There is an issue with the Cleveland Indians. They haven’t been a consistent contender since the mid 1990s. During that period of time and perhaps even in 1994, there would be a new division created being the AL Central. This had to have been seen as an opportunity to actually contend for a change. No longer would they be locked up in a division with New York or Boston.
Since the Dolans have taken control and bought the Indians, the results have been less than stellar. If anything, they have been mediocre and that’s just the nicest way to put it. The 2000s saw the Indians finish with four winning seasons, five losing seasons, and one .500 season. The 2010 season has seen more of the same and it looks to be a case of another losing season. Yes, this team had losing seasons beforehand but this could be a sign of horrendous times to be an Indians fan.
There was a time that no one thought they would contend and that was during a period from the 1960s all the way up to the early 1990s in which they were nowhere near a contender whatsoever. The best way to describe it would be embarrassing and couldn’t sell out games anymore. If you’re not winning, no one is going to watch. Of course, those teams didn’t have the AL Central to even have a better shot at getting into the post-season.
Yes, the Indians are not a large market and that’s not what is being asked. The question should be why are they not contending? It can’t be because of the division. Remember, anyone can take that division. They are not in the AL East with the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox. The competition as of 1998 has been the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals. There is no intimidator. The White Sox don’t contend every year. The Twins have started contending and the market size for them isn’t even that large. Good drafting for them and not being afraid to contend has worked well for them. Kansas City is just a joke and doesn’t even put forth an effort to even try to contend.
Cleveland just seems to suffer from something called inferiority complex. They do not have confidence in themselves in terms of wanting to put a winner. The stadium is no longer selling out and can’t even become half-way full due to a poor product on the field. It’s not a matter of being cheap but more of a matter of principal. Perception will remain that if the organization trades their best players, they will be labeled whether they deserve it or not.
The Cleveland Indians must remove that if they are to become a contender and not embarrass the city any further and the fans as well. If they want to sell out, they have to put on a good product and it has to be consistent. If they do that and get the trust of people of Cleveland, perhaps then they will start drawing. Until that happens, you can expect the Cleveland Indians to not even be able to fill the stadium half-way up at the bare minimum.