The Indians are also routinely among the bargain shoppers in free agency. Looking in the scratch and dent isle for a deal, asking the representative can they buy the display model with an extended warranty. Fair or not, the fans don’t trust that ownership will spend their own money to make the team a winner let alone the revenue they bring in. In the end, the Dolan’s haven’t hit the necessary nerves to change fan perception about their frugalness. They say it only takes 1 lie to destroy 100 truths. In the Indians case, it only took a few words from several years ago to break their trust with the fans, when ownership stated they would not outspend their profits to improve the team.
“It’s not the right time to spend. No question about that, it’s not the right time to spend in the cycle of this franchise. The spending is deficit spending. When New York and Boston spend, they’re spending from their profits. It’s a riskier proposition for clubs like us to spend. We’re taking a far greater financial risk than whatever it is a large-market club spends on a large free agent. It’s the unfortunate nature of our game.”
Ask yourself how long have you worked at your current employer? Did they value tenure? So who was the last Indians Player to pay with the team for 8 consecutive years?* Hard to love a team and want to go see a group of random players on a random Tuesday. Movies with an unknown cast do so well against all-star mega names. They want more people to come down, get a few position players that the fans can buy into and keep them around. Many of us have a place we frequent and spend on our money at. We go there cause we know they’re not going anywhere, we’ve built a report, there’s an emotional investment that’s been established. Once the Indians have a number of recognizable players that fans can trust and that are everyday contributors that should build interest, which should lead to more fans in the building.
To simply blame the Dolan’s for the public relations faux paux would be short sighted. The economy over the years has not been the best, and you can look at the issues north east Ohio has had with the local economy and job growth, and how it has affected people’s discretionary income. The unemployment rate from 2008-2016 in Cleveland (9.2.) is close to a full two points below the rate for Cuyahoga County (7.3) and the state of Ohio (7.3). According to the Federal Reserve a healthy unemployment rate should range from 4.5-6 percent. All which are higher than the national average at 4.9.
When money gets low, you have to make choices on what you will do with your free time. Are you going to spend a couple thousand dollars on season tickets on the risk of the team not being good, or will you plan a vacation getaway? Will you decide to cut back on family nights out to dinner just to go downtown, and spend money on parking, food and merchandise and spend more at the ball park than you would have at a restaurant? When the household requires more financial attention, entertainment options will be cut back and the in hierarchies of Cleveland sports, the Indians are firmly in last until the Cavs stop winning. You might be inclined to make the argument that the Browns don’t suffer this same fate. Well, yes, you’re correct, however, the Browns were gone for 3 year and suckered fans into buying into a bad agreement with personal seat license fees, which would make it harder to not support the browns. Plus, the Browns play once a week, there’s a buildup, anticipation for the games that you don’t have with baseball. There are 162 games, no game until August and September feels like it could make or break the season. Additionally, when something comes on almost every day, there’s no urgency to see it, with a game on every night, there’s a feeling of ‘what’s the rush’ when it comes to going to an Indians game. A thought to consider, the city of Cleveland may no longer be a city that can support 3 major sports franchises. While the nation as a whole is experiencing job growth, the Indians fan base isn’t experiencing the same improvement. Perhaps for the city for to improve its financial conundrum, the city and its citizens need to live as close to under their means as they can and maybe that includes losing one of its sports franchises.