Indians Could Finish With Lowest Attendance In MLB For Second Time In Three Years
The Indians "might be out of the race for the playoffs, but they are embroiled in another competition as one of four teams trying to stay out of last place in attendance," according to Sheldon Ocker of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. As of Sunday, the Astros rank 27th in average attendance with 21,140, the Indians are 28th with an average of 21,021, the A's are 29th 20,351 and the Rays are last 19,925. The Indians "finished in the cellar in 2010 with an average crowd of 17,181 and total attendance of 1,391,644." Last year, "thanks to the club's early success, attendance increased sharply to 1,840,835, a rise in the standings to 24th place." But this year, even though the Indians "remained in the race into July, their inconsistency kept fans from buying in." Indians SS Jason Donald said, "Every player would rather play in front of a sellout crowd. That's what makes it fun. When there's a big crowd, a little more adrenalin is flowing. At home, a big crowd is your home-field advantage. But even if it's a small crowd, you know (they are die-hards) cheering for you" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/27).
FORK IN THE ROAD: In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes wrote, "One of two things will happen with the Indians this winter." The Indians will "try to add quality talent from outside the organization to meld with a group of decent young players." Or they are "going to trade players from that core to fuel another rebuilding process." It all "depends on the kind of commitment ownership is willing to make." What this season has "made clear is that a team with a decent core of young players needs an injection of prime talent, either through free agency or trades, to win." Since the Dolans have owned the Indians, GMs Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti "have tried to do things differently." Instead of "rebuilding by finishing last for eight to 10 years in a row like other teams, while reaping the high draft picks that come with 100-loss seasons, they tried to speed up the process by trading veterans for talented prospects to inject into the upper levels of the farm system." Ownership can "fire manager Manny Acta, Antonetti and Shapiro," but "nothing will change unless they give their baseball people enough money to pursue the best available talent over an extended period of years" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/26).