The Major League Baseball has come and gone, and with each minute that passes, I fear the worst for my beloved Cleveland Indians. They have dealt 1B Ryan Garko, RP Rafael Betancourt, and perhaps the two biggest blows to fan morale, reigning American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee & the lone Indian to make the All-Star team C/1B Victor Martinez.
I've never been Cliff Lee's biggest fan. I once called him "the hack that anchors the Tribe." And that's the nicest thing I can print. I've watched Victor Martinez go through an awful slump earlier this season that culminated on Memorial Day. After going 0-5 in the game, the Indians rallied from down 10 runs down. And Victor came to the plate in the clutch situation in the bottom of the 9th. And he delivered! A big single up the gut to score the game-winning run. It is quite easily one of my favorite sports moments to have been a part of.
I still was not a V-Mart fan, until I tuned in to watch his farewell interview with an increasingly despondent Cleveland media that has become all to familiar with the scene and questions. The first thing I noticed, Victor was wearing sunglasses. Why? Because the poor man had been reduced to tears at the thought of leaving his friends, his family, & HIS team. Martinez did not play anywhere else. He was a "home-grown" talent. And he's cast aside, just because our team won't be playing in October. In that moment, I became a Victor Martinez fan, and I came to a horrifying realization.
Cleveland Indians management has destined the Indians to fail.
How else do you trade the reigning Cy Young winner, and get prospects, none of which are ready to contribute now? Or next year? Why are we planning for 2012? How do you trade someone like a Victor Martinez, without so much as a thank you or a good luck? This weekend, ironically, is Victor Martinez giveaway weekend. A bobblehead Saturday, a backback on Sunday. In the e-mail newsletter announcing the trade, a quote at the bottom made me furious. I won't quote it, rather I'll paraphrase it. "Don't worry, we're still giving away the items listed, cause we could careless about V-Mart." Nice work, Cleveland.
You're probably asking yourself, who in the hell is responsible for this. That would be GM Mark Shapiro, whose claim to fame is the infamous trade of 2002 that sent SP Bartolo Colon to the then Montreal Expos for 4 players (prospects) including OF Grady Sizemore & SP Cliff Lee. Shapiro must think he's got the Midas touch. Well, I would like to be among the many Cleveland fans who would like Shapiro to take a one-way trip the hell out of Cleveland. In fact, I'm listening to a song that just about sums up Cleveland at the trade deadline. It's from Theory of a Deadman; called "So Happy." Take a listen thanks to the fine folks at youtube.
Hey Shapiro, "we're fed up, so get up and get out!"
What does this mean? It means, the Indians will get rid of anyone no matter what. And at any cost. I joked with my friends yesterday that the Indians had just traded me to Cincinnati for a bowl of Skyline chili & a fan to be named later. And I double-checked Sporting News.com & ESPN just to make sure they really didn't! For 455 games in the '90s and early 2000s Cleveland fans sold out Jacobs Field. Guess what? Regressive Field is going to sit empty for quite a while. Except for me.
I won't be hard to find. I'll be the guy holding the sign that says "Fire Shapiro, or they won't come back."