"Radio is a sound salvation, radio is cleaning up the nation"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

radio.jpgFor the purported “Rock ‘N Roll Capital of the World,” Cleveland sure has some lousy radio.

Some will dispute or disprove what I am about to write, but I stand by the belief that if it’s not entirely accurate, it’s at least emotionally accurate, and that’s half the battle:

If you turn on your radio in Cleveland right this moment and do a quick scan of every station, you will hear at least one John Mellencamp song.*

Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.

*While I’m waiting, I’d like to point out that no disrespect is intended to Mellencamp, whose music I generally enjoy. But just once, I’d like to hear something rare off the “Scarecrow” or “Whenever We Wanted” albums — maybe “Minutes to Memories” or “Love and Happiness” – instead of the 1,382,958,134th local airing of “Jack and Diane.”

Now that you are properly pumped by the catchy chorus of “Authority Song,” I’ll bring you the good news: I finally found a Cleveland radio station I like, or, dare I say, love.

I don’t know how long it’s been on the air (I’m usually late to the party with such things), but if you have any self-respect and dignity, you’ll tune in to V107.3 FM. Since my return from Spring Training and discovery of this station, I’ve already heard some live U2, a little Lucinda Williams, some Neil Young, the Raconteurs and some rare Dylan. Stuff I have never heard on any Cleveland station. Ever.

So at the risk of sounding like a pitchman (and an unpaid and unprompted one, at that), do yourself a favor and check it out.

But before you do, read this…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Shin-Soo Choo was the hero of the homestand, capping it off nice with today’s five-RBIs effort and his second career grand slam. He became the 25th Indians player to drive in five or more runs in a game during the month of April. The Indians are 25-0 in those games.
  • Choo is on some kind of a tear. Over the last seven games, he’s batting .545 (12-for-22) with four homers and 12 RBIs. “He was a one-man wrecking crew,” Manny Acta said.
  • Obviously, Choo can’t possibly keep up that pace. But this homestand was big for him, because his slow start, in which he struck out nine times in his first 21 at-bats, was eating at him. He leaned on the likes of Travis Hafner, Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Redmond for advice on not putting too much pressure on himself. “I feel like I played this way in Spring Training,” Choo said. “I didn’t put pressure on myself [in the spring]. The first three or four games, I put pressure on myself. But I talked to some guys and the hitting coach and they told me not to worry too much. I’m trying to see the ball and hit the ball.”
  • Choo is just the second player in the AL to drive in five or more runs in a game this year. The first was Carlos Quentin, who drove in six in Toronto last week.
  • Speaking of driving in runs, Mark Grudzielanek did that in a big-league game today for the first time since July 29, 2008. The only 11 games Grudzielanek played in last year were in the Minors.
  • The Indians’ four-game winning streak is their longest since a five-game streak in late July last year. The Tribe has won five straight overall against the White Sox, and they swept the Sox in Cleveland for the first time since 2003.
  • Not many people were here to see the sweep. Only 10,564 tickets were distributed for today’s game. After drawing 42,061 for the opener, the Indians drew 54,169 over the last five games of the homestand.  
  • The consistency we’ve seen from Fausto Carmona has to be encouraging to the Indians. Has he been dominant? No. But he’s been effective in limiting the damage off him, even when he quickens his tempo a little much and loses some control. In 20 innings, Carmona has walked 12 and allowed 12 hits, but only eight runs have scored on him. Today, Acta pointed out that Fausto threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 25 hitters he faced. We, uh, didn’t see much of that last year.
  • You know who we might see this year? Yohan Pino. I remember Torey Lovullo telling me how much he loved this guy at the tail end of ’09, and the new coaching staff and Lou Marson quickly developed an appreciation for Pino’s stuff in spring camp. In two starts for Triple-A Columbus this year, Pino is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA. Since joining the Indians in the Carl Pavano trade, he is 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts, striking out 25 and walking four in 26 innings. The Indians didn’t protect Pino in the Rule 5 Draft over the winter, and it’s looking like they dodged a bullet.
  • The inimitable Bob Feller on the way injuries are handled in today’s game: “The DL’s the worst thing that’s happened to baseball since the Black Sox scandal,” he said. He was asked if they had the DL in his day. “Hell no,” he said. “If you got hurt, you didn’t play.” And a gallon of milk was about 40 cents. Those were the days.
  • That’s all for today. For the off day, I’ll have a new edition of the Indians Inbox on Indians.com. And a Choo feature is in the works for Tuesday morning. I’ll catch back up with you Tuesday from Target Field.

