Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Indians are seizing a golden opportunity

To put it plainly, the Cavaliers stink.

They work hard. They just are not good.

The Browns? They're less than average. If  they were anything better than that, they wouldn't be picking sixth in the NFL draft later this month.

The NFL is mired in a lockout, while the NBA seems headed in that direction in the near future.

THIS was the Indians chance to win the city's heart.

And so far, they're doing it.

Following Monday's late-night win over Anaheim, the Fighting Braves of the Cuyahoga had won eight straight games after losing the first two. I was at that home opener, the one in which they were down by two touchdowns before showing any life. 'They're blowing this opportunity,' I thought to myself.

Not just to win the game and get off to a rare good start, but to allow the city to fall in love with them while others around them - ie the Cavs and the Browns - and their leagues were letting them down.

To be fair, the Cavaliers were expected to be like this after the untimely departure of LeBron James. At BEST they were going to be mediocre this year and lose a lot of fans. And they've been worse than mediocre and have lost fans, as expected.

The Browns were decent last year, but the fact remains they are drafting sixth overall later this month. With the current lockout, who knows when they will get back on the path to respectability.

This was the Indians' chance to win the city back. To turn the heads who had ignored them over the past handful of mediocre-to-bad years and figuratively say, "Hey everyone, look at us" with a good start and early wins.

Granted, we're only 10 games into a 162-game schedule. A lot can happen in the next 152 games, including injuries and a huge downward spiral.

Coming back to earth, skeptics would call it.

But through 10 games, the Indians are doing what it takes to win. They're getting good starting pitching, lockdown performances out of the bullpen, timely hitting, early leads and clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.

In the season-opening homestand, the Indians drew around 10,000 fans per game after the opening-day sellout. The crowds should improve when the next homestand starts on Friday against visiting Baltimore.

It might be on a small increase, and that would be understandable. Scorned, hurt and disappointed fans don't all come back at once. They trickle in slowly, as if afraid to fall in love all over again because of their fear of being hurt all over again.

But if the Indians keep doing what they're doing - winning - the fans won't stay away for long.

The love affair between the Indians and their fans can be rekindled.

The Indians are doing their part. The fans will reciprocate if their team keeps winning.



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