So where are the Indians' fans?
Just got done watching the Indians’ comeback victory over the Chicago White Sox Thursday night on the MLB Network.
Exciting in a number of ways – not the least of which was the manner in which they overcame a 3-0 deficit after one inning – and disappointing, exceedingly disappointing, in one very important aspect.
The city of Cleveland, supposed home of some of the best and most savvy sports fans in the country, apparently does not believe the Indians are one of the best teams in not just the American League, but all of major league baseball.
This is a first-place team in the AL Central Division, a team that leads its division by six games with only 43 games left and shows no signs of packing it in.
Why, then, did this first-place team, this team that has surprised most observers of the game and not only held onto first place with a zealous fervor but did so by stretching its lead, why, then did only 12,982 fans show up at Progressive Field Thursday night for the finale of the White Sox series?
Why did this first-place and very entertaining team draw only 41,210 fans for the entire three-game series in a ballpark whose capacity is 35,225? That’s not only embarrassing, it’s pathetic.
The players on this fun-loving team have to wonder where are all the fans of Cleveland? Playing in front of more empty seats than seats that are occupied must be frustrating.
Just what do the Indians have to do to warrant support from the community? Play perfect baseball? Seems like it.
Isn’t this the city that lovingly supported the Cavaliers in their march to the NBA championship? The city that annually falls in love with a professional football team that annually embarrasses it?
So why are the Indians and Oakland Athletics neck and neck for the second-worst home attendance in the majors? Were it not for the Tampa Bay Rays, who play in probably the worst parks in the majors, they would be last.
Cleveland was once hailed as one of the best baseball towns in the1990s when the Indians sold out what was then called Jacobs Field for 455 regular season-games from June, 1995-April 2001.
Where has that support gone? Did everyone blow all their sports entertainment money on the Cavaliers? The lack of support for the Indians this season has been downright shameful.
Other franchises are putting the Indians to shame. The Detroit Tigers, who trail the Indians by six games, drew 34,469 fans Thursday . . . in an afternoon game. The defending World Champion Kansas City Royals, struggling to play .500 ball this season, lured 30,599 fans Thursday night.
It was 79 degrees and partly cloudy Thursday night in downtown Cleveland. A perfect evening for baseball. No excuse not to come down and watching this entertaining team of baseball players.
This is not a losing team. Its longest losing streak remains at three. It owns one of the best starting pitching staffs in the majors. And the keep-the-line-moving lineup has produced surprisingly solid offense.
Maybe the fans believe the Tribe will fold down the stretch. Just another big buildup for a bigger letdown. That will not happen. Too bad the great sports fans of Cleveland won’t be there in person to witness it.