~AC

33 Comments

The two college stations – WRUW and WCSB – are a breath of fresh air in Cleveland radio. The DJs can sometimes sound inexperienced (which they sometimes are), but each show has a different spin, which is a nice departure from hearing the same ten songs over and over again.

The two college stations – WRUW and WCSB – are a breath of fresh air in Cleveland radio. The DJs can sometimes sound inexperienced (which they sometimes are), but each show has a different spin, which is a nice departure from hearing the same ten songs over and over again.

(If this posts twice, it’s mlblogs fault, not mine.)

The attendance numbers really sadden me. I’ve lived out of state for the last four years, and I simply can’t wait to move back in June to attend a game a week. Breaks my heart that others don’t feel the same way.

I love coming home to Elyria because I can guarantee that I will hear Rush and ZZ Top on the radio within a few minutes. Cleveland radio has always been a drag. I’m sorry it is not getting any better.

Channel 8 (fox) just ripped off ‘Big League Choo’… lame.

Speaking of John Mellencamp what happened to Again Tonight?!? They are not playing it after Tribe victories this year. Now they are playing Cleveland Rocks…

Ha! Thanks, AC, for bringing up Pino. Right now, he seems like the guy most likely to take Westbrook’s spot when we deal him — you heard me. Lewis had a nice outing today, but he’s not dominating like Pino. Perhaps Lewis might be an option as a left handed reliever when Sipp and/or Perez get sent to Columbus. Yes, I’m jumping the gun, but you know it will happen soon enough.
I’m interesting to see what will happen when Branyan is called up. How long will they give Peralta? How many chances will Marte get? How long will they give Hafner? Who will be the regular in left field and 1B?
Our offense is clearly a work in progress.

Preach on AC: I’ve found solace in 107.3, but I also spend a bit of time down at 92.3 as well. I’m sure the fact that one organization owns the bulk of the market doesn’t have a thing to do with the lack of choices.

Quick question: how long is Ozzie Guillen’s leash this year? Do you think the White Sox would pull the trigger if these guys don’t get on track soon?

bv, I’d have to imagine that Guillen’s leash is pretty long. They restructured their roster from old, power-hitting .250 average guys to younger, faster, more athletic speed guys (discounting Pierre). They aren’t playing for the 3-run HR anymore as he attempts to instill the Mike Scioscia management style: stealing bases, first-to-third running, multiple innings to eat up a pitch count rather than the 5 run inning. I think he’s fine.

While I know this would never happen I am curious to know IF Mike Redmond could handle daily catching duties for half of a season as we wait for Santana? We’ve only played 12 games so I will give Marson the benefit of the doubt a little longer but he looks awful at the plate and his supposed greatest asset (as a receiving catcher) has not been displayed yet. In fact, some of those wild pitches charged to those guys should have been passed balls. He looks overmatched at the plate and incapable of dealing with ML pitching. I said it at the time of the trade, Travis D.Arnaud would have been the better catcher to acquire from Philly.

Breaking news that is certain to grab some attention from the gallery:

Michael Brantley has been optioned to Columbus as Russell Branyan is expected to be activated tomorrow before the start of the Twins series.

