We all know that 2012 is now a lost season, but it isn't over yet. The Cleveland Indians are two games up on the Minnesota Twins for the worst record in the American League going into Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Tigers.
Having now compiled a 20-45 record since losing first place on June 24, the Indians' struggles are enough to make even the biggest, most devoted fans question their relationship with the club. After all, even the oldest Indians fans who were there or remember the 1948 championship are few and far between in the 64 years that they have patiently or angrily waited.
So, with the NFL season officially starting Wednesday night and the Cleveland Browns playing their first game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles in Cleveland, what is there that can still make Cleveland Indians fans hang around at Progressive Field, watch eagerly on Sports Time Ohio or listen in to Tom Hamilton on the radio?
Surprisingly, there are several reasons why Cleveland sports fans should still be a part of the remaining 27 games in the MLB season for the Indians. There are even similarities between the Browns and Indians that will surprise you.
Above is Cleveland Browns rookie running back, Trent Richardson. He has not really worked much this season due to offseason knee surgery and he won't be playing any games on Monday nights this season.
That's right, folks, the Cleveland Browns don't play football on Mondays in 2012; the Cleveland Indians, however, play three more games on Mondays before the end of the season comes on October 3.
The Indians are 9-6 in Monday games in 2012, good for a .600 winning percentage. Unfortunately, the other six days of the week, the Indians are just 48-72, a .400 winning percentage.
While Cleveland Browns fans may wish for more exposure for their team on Mondays, Cleveland Indians fans would probably clamor for more Monday games, as well. The only issue is that a regular season in baseball would take over three years to play, fitting a 162-game season into a 52 week year.
Tune into the Indians on Mondays to see action that no one else will provide on Mondays the rest of the season!
Above is Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden. Weeden is the new savior to the Cleveland Brown franchise after lighting up scoreboards for Oklahoma State in 2011. The only issue with Weeden is that he won't be able to toss any touchdown passes on Tuesday nights!
That's right, folks, the Cleveland Browns don't play football on Tuesdays in 2012; however, the Cleveland Indians play four more games on Tuesdays before the end of the season comes on October 3.
The funny thing about the Cleveland Indians is that when they have rookies, they don't tend to be 28 years old. For all of the hope that Brandon Weeden brings to the Cleveland Browns, there was once a guy just like him, Chris Weinke, who did well in college and flopped in the professional ranks.
Weeden may not be like Weinke in the long run, but when you have a rookie that is 28, how long is that player going to have an impact on your franchise? Andrew Luck will turn 23 next week and Robert Griffin III won't turn 23 until February; Brandon Weeden will actually turn 29 in October. Five years in the NFL is a lifetime. Gale Sayers career was over by the time he was 29! That is how the NFL, age and injuries work.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Chris Perez are 26 years old; Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Zach McAllister are 25 (McAllister will be 25 in December); Lonnie Chisenhall will be 24 in October;
While the Indians have not been successful, the core of talented players is still young. If ownership signs talented players to fill in the spots around them instead of incapable stop-gaps, the Indians could be in for a huge bounce-back in 2013.
Watching young talent reach high levels of achievement is part of the fun of sports. The drafting, trading and development of baseball players to manipulate the future of a franchise is the most entertaining and time consuming part of following baseball in my disgusting life as a fanatic. The Indians have a deeper and younger group of talent which, if they actually build around the right group, could become a solid contender for many years.
Watch baseball on Tuesday and bask in the glory of the Tribe's young core!
Above is the one of the worst moments in Cleveland Brown history. John Elway's drive in the 1986 AFC Championship led to three more playoff appearances and the dismissal of Marty Schottenheimer after the 1988 season. The Browns have only made the playoffs twice since 1990 with one of those times coming since the Browns were brought back to Cleveland in 1999.
The franchise fell apart due the a change in leadership, much like the Indians sale to the Dolan family. Since Jacobs sold the team in 2000, the Indians have made the playoffs twice. They have fallen on their face the last couple of seasons, after showing promise at the beginning of the season.
Fans still attend Browns games. There are ten games in Cleveland Stadium each year, counting the preseason, and 81 games at Progressive Field. While there are more opportunities to see the Indians, why is Progressive Field so empty?
The Cleveland Browns that you know today aren't the Art Modell-owned team that turned their back on you. But still, what have they done for you lately?
While the Indians were in the playoffs from 1995-1999, again in 2001 and finally appearing again in 2007, the Browns weren't there for you. If it wasn't for the Indians in 1996-1998, where would Cleveland sports fans be? Below a bridge somewhere, that's where!
