Cleveland (WOIO) - It's early May, which in Cleveland means an annual debate about the Indians attendance, and while I realize it's an unwinnable argument, I'll play along. After all, I'm consistently stunned by the empty seats.
When I took my Dad to the game against the Twins on Sunday, the Tribe had rattled off six straight wins, in explosive fashion, and my father Dante, a Boston native, said as we walked towards the gate, "I predict this will be a sell-out". He was only off by about 29,000 fans.
14,000 in the park that day, for a team that was playing lights-out, and has clearly bonded before our very eyes. Most of the arguments that people make, that it's still early...that the kids are still in school...that the Dolans don't spend $$$...simply don't cut it anymore.
It's early in the other 29 major league cities as well, yet the Indians are dead last in attendance. The kids are still in school in other cities. And yes, the Dolans did spend over the winter, breaking out the checkbook for Swisher, Bourn, and Reynolds, to name a few. Not to mention Francona.
This is a fun team. I've written and talked about how important "the room" is in baseball, more so than in other sports, because of the everyday schedule, and marathon season. This is the best Indians clubhouse since 2007, and it's starting to show.
As for the argument that we, in the media, have press passes, well, that's true...when I'm working. When I go on my own time, I buy my tickets, as close to the plate as possible, and it is, by far, the best deal in Major League Baseball.
Some can't afford to take their family to an Indians game. That's understandable, and unfortunate. But those who insist this is a baseball town (and this is no attack on the Indians' ill-fated 2013 slogan "It's a Tribe Town"...hey, they tried), and who get upset when some of us look at the empty seats and challenge that thinking, they're simply in denial.
This Indians team is going to contend. This summer. I hope that by July, more than 15,000 are on hand to see it.