Lets hear the discontent…

I’m totally fine with sending Brantley down. He hasn’t looked too good. Small sample size so a little unfair to judge him on it but he was given an opportunity and didn’t perform … I think Guillen’s leash will be short. He’s the one who pushed to go with more speed. Right now I think they’re nuts for not signing Dye, Thome or Branyan. They had Pierre DHing in half the games against the Indians, which is insane. To me, they’re overly aggressive on the bases. What’s the point of having Pierre steal 2nd with Konerko at the plate and 2 out? (looked like he was actually thrown out, but the umpire called him safe). If they fail spectacularly, then it’s all on Guillen.

AM: I guess my question about Guillen has more to do with how long the Chicago media/fans will be willing to put up with it. Granted, his biggest fan is now shilling for a website in between his appearances on “Around the Horn”, but if he doesn’t go, someone will, right? Pitching coach maybe?

Not going to give up or get critical about anyone – this is the team we’ve got. If this were a real-world scenario, Marson would probably be in Columbus polishing his skills instead of being forced into the big league lineup. I don’t think rushing Santana’s a good decision either. Why not call up Toregas or Gimenez if we’re just looking for someone to keep the spot warm?

And I will admit that I have been impressed with LaPorta – just wish I could’ve been allowed to make up my own mind and seen the proof in the pudding.

the problem with Toregas or Gimenez is that they would have to be added to the forty man roster in order to make that happen. We really don’t have many position players available for such a move other than potentially Marte. The bullpen is another story though as it will be interesting to see what the Indians do with Hector Ambriz when he’s ready to return. Do you offer him back, try to work out a deal, or cut a guy like Jamey Wright? Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp have to get themselves figured out in a hurry or they will be Columbus-bound. And I have no problem with Brantley being sent down.

Jason Heyward sold tickets in Atlanta. Santana won’t do that in Cleveland. Calling him up and losing him a year earlier makes absolutely no sense, particularly given that we’re only 12 games in — and the fact that our catchers are obviously calling great games, given what our starters have managed to do.
And let’s not look past the fact that the Tribe has won 6 games, five against the rather pathetic White Sox. If they do well on this road trip, it’s a different story. Right now, it would be crazy to start selling off the future for a .500 less than 1/10 of the way into the season.

Maybe they can trade Perez to Arizona for Ambriz. I don’t know that they’ll keep Rafael with the organization. I think they’d be better off just releasing him. He’d have to clear waivers regardless if they tried to send him down, but they have enough pitchers down there in AAA and AA. I’d give him one or 2 more opportunities at most, preferably in situations where he can’t blow the game for them, but so far he looks like the same pitcher as last year, who’s lucky if he can get 50% of the guys he faces outIf Santana is still hitting .400 with like 7 HRs on May 1st, and Marson’s hitting .090, and the Indians are still around .500, do you then call Santana up? Have to, right? I’m surprised so many fans have bought into the “don’t rush Santana” idea, Santana was held the longest in AA of any player in baseball, that’s why his OPS was like 100 points higher than the next best in the Eastern League, because anyone else who hit that well was promoted quickly up to AAA. Jason Heyward played 49 games in AA and 3 games in AAA, and is now in the majors winning games for the Braves. I don’t think the Indians actually believe Santana’s “not ready” (it’s not like they have an experienced veteran in his place, in which case that argument could make some sense, they have another rookie), it’s just an excuse to delay calling him up until June … I didn’t think Marson was going to do too much, but it seems he’s even worse than I thought. Could be a little bit of an unfair evaluation, because everyone but Choo has struggled and Marson has made a few tough luck outs. But if he keeps this up for another couple weeks, there’s no way they can justify keeping him on the big league club

The Indians have never been in a situation where they lost a player when they were eligible for arbitration or free agency, they have always signed players to contracts prior to that point. So service time clock is not the big deal that everyone makes it out to be. It might postpone the time when you have to offer that contract, but if someone can help you now, it’s a pretty nonsensical reason to hold them back. Of course baseball should just change the stupid service time rule so teams can’t pull this … I’m not sure why you think the Indians won’t sell tickets if they perform well, LACF. If that’s the case, then the team should be moved. If they’re in the hunt in June and they’re drawing 10,000 fans a game then they might as well call it quits.