Cleveland supports lovable losers and they have done so for many years. Fans who turn their backs on the players in Cleveland right now aren't supporting those teams and that is why they leave town if they aren't traded first. The Browns have not given you a reason to get excited in nearly two decades, yet, over 73,200 fans still go watch.
The Indians play on Wednesdays five more times before the season ends on October 3. Love your losers, Cleveland!
The Cleveland Browns play on Thursday, September 27 against the loathsome Baltimore Ravens, so we can't say that there isn't football on Thursdays, at least.
See the Steeler, above, mocking the defense? Do you like defense? If you do, you should watch the Cleveland Indians!
The Indians can catch and field. They are fifth in MLB in team fielding percentage (.985) and have the sixth-fewest errors in the majors in 2012. If it wasn't for the 459 walks (fourth most in MLB) and the 145 home runs allowed (seventh-most in MLB), the Indians would be a lot better off.
The Browns were not bad on defense in 2011 either, ranking tenth in the NFL in yards allowed per game; however, they were fifth in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 19.2 points per game.
I can state, with statistical proof, that the Indians could beat the Browns in baseball any day of the week. The Indians' team ERA is 4.82, 29th in MLB, but if the Browns defense has the holes to allow 19.2 points per game, the Indians would win by nearly 15 runs per game.
The NFL is selling a weak product. If you like defense and low scoring games, baseball is your game, and the Indians are the better defensive team.
Watch baseball this Thursday!
It is a Friday and there isn't going to be any professional football on. You may, however, think that returning to your local high school with your Member's Only jacket and wearing sunglasses at night would be a better idea.
You are wrong.
Friday night is an excellent time to watch baseball. Not only are Full House and Family Matters no longer on, but if you go to an Indians game at Progressive Field, you would probably see some fireworks. Add in the fact that you probably can't buy draft beer at your high school game and you would look ridiculous racing your friends around the neighborhood trying to re-inact the Hot Dog Derby.
Only four Friday games remain in the 2012 season, with two of them coming at Progressive Field. As exciting as the triple-option and spread offense is in your local high school game, it can't match the all-out effort of Jason Kipnis. Just look at that picture.
Watch the Indians on Friday and don't be the weird, creepy guy hanging out at Cleveland St. Ignatius High School.
So, college football is going to be on because it is Saturday. The Browns are going to be playing on Sunday and you need to take it easy on your digestive system due to tailgating or hanging out with friends. So, why would you sit around watching the super-power teams beat up on the poor, when you could watch the Indians?
You know Erin Andrews isn't on until later in the evening so you have no excuse to not tune into the Indians game.
The Indians don't have cheerleaders and they don't have a chance to win the division, but they still are going to be more entertaining than most college football this time of year. No one actually goes to Akron football games, right?
Tune into the Indians games, where the club still has four games remaining on Saturdays prior to the season ending on October 3.
To be honest, when Sunday comes around there really isn't much of a reason for fans to not turn into the Cleveland Browns game, at least until week 10 rolls around and they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Indians, despite having some good things to look forward to, have been so awful that they would have trouble filling Progressive Field if they were giving away tickets.
That doesn't change the fact that fans should still be supporting them by paying their local cable company and tuning in from Monday through Saturday, as those who want to watch the Browns have little excuse for not watching the Tribe unless it is a Sunday or the one prime time game the Browns received this year on a Thursday night.
162 games. Nearly 200 days on the go, going from city to city, leaving behind newborns (congrats to Shelley Duncan, Travis Hafner and Chris Perez on the arrivals this season), leaving behind significant others, and grinding out through a disappointing, up and down season. The Indians may have struggled this year, but you can't blame the guys on the field for everything.
Ownership and management left this team for dead by not making the right moves or making any moves whatsoever when the club was actually contending. They are still showing up and playing, most of them very hard and very well, to half-full stadiums (or is it half-empty) and reading the papers or listening to the radio to hear fans questioning why they should show up or watch.
You watch because you are a passionate fan. You'll be rewarded, someday, like the Boston Red Sox fans who had been waiting until the 2004 title. You love your city, you love your teams, and you know that for every LeBron James and Manny Ramirez that you love and then hate, there will be a Kyrie Irving and Carlos Santana to relinquish that love. For every Art Modell and Larry Dolan, there is a beer that you can drink. You move on and show up again because it is in your blood and heart. You bleed for your teams because you are a fanatic.
Watch the Indians!