Yeah that sixty degree flop he would have never seen a comeback like that I know. But that just that puck pursuit of the guys who would stay there than -- to play it had Doug Hamilton -- goes back to him at the point. He had his head up all the time when he shooting which is tremendous doubt that have been difficult for young got to learn. And he sees that he's got into his lane if he's fired this is a really good chance it may get blocked artery just go the other way so what does he do he put it. Purposely just to the side of the net so that allows his team to try and now without -- keep it going to all around just a great shift. A -- how many options does the team have on the power play because it would seem like it might be time for the Rangers to go to the next option -- what they're doing out there isn't working. And they have their party tried everything and they run out of ideas. Well I think there's a fine line between ideas and hard work and I I think when the Bruins were struggling there was many times where you could see. Throughout this season you start to do too many x.s and notes and you say OK you stand here you stand over there and all the sudden. You're not moving your feet you're not making it difficult on -- defense -- it via penalty killers. And you get all worked and I think right now when you watch that new York power play they got so he worked by the Bruins penalty killers and that is -- deflating. Especially on your whole life so that's one of the things that we saw throughout this season for the Borough of the quandary -- public struggled. It's a playoff game throughout the last couple years it's such an important element. Of big game and again what we saw. For the Bruins so far this year in the playoffs with a power play has been better is not even big -- he scored a power play is that you have lots of great chances with legal battle over time. Game when they had you know he could care a couple of crossbar and goal posts that momentum carried over for the next two or three ships. -- -- will it take out one aggressive period to crushed the Rangers tomorrow night wasn't bad bounce for the in the -- the bruins' way to think there already pretty much on the edge of being crushed. Well they're on the edge right now I think the important thing hopefully the Bruins learned from the last series when they were up 31 -- and he came home here. The Rangers are expecting the Bruins to do something in game four of which is that is to go out there and just try and put this series away if they adult. That all the sudden the Rangers start to feel the confidence that hey we have a chance to win this hockey games to be very important for game four for the Bruins to come out. And do a great job early on did not give this New York Rangers team any hope. All right you're a a legit star in your primary. But you fought your fights and of Europe and ask Europe playmaker. Public image in numbers and 8687. -- you you with the connects MVP and yet four fights. Why did you fight did you we forced into it was a just part of the aim at that point. It's part of the game with them -- -- -- territorial battle you've got guys that are pushing you to a certain extent that they feel they can take advantage of you you're going to. And you know I remember from. I put a lot of big physical teams over the years and -- away -- would always say with guys that. So bad that maybe they came off and maybe you got the upper hander didn't get the upper hand and fighters -- -- to elicit. I don't care how many you win. What we care about a company you show up for that showed everybody else with the bit about what that was so important for -- Portugal Thursday lifting it up pushed around our little guys. That's not gonna happen. He's a valuable part of our team if you -- a -- that you and I goal right now and as soon as she doesn't do that. The Bruins on the bench go aha okay we could see what you're made of and from that moment on you could see the emotion shift. Drastically. Either direction. So you think that doorstep not agree to go with -- Did a disservice to himself and his team last night. Although a disservice but I I really -- from apple on you could kind of see the Bruins say exactly right we know that we have you now we know that you won't take on our physically. Tough guys events and I'm trying to think it was before just after that would -- sheets. Stapled -- -- went to the boards. On that tremendous. Four check right and that all the support hit the goal post right after that it was as if the momentum completely changed. -- final would have been idiotic for -- and anyone one game to fight. -- -- Yes yes because it's not a good match for them dig at different he's taken -- now usher ticking maybe Callahan off right. But that's exactly what I dorsett was not there that was what plot to strike -- they were not permitted to allow this to happen. And I thought they didn't need the great part about that was more for the Bruins standpoint was the face off happen right by the bench. And so what the left side Marshall and a standing right by the bench we couldn't see apartment I'm sure it must have heard you just did that say it over here yeah. These steps don't -- -- I'm sure saw -- just look at the -- both forehand and he knew exactly what had to be done that he does does so well. He went out there and point -- A good stop very shot about this modify thanks for the time instructed on the road. What Barry Petersen -- Dennis and Callahan on the AT&T hotline AT&T forgy LTE was speeds up a ten times faster -- three G. AT&T re think possible. More phone calls the a squabble with the afternoon show about rush and -- were also giveaway. Piles of it already chimed in August we have to play the rush song or the speech open minded all the value are you are very -- my -- the -- -- music aficionado feet as -- points out they are really good musicians. Which means nothing to me I just know what I hear you have no choice and that when I hear is -- cat who got to still stuck in the door. When when this little mouse you guys is that saying and we'll have that your phone calls as well.