Mr. Ocker:

Thanks for article on Cleveland’s operating model vs. St. Louis,’ among others. I have followed the Cardinals since 1957. I have also been a Tribe fan since moving to Akron in 1965.

Although the Red Birds have traditionally drawn from a multi-state region, you correctly point out that Cleveland and St. Louis are similar-sized markets.

The Cardinals have invested in the farm system, but they also carefully compete in the free agent market. They don’t spend “stupid money,” but find a way to sign a top-flight free agent annually to gap-fill. Mark McGwire, Jim Edmunds, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman are historical examples.

Last year they set a limit on their participation in the Albert Pujols derby, instead signing Carlos Bertran and re-signing Yadier Molina, the best catcher in the game.

The Cardinals’ approach and commitment to winning gives the game-day ticket fans and season ticket prospects the confidence to show up, even in lean years. This is in contrast to Cleveland, where you previously addressed the lack of trust in the ownership’s business model.

I sat next to Larry Dolan several years ago at a luncheon. Nice guy, and I don’t have a problem with him trying to run the club profitably. However, I don’t think the Dolans will ever operate in the St. Louis mode, and Tribe fans will be treated to ballclubs like those of the ’70s and ’80s for years to come.

Jim Kroeger

Akron

Dear Jim:

Most fans who think things through have come to the same conclusion.

Sheldon Ocker

Sheldon:

In your article on the various reasons that Cleveland fans are discouraged, I couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

However, Mark Shapiro shouldn’t go unscathed. As president of the organization, he has been the man in charge for many years now. The drafts under his leadership have been horrendous. I can’t remember the last decent trade he made since the Bartolo Colon deal; and while that trade was excellent in the short term, it hasn’t worked out so well for the Indians long term.

His signings of free agents has been just as bad. I do not understand why his name never comes up in the fiasco known as the Cleveland Indians.

Charles E. Ostrout, Jr.

Dear Charles:

For the past two years, because Shapiro has been club president, he has not directly exercised control of baseball operations of your fiasco known as the Cleveland Indians.

General Manager Chris Antonetti holds the baseball reins, and I don’t think Shapiro overrides his decisions. At least not often.

S.O.