Monday, September 12, 2005

Second-team syndrome

Dave still thinks it's a disgrace.
The Indians practically flung open the gates to Jacobs Field and let the entire city in for their Sunday night game against the Twins. All general admission seats were $5 from Wednesday clear up until the first pitch. That was three whole days to get a plethora of far-more-expensive seats for one Abraham note.
Four of us went, including Dave (a regular reader of this feature) and yours truly. Dave scored $20 seats in section 102 (lower deck, right-center field) on Wednesday. The crowd was loud as the Indians jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back, winning 12-4. It was their seventh straight win, clinched their first winning season in four years (now 82-61), and essentially knocked the Twins out of playoff contention. The Twins are now 14 games back in the division and 8 1/2 back in the wild card race with less than three weeks to play.
Everything's grooving. Tribe fever, right?
Along came the eighth inning, and the attendance figures were announced. Slightly over 38,000. Now, considering the Indians still rank in the bottom five in attendance this year, a crowd within 5,000 of a sellout is pretty good.
But, when almost the whole stadium is $5, it left something to be desired for Dave.
Almost as soon as I uttered "that's pretty good," he followed with "that's pathetic."
I was fine with the size of the crowd. It was a Sunday night after kids are back in school, so I factored that in. But the condition of the crowd bothered me more.
Many in the crowd were drunk holdovers from that afternoon's Browns game, who decided to come to the Indians game and drink after drinking before, during and after the Browns game.
Not that it matters to the change-counters at the box office, but there were quite a few loud, red-faced, slurred speech fans dotting the stands. Some were hardly paying attention to the game. In our section, some drunkards decided to get a chant of "Yankees suck" going. Why, I don't know. The Indians might not even play the Yankees again this year.
In the men's room, no less than three guys wearing Indians shirts and Browns hardhats came in, stood at the urinals, and while waiting for nature to run its course, started chanting "HEEEERE WE GO BROWNIES HERE WE GO! WOOF WOOF!" over and over, so loud it rang off the cinder block walls of the restroom. Their voices were noticeably slurred.
The sad part is, if it wasn't for the drunk slobs left over from the Browns game, who knows what the attendance would have been? There were certainly enough people who appeared to be Browns retreads at the Indians game to make me think there was a sizeable walk-up crowd. In other words, of the estimated 20,000 fans who bought the discounted seats, only a fraction actually went out of their way to purchase the tickets between Wednesday afternoon when the promotion started, and the end of the Browns game on Sunday afternoon.
For a town as starved for a winner as Cleveland is, that is pathetic to me. The Indians' run at the playoffs is the biggest sports story in this town since LeBron James was drafted by the Cavaliers. But here the Indians are, playing second fiddle to a football team that promises little this season, getting their drunk, loud fans as Sunday night hand-me-downs.
It's an indictment of so-called "fans" who want to treat any sporting event as just another excuse to get drunk. It's also an indictment of Indian fans who whine about having to endure a rebuilding project, then don't show up when the team is good again.
Will the real Tribe fans please stand up, and get the heck down to Jacobs Field?


Abrasivist said...

Another Brown's loss like the one on Sunday should have sports fans noticing what the Indians are accomplishing. Then again, more Brown's play like that versus Bengals may make a jigsaw puzzle a good alternative.

Emperor said...

It WAS pathetic. For a playoff contending team that's been in the proverbial shitter for 3 years, admist a football team that is little better then the one halfway down the state, at $5 a ticket and we could only muster 38,000 of a 43,500 capacity building. And to me, its NOT good enough, nothing less then a sell out would be. And now that you mention it, you're right. If it wasn't for the smashed tailgater, DawgPound rejects from Browns Stadium we'd have been lucky to get 25,000! As I said last night, this will be a hot topic for the show on Saturday night.