I’ll say this, it’s alot of fun to see Carmona pitch and throw so well again. At the end of the season, he could be our ace, but I don’t want them to trade Jake. Not if he can help this team make some noise in the AL Central, which they can. Make no mistake about it.

I am a lifelong Tribe fan from ND… and I regrettably admit that I’ve never been to Jacob’s. (I will follow you loyal, local Clevelanders who will never refer to it as “Big Insurance” Field.) Anyways…. could a couple of you local Tribe fans clue me in on the attendance situation? I noticed fans were wearing layers this past weekend… and you could see the player’s breath while closeup on camera. Do you think the weekend’s cold weather played a big part in the weak crowd? Is it the economy? Is it King James? Is it Jhonny’s play and the bullpen’s pitching that is taking the gag reflex to the next level? What is it?

Most of the MLB games I’ve attended to date have been at the Metrodome. So… it was an absolute treat to see games at old Busch, Camden, and even the most boring ballpark ever…. US Cellular. I don’t care what the talent is on the field. IMO, the outdoor baseball experience is 2nd to none. So, why doesn’t Cleveland feel that way?

I don’t know why you think Carlos Santana is single handedly going determine whether or not this team performs well, ST. Considering we have 3 guys hitting above .250, I fail to see how calling up Santana is going to make a difference.
And the Tribe has managed to sign a few guys before they became arbitration eligible, sure, but there’s no guarantee that will always happen, particularly with guys that have high ceilings. We’re obviously going to lose Choo because we’re not going to be able to sign him to a long term deal. The more time we have control over young guys, the better off we’ll be.
But, more to the point, what’s the rush? What possible benefit is there to calling up Santana now? We talked all spring about how we had to start Brantley at the beginning of the season (I’m included in that group) because Cleveland needed to see our exciting young players, and look at how many people showed up. Calling up Santana does absolutely nothing for this team unless they’re actually competing a month or two from now, in which case waiting a few more weeks to mid-season wouldn’t be a big deal.

fargokyle:

I refuse to believe the attendance problem is King James. I think the weather hasn’t been good, but last Thursday was absolutely perfect weather, yet 10,000 were at the game. So I would actually go with the notion too many people are angry with the Dolans right now with the recent trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, and C.C. Sabathia. You can also fault the economy for it, but last year at this time, the Indians were able to at least get 20,000, and that includes King James and the quest to a championship in Cleveland. I just feel like the fans are sick of the moves that Shapiro and Dolan have made the last year and a half that today’s fan can’t get emotionally attatched to players. Now, I also think if the Indians continue to play well, the fans will start to slowly come back. I was there last Monday afternoon, and there is no way 42,000 people were there. So either the Indians broke down to purchase some tickets, or some fans paid for tickets only to not go and send a message? Who knows.

dude, I didn’t say that they should call him up now (though I wouldn’t be against it, it would definitely make the games more interesting), I said if it’s May 1st, 2 weeks from now, the Indians are still in the hunt, and Marson’s still hitting .090, and Santana’s still tearing it up in AAA, then yes they should call him up and not wait another month, because having a spot in your lineup that isn’t producing anything will definitely cost you some games and cost you a chance at success. I would bet that the Indians would be 8-4 right now if Santana (or really any reasonably competent hitter) had been with the team, because he would’ve at least got a couple hits, and other than the opener, a couple hits is all they have needed in games they have lost. Plus Santana’s supposed to have a better arm than Santana, and he can’t be any worse at blocking balls. And the Indians signed “a few” players? When was the last time they went to arbitration with anyone? Maybe Shoppach, I forget, but they haven’t gone to arbitration with an important player since the 90s. The early 90s. With Choo they might, but, whatever, all it means is a few million dollars you won’t save a few years from now. They’ve been cheap enough in other areas, that really they should throw the fans a bone every now and then, which is all bringing up Santana a little earlier than expected is. Service time should not be a huge factor when determining when a prospect should come up, teams that have held prospects back have at least had valid, and most importantly veteran players ahead of them, not another rookie who can’t hit. But like I said, I’ll admit that to evaluate Marson so quickly is a little unfair, the White Sox have good pitchers, but if he doesn’t pick it up they’re certainly going to have to make a move. If they don’t, then no one SHOULD go to the games, because that would demonstrate that they really don’t care about winning.

