The New Old Indians…


Remember back in the day, when the 7th inning would come along and Slider could be found on the parking deck bridge into the stadium in center field peeling back another number?  The number of course represented the then unprecedented run the Indians and their fans made in the mid to late 90’s.  The 455 straight sell outs of their home games was a record that no one thought possible in Cleveland.  From June 12, 1995 until April 4, 2001, close to 6 years and crossing 7 MLB seasons, almost 20 million fans packed “The Jake”.  I personally remember the days that the Tribe tickets went on sale because my parents would be on the phone with Ticketmaster while my sister and I would be on the computer.  Two years we were able to get tickets for Opening Day.  The seats may have been high enough to be in the flight path of a plane coming in to Cleveland International Airport, but the experience definitely outweighed the altitude.  How is that for a dose of nostalgia?

This week I was talking with my good buddy Jake Snake who is now a left coaster as well.  We were discussing the recent trade the Cavaliers have made and then turned our attention to baseball because of the recent news of Mark Shapiro moving to Club President after the season.  In our talks we began recalling how close Cleveland has come to winning a championship in our lives.  Soon thereafter we came up with an idea for the Indians organization.  Obviously they haven’t been able to sell tickets like they used to and we thought up something that might be able to help them out.  Check it. 

We know that the Dolans hate to spend money.  So we thought why not spend less money on players that people in Cleveland love?  Can you imagine going to a game and seeing Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel in the lineup?  Sure, they would probably get crushed almost every game, but how is that different from what is going to happen this year?  I’m not being a pessimist here, I’m being a realist.  I can’t imagine the Indians getting more than 57 wins.   I say that because I definitely think 105 losses is imminent.  For an example, Let’s look at their April schedule:


Yikes, we start off the year with the White Sox, who are closing in on Johnny Damon faster than I on a cheeseburger.  We face them in a 3 game series but unfortunately we’ll have to face the 2007 NL Cy Young Winner Jake Peavy and 2009 no hitter Mark Buehrle during that stretch.  Also fans, let’s not forget about the force that is closer Bobby Jenks, who slimmed down this off season.  Next up are the Detroit Tigers.  Tribe will most likely face Jeremy Bonderman and Armando Galarraga.  Even if we split the first two, its almost a sure bet to get kicked in the nuts by Justin Verlander come Sunday.  Did I mention those first 2 series are also on the road?  The rest of April sees us playing the Rangers at home and another series (yippee) with the White Sox.  Rounding out April with a West Coast road trip that will probably result in me upchucking in my mouth.

alcsSo, with the plan we have come up with we will have the fans favorite players in the lineup again.  This will in turn draw a better crowd and generate more money.  Did you hear me Larry Dolan?  More money!  Less you have to spend!  This plan can bring the morale back up in a town that needs it more than ever (thanks Forbes).  Sure, they might get beat pretty bad, but can you imagine the stadium when they win?  I’m drifting back to the 1997 ALDS against the Yankees…Ahhh…  I know that these players would not be able to play every day, so in parenthesis is their counterpart.  Anyway, here is the starting lineup I would have for the New Old Indians…

Manager: Mike Hargrove (Manny Acta)

1.)    Kenny Lofton (Grady Sizemore) – Centerfield

2.)    Michael Brantley – Left Field

3.)    Omar Vizquel (Asdrubal Cabrera)  – Short Stop

4.)    Jim Thome (Matt LaPorta) – First Base

5.)    Shin Soo Choo – Right Field

6.)    Jhonny Peralta – Third Base

7.)    David Justice (Travis Hafner) – Designated Hitter

8.)    Carlos Baerga (Luis Valbuena) – Second Base

9.)    Sandy Alomar (Lou Marson) – Catcher

Now obviously this is just something to get us through our workday and we know that this would be impossible, but for fans that watched these players inspire a city, I think it would be a treat.  I didn’t totally disassemble the current roster but some cuts would have to be made.  For pitchers, bring me back Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia with Chuck Nagy as pitching coach and I’m good (that’s assuming Fausto Carmona remembers how to throw strikes this year).  Let me know what lineup you would go with…

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