Cleveland Indians Claim World Series Victory By Proxy Via Ex-Players
Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan and general manager Mark Shapiro explained to ESPN radio today that the Indians are finally guaranteed a World Series victory -- despite the actual team finishing in second-to-last place in the regular season -- by way of the presence of ex-players in the playoffs and World Series.
Over the past 18 months, the team's front office dealt most of their best players to teams with 2009 playoff births, a strategy that Shapiro says is now paying off in a big way.
"Although we'd have loved to win [the World Series] in Cleveland, we expanded our potential victory locations to include St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Colorado and Los Angeles to increase the odds," said Shapiro. "Our patient fans have been waiting for more than half a century for a World Series victory, and now, we're finally going to give it to them via other Major League teams."
"It's for the fans," added Shapiro.
The Indians won the first game of the 2009 World Series using the Philadelphia Phillies and their starter, Cliff Lee, who the Indians traded just three months prior. The game was won 6-1 after Lee dueled for seven innings with former Indian CC Sabathia, who is still secretly pitching for the Tribe despite spending half of 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers, and all of 2009 with the New York Yankees.
"It was a wonderful thing to see Cliff pitch a game like that for the people of Cleveland who had been so supportive of him, and were so sad to see him leave," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who, having managed Cleveland from 2000-2002, felt that the best way to bring a MLB championship to northeast Ohio was to get out of northeast Ohio. "I'm sure it hurt them to see CC [Sabathia] come up short in Game 1 -- like he did back in 2007 when he was actually with the team -- but you have to give credit to the front office for spreading the core of the Indians team around to both the American and National Leagues to make sure Ohio gets the victory in the end."
In addition to such elite players as Lee, Sabathia and Ben Francisco -- all of whom are playing in the 2009 World Series -- other former Indians brought hungry fans the playoff action they wanted, albeit with the Cardinals, Dodgers, Rockies, Red Sox and Twins.
"All the local sportswriters complain that the Indians are always rebuilding and don't have what it takes to field a team that's worthy of a Major League Baseball championship," said Carl Pavano, who Cleveland traded to the Minnesota Twins earlier in the year. "And you know what? They're right. The front office has what it takes to build seven championship teams."
Seven of the eight 2009 playoff teams, Pavano explained, were anchored by former Indians. "What a commitment to the fans!" he exclaimed.
Some sports analysts also agree with Pavano's point of view, and have credited manager Mark Shapiro with developing an unusual but impressive way to win the Big Game. Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal says that concentrating all of the organization's talent on one team is never a sure-fire way to win a championship, especially in Cleveland.
"Ever since they started just giving guys like Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar and Jim Thome away for 'prospects', it's been clear that there was a real method to this apparent madness," said Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal. "Cleveland is where champions go to die, so as long as the Tribe continues to 'rebuild' and trade away any real chance it ever has of winning a World Series in a uniform with Chief Wahoo's face on it, there will at least be one former-Indian in every World Series until 2022."
"Which is when the team will move to Baltimore," added Pluto.
Game 4 of the World Series is being played as this article goes to print. The Indians are expected to win it in some fashion.