No, it would indicate they care about winning in the future, not just this year. And, like I said, the chances of ONE guy being the difference between whether or not this team competes this year is unrealistic. A lot of things are going to have to happen between now and the theoretical May 1st for calling up Santana to make any sense — more than just Marson hitting. Like I said, most of this team isn’t hitting, and adding a guy who spent less than a month in AAA to the roster isn’t going to suddenly make them contenders — in which case, you’re losing a year of service for absolutely no reason.

AC covered this very topic in the Inbox today.

Cantonguy and Fargokyle:
I think AC is exactly right on the attendance issue. As he’s said in the past, Cleveland is a town that can financially support two teams, but has three. If you look at the 90’s, the Browns were gone and/or the city was booming and/or the Cavs were bad. In some ways, it IS King James’ fault, because people want to pay to see the Cavs. Since Clevelanders will ALWAYS support the Browns no matter how bad they are, this leaves the Tribe to twist in the wind.
As AC has pointed out in the past, it was late September before the stand were full in 2007, and the Tribe was in the thick of things from the very start then.

winning in the future? what, 6 years from now, in a hypothetical situation where Santana’s an All-Star they can’t afford who never signed a contract (which pretty much never happens)? That’s ridiculous. They might have a better shot this year than 6 years from now, who knows what the situation will be at that point. Who knows how Santana will perform, who knows what other prospects they will have … I’m not sure how you can possibly argue that having a guy hitting .100 in the lineup wouldn’t lose you multiple games. It definitely will. Marson has a -2.3 RAR this year. You can’t keep something like that in your lineup. I don’t actually think that Marson will keep hitting .100, but given the hypothetical situation where Marson keeps hitting .100, you’re really still trying to argue that they should keep him over Santana? That’s insane. You are overvaluing the service time thing to the extreme. You realize that the only reason to hold someone back until June, is that it basically gives you a cheap extra 3 months of service (July-September), which doesn’t really benefit you if you’re out of the race by June anyway. And that’s not even getting into the obvious fact that you have no idea how a particular prospect will perform, and whether any arbitration issues are going to come into play. And they’re not going to lose a player because he goes to arbitration a year earlier, it just means they’re going to have to pay more for his services a year earlier than they otherwise would.

Yes, they’re going to pay more a year earlier — not something this organization can afford. Did you see the arbitration cases this year? Teams are paying millions of dollars.
And you answer your own question. The extra time WILL help us determine how good he is, which in turn gives us more time to decide is value. I would much rather have Santana for an extra year later on than at the beginning of what everyone admits is a rebuilding year. Why risk being unable to keep him at a point when our pitching will have matured and guys like Brantley and Chisenhall will be in the line-up every day just for the sake of a team full of question marks? Even two weeks from now, there’s no way of telling what we have. That’s only two more starts for each of our pitchers, and who knows what our bullpen will look like by then.
The other thing to consider is the deals you mentioned. How many of those deals made to avoid going to arbitration are the Tribe holding up as an example of great moves? That extra year could make all the difference in whether we sign a bad, long term deal or a good one.

