Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The streak

You think Cleveland sports teams can't keep a good thing going? Hogwash.

Every year at this time, the Indians put their most cherished streak on the line, every year we wonder if this is the year it's going to be broken, and every year they seem to come through at the 11th hour.

If that's not drama, I don't know what is.

You see, the Indians have not been forced to the salary arbitration table since 1991. If you don't know the last Indian to go to salary arbitration,* then you are not truly a fan. I mean, it's in the paper at least six times every January.

You might think that's a dumb record to be proud of. I'll tell you that in small-market baseball management circles, a string of 15 years without an unscheduled 300 percent bump in pay for one of your key players is akin to the Atlanta Braves' decade-and-a-half division title run. It is impressive.

Which is why we should all be waiting on pins and needles to see if the Indians can come to terms with Jason Davis.

Davis is the last of the Mohicans among the ranks of the unsigned Tribe players after Jason Michaels, Matt Miller and Rafael Betancourt all agreed to terms in the past few days. Davis is the annual last man standing, the man who can break the bank and drag the Indians to the negotiating table ahead of schedule.

If the streak ends at Davis, that blood is on his hands and he will officially be the most reviled Cleveland athlete since ... well ... the last athlete we decided we sorta-kinda didn't like. Jeff Garcia, maybe?

So for the love of all that is good and decent, Jason, agree to terms. Don't jeopardize our marvelous streak. Next January, I want to be able to open the sports page and be reminded, yet again, that no Indian has gone to salary arbitration since 1991.

*Greg Swindell. Like you didn't know.

Update 1/18: Davis has signed a one-year deal. The streak lives!


Suss & The Family Stone said...

My streak's better. I haven't offered arbitration to anyone in 23 years.

Mark said...

I'm looking at Davis's stats...pretty pedestrian. Is it just that the Tribe needs bullpen help that badly?

Wait, what the hell am I asking?

Anonymous said...

papa cass, love your blog, man. keep up the good work. anyway, in this article about "the streak", you said the last player that took the indians to arbitration was greg swindell, right??? how come the indians say the last time they went to arbitration was with "the guv'nor", jerry browne??? surely you can't be wrong, can you???

hee-hee, dave . . .

Erik said...

In 1991, the Indians went to arbitration with both Browne and Swindell. But Swindell is the one everyone seems to remember.