Part of the joy felt during the glory years of Jacobs Field, the Cleveland Indians ever in contention, consecutive sellouts spanning six years, ending in April 2001, was savoring just how far the club had come. The devoted fan knew the misery of the many losing seasons, the delight in winning, thus, all the deeper.
Well, things have changed at Progressive Field, new name, same venue. The Indians are in the thick of the chase for the two wild card spots in the American League playoffs, and they are having trouble on some game days cracking 10,000 in attendance, or one-quarter of capacity.
Yes, there are explanations, for instance, lingering fan unhappiness with the ownership, the perception hard to shake of a team that develops talent only to see it vanish to wealthier operations. Recall, the Indians actually opened the checkbook this past off-season, explaining, in part, why they have been in contention.
Winning is supposed to be the salve. Most puzzling is that this is an attractive team, starting with its resilience, rebounding from dry stretches and bad moments to climb back into the picture. Yet on Monday evening, the club drew 9,600 for a game against the Kansas City Royals. And Akron, Cleveland and the rest of Northeast Ohio like to boast about being a great sports town?