Monday, October 5, 2009


Thankfully, it's finally over. The Indians' 2009 season sputtered to a predictable conclusion Sunday, with another loss in Boston, capping a four-game sweep by the Red Sox. All you need to know about the Indians' season is the lineup lame duck manager Eric Wedge ran out there for game number 162. The last three batters in the Indians' lineup had batting averages of .176, .144, and .143. Six of the nine players in the Indians' lineup were rookies.

So the Indians finished the season with a record of 65-97. It's the seventh highest loss total in franchise history, the most since they lost a club record 105 games in 1991. In a season-long collapse, the Indians out-did themselves at the end. They lost their last five in a row. They lost 17 of their last 21 games. They finished the season losing a team-record 15 consecutive road games. Their last win on the road came on Aug. 30. Since that date their overall record was 7-26.

Going back to Aug. 27, if you eliminate the games they played against Baltimore, the only team in the league with a worse record than the Indians, the Tribe's record through the end of the season was 4-28.

I think an argument could be made that, given the expectations for the team going into the sesaon, and given the reality of its final record, that this is the most disappointing season in franchise history. Certainly it's one of the most embarrassing.

From mid to late August through the end of the season the Indians ceased to be competitive. They played four, five, and sometimes six rookies in most of the games over the last six weeks of the season. The manager and all the coaches were fired. Home attendance was the second lowest in 18 years. The 2009 season has been a complete and utter disaster.

Going forward, there are some promising young players on the roster, and a handful more _ acquired, naturally, from other teams, not home-grown _ in the minor league system. But it's going to be a long time before the Indians have a season as sour as this one.

In 1991, nobody expected the Indians to be any good, and they weren't _ they lost 105games. In 2009 almost everybody expected the Indians to be very good _ and they were horrible, losing 97 games.

It was a season of embarrassment for an organization that has a long way to go to re-establish itself as a competitive team in the American League.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Strange day

Wednesday was one of the more awkward days I've spent in the Indians' clubhouse. The Manager and all the coaches had been fired, but everyone tried to go about their business as though nothing had happened. If you'd just walked in there for the first time you'd never have guessed the drama that took place over the previous 24 hours.

In situations like this the media tends to go to the veteran players to get their reaction to the news, but veteran players are almost non-existent in the Indians' clubhouse. Except for Travis Hafner, Jamey Carroll, Kelly Shoppach, and Grady Sizemore, almost none of the other players had been on the team all year.

It was s difficult day for everyone. The players, especially the rookies, didn't know quite how to act. The coaches talked to reporters and said all the right things. Wedge spoke during a press conference and said all the things you figured he'd say.

Regardless of how you feel about Wedge as a manager, his comportment and demeanor during the last couple of weeks was expemplary, especially given that he was all but certain that he was going to be fired. Still, Wedge answered all the questions from the media, even those that referenced next season, as though he was not only going to be the manager through the end of this season, but into next year as well - even though both parties (the media and Wedge) knew that was a longshot.

All around it was a very strange 10 days. There is no handbook for how a manager should act when he knows he is probably going to get fired, but if there was, Wedge would be a good choice to write it.