you have to spend money to make money, right? There are certainly reasons to be cost conscious at times, but you realize arbitration is three years out. Even if they call him up early and he ends up a super 2, that makes 2013 the first year he’d be arbitration eligible. That’s a long time from now, and teams don’t trade players because they can’t afford arbitration. It would up their payroll a bit for 1 year, but how much of an increase are you really going to see from a player who’s in his first year of arbitration eligibility? Probably they sign a contract, and probably they get at most $4-5 million the first year if they’re a pretty good player. (Sizemore got $3 million in 2008 and Martinez got $3 million in ’07, which would’ve been their first arbitration eligible years) They were willing to throw $2 million at Russell Branyan this year. That money alone would probably be half of anything extra they might have to pay Santana in 2013 if he becomes eligibleAnd you’re making a lot of assumptions there, that a.) the pitching staff will “mature” — for all you know, the pitching staff may be better this year then any other year in the near future. Who knows what injuries may occur and what guys will actually be effective, or what they will do this year b.) that Santana as well as guys like Brantley, Laporta and Chisenhall will all become good major league players. c.) that they can’t make a push for the division this year, in which case they drive up revenue. d.) that the baseball universe will be pretty much the same 4 years from now, and the Indians will be continuing to struggle for revenue in a wildly unbalanced system.These are all big unknowns. What is known, is that so far Marson has 1 base hit, has already cost them a couple runs versus what pretty much any generic player they could pluck out of AAA would have provided, and if Marson keeps sucking then he will cost them more runs and losses to the point that it would be difficult to keep pace with the division leader no matter how the other players are performing, in which case attendance will not grow, and revenue will shrink … As far as good contract moves the Indians have made, pretty much every signing except Hafner and Westbrook in the last 20 years … Sizemore, Martinez, Thome, Ramirez, Vizquel to name a few

Ifs and buts, candy and nuts. Too many hypotheticals, no true answers in sight. Btw, video killed the radio star.

I can understand ST’s logic in this argument, at least part of it but I would probably agree with LACF. Even if Marson is hitting .100 in May it should not speed up Santana’s developmental timeline IMO. Plain and simple. That’s where I differ. In a bizarro world I would get to see Santana and Chisenhall on May 1 producing at the ML level like they are in the minors. LaPorta is entrenched at 1B and Brantley is the September call-up guy starting in LF and leading off with Cabrera and Sizemore behind him. Branyan, Peralta and Kearns are just a memory. Unfortunately, that’s just not reality.

As for the attendance issue fargokyle it is a multi-faceted problem IMO. Yes, the success of the Cavs and LeBron James is a factor no doubt. Take your pick between seeing an unknown Indians squad or the best player in the NBA? Not much of a decision as the unknown status weighs heavily on the common Indians fan.

The Browns will almost certainly be #1 here in Cleveland BUT even last year there were blackout scares so much so that on 2 occasions the Browns bought out tickets to achieve sellout status and “donated” them. In one instance they had to request an extension from the NFL. Mike Holmgren not only gives the Browns a potentially brighter future (b/c it can’t get much worse), but his presence ALONE will reinvigorate the fanbase so that no more blackout scares happen anytime soon. Holmgren brings the Browns into the national conversation as does LBJ with the Cavs. The Indians don’t have that. Short of Albert Pujols slumming it for his next contract and coming to Cleveland, this city will NEVER have that LBJ factor on the national stage for an extended period of time. Cliff Lee’s amazing Cy Young year was close. Sabathia and Carmona in 2007 were comparable as well but that ended with a fizzle and a dud.

Obviously the weather didn’t help the weekend portion of the homestand. I know plenty of people that did not go from the Cavs game to the Indians game simply b/c it was 40 degrees outside and they were dressed for an indoor event. Had it been 80 degrees like it was 2 days prior then 5x the people probably would have walked up for tickets IMO. Going to an Indians game used to be THE place to be in Cleveland and if you couldn’t get in you would hang out on E. 9th St. Those 455 games are long gone and we are dealing with an owner than spends money despite the public perception (albeit sometimes in the worst way as we fans see it) and constantly deals from the red b/c he severely overpaid for the team.

