Justice Is Served

June 1, 2010 10:46 AM

A lousy excuse for a MLB team: That's the '10 Indians ...


Is it possible that the Indians are the worst team in all of baseball?

To argue otherwise would be to waste a good argument. Bad is bad, and to dispute how bad the Tribe is, is as silly as arguing whether the earth is round or Bill Gates is wealthy. It lowers the bar on pointlessness.

Need evidence?

Try dissecting what the Indians did in their series against the Yankees, and if you do, you'd find nothing that provided evidence to the contrary.

The Indians were in a mismatch: Minor Leaguers vs. big leaguers. The four games in New York City showed the difference between the haves and the have-nots, and no one can put the Indians in the first category.

They are a team with more holes than the secondary of the Browns last season. At 18-31, the Indians sit at the bottom of the AL Central, trailing the perennial cellar-dwelling Royals. Only the Astros and the Orioles have records that look as pathetic as the Tribe's. 

Like those dredges, the Indians look as if it were put together with a Ouija board. Their scouting department must have men like Stevie Wonder out mining the ballfields for diamonds in the rough. Season after season, draft after draft, those scouts have returned with evaluations that have left the Minor League affiliates of the Indians barren.

Now, the band of bums that general manager Mark Shapiro and his front office have signed in the past decade has made its way to the big leagues, and fans who follow the Tribe are noticing how pitiful its talent evaluation has been.

The organization has not one young player whose destiny has stardom written on it.

In fairness, some of the reasons for this talent shortage is the Indians haven't been outright awful for much of the past 10 years, which means the organization hasn't had premium No. 1 picks.

That will change in the 2010 and 2011 drafts. The Indians have a Top 5 pick overall in '10 and should have a Top 3 pick in '11. They can't afford to miss with either.  They need to draft and sign a premium prospect - someone who can contribute not in four or five years but in one or two.

But they will also need to find gems in the lower rounds. What they can't do is continue to put teams like this one out on the field and expect fans to flock to the ballpark.

For the sell-out crowds at The Jake have given way to 30,000 empty seats nightly at Progressive Field. Those star-studded lineups of the 1990s and early 2000s have seen mediocrity step into their spot. Any team that can trot out a .134 hitting second baseman like Luis Valbuena game after game has no illusions about where it will finish in the standings.

Watching this team play is to enjoy bad baseball. To his credit, manager Manny Acta has the players still hustling. They haven't quit on him, as they did on Eric Wedge in the final weeks of his dispirited regime.

This is not the final weeks of a season, though; it is the first of June. And the losing might force Acta's ballplayers to do a repeat of what Wedge's ballplayers did.  Playing for pride doesn't go over well in the clubhouse after a succession of lopsided losses like the 11-2 defeat Sunday afternoon to the Yankees.

Losses like those eat at a ballclub's soul, and they serve to remind its players just how sorry they are. But one game is easily forgotten. What is not easy to forget is an 18-31 record - the worst record in the bigs.

Record stares for all to see, and nothing indicates it will improve much as this season unfolds. 


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