Game 8, Mariners at Indians
LHP Washburn v LHP Lee. 4:05, KSTW-11.
Will Washburn be able to dominate a team he’s not angry at?
The Mariners front office the last two years has pointed at the Indians as an example of what they didn’t want to do. We’ve agreed — Dave wrote a great post a long time ago about how the M’s financial advantage means that you can wallpaper over a tear-down job as you rebuild, for instance — and we see a lot of comments when this subject come up that say, essentially, “yeah, that would be soooo horrible, if the Mariners rebuilt as quickly and as effectively as the Indians have.”
And while it’s of course a more complicated situation than that, it’s true that the Indians are my favorites to win the division, and have done a great job, while the Mariners haven’t, and that they’re a better team this year.
Chuck Armstrong, among others, has argued that the team’s commitment to spending money, even badly, has been an expression of the team’s compact with fans, part of a keep-showing-up-and-we-keep-spending pact.
In particular, they’ve mocked Cleveland a little, saying “they may be better off than we are, but they really tore down and they’re drawing ten thousand fewer fans a night now.”
Check out ESPN’s attendance numbers. The Mariners in their seven games averaged 29,330 fans. Cleveland so far has drawn 30,287 in three. Mind you, that’s 42k in the first home game and 25k/23k on a Sat/Sun (the M’s did 38k/27k against the A’s… but it looks like that gap’s closing.
Then what’s the argument? “If you hadn’t kept enabling us by coming out to the game, we would have built a better team faster?”
It’s entirely valid for the M’s to say that their situation’s much different than the Indians, or from any team — but the business side guys seem to want to bag on the Indians for what they’ve done, as if it’s alienated their entire fan base, while being unwilling to admit that their massive revenue streams make them much more like Boston, which has spent much more freely, and wisely, and accomplished greater things.
Anyway. I really like the Indians, it’s a well-run franchise, and this should be good baseball.