True, the economy is bad all over and due to Cleveland’s workforce we were hit before the actual recession was labeled a “recession” but it’s a trade-off game. People used to save money for the opportunity to go to an Indians game, now the idea is the furthest thing from their mind in terms of what they should spend their available dollars on for entertainment.

Thanks amseeley! That was a very enlightening post. Thanks everybody else who chimed in on my attendance question. Sorry I failed to read AC’s inbox before posting. Let’s go get ‘em in Minnie!

One thing AM, where do you get the idea that the Dolans are dealing from the red, and overpaid? Hard to say what the true value of something like a baseball team is, but Forbes values the Indians at $391 million and Dolan bought them for $323 million. Unless that’s wildly inaccurate, Dolan could likely sell for a significant profit at any time

ST, I could obviously be wrong so don’t take my personal spin on it as lock stock gold. I didn’t see the Forbes value but I did see the sale price around the $320M price. The Dolans bought the franchise in late 1999 and was finalized sometime in the first quarter of 2000. That 21% increase in value over cost ($68M) is a one-time profit over time.

My guess from the printed information I have read is that they have been operating out of the red for years. If they lost $16M last year, it reduces the profit dollars from $68M to $52M. And that was just one year. Dolan might have seen a slight profit in 2007 b/c of the playoff games but the season games weren’t selling out, as AC has mentioned, so I would believe the profit from 2007 would be minimal in comparison to what it could have been for a lengthy title run.

The Dolan’s tenure has seen more down years than positive ones. Those down years would negate the potential profit that the Dolans would get ONLY upon selling the team. If he paid $323M for the team then he would be operating from a perspective of value AT THAT MOMENT in time. Trying to analyze some future sale price and incorporating that into your bottom line is way more business economics than I took in college so I’d struggle with the process of understanding and/or explaining it. But I hope you can now understand what I meant by overpaying and red operating costs.

I don’t believe they’ve lost money in any year other than perhaps last year. Forbes also gave the Indians operating income as 10.1 million last year. They could have lost money after you factor in other costs, but not a lot, you can’t really complain if your EBITDA in your worst year is 10.1 million and you can sell the team for $60-70 million more than you bought it for. I’m not really sure where Forbes gets their numbers, since I didn’t think a lot of that stuff was public, but they publish a business of baseball article every year and you can view their lists: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/33/baseball-valuations-10_Cleveland-Indians_333426.html
I do know that MLB as a whole has become hugely profitable over the past 10 years. With revenue sharing, there is a lot of money getting tossed around to all teams. The top team for operating income according to Forbes for 2009 was the Marlins, who had a nothing payroll. That’s where the whole big market team/Scott Boras complaint that the smaller market clubs aren’t spending money that they’re receiving is coming in. I’m not one to argue that the Indians should’ve gone out and signed John Lackey this year, but the amount of concern for the Indians’ future income is overblown, and they should realistically be able to afford a couple large contracts next year once Westbrook and Wood are off the books. Really, Dolan bought at a perfect time, because baseball revenue has exploded since that point.

And just to add another point, I don’t buy into the “Larry Dolan’s cheap” argument, because he’s spent money when he was asked to, the failing has more been from Shapiro, who wanted to spend small amounts of money on guys like Dellucci, Michaels which add up to a good chunk of change, when they should forget signing those kind of overpaid veterans (the White Sox made the same mistake this past offseason times 10) and instead lay down some money on an actual impact free agent, even if that’s in the $15 million/year range. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s a better value signing. They’ve made the same mistake on their draft picks early in the Shapiro regime, though they seem to have come around to targeting higher risk/reward players. I realize they’ve been somewhat hamstrung by Wood, Westbrook and Hafner, but next year they should able to afford a top of the line free agent and extend Choo if he has a good year (unless Choo/Boras just aren’t going to sign any contract), since by the time they’ll be paying Choo the big bucks, Hafner will be off the books as well. I’ll be curious to see what they do this next offseason … I’m also curious to see what Masterson does tonight against the Twins deadly lefty lineup — Most Interesting Game of the Year

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