One of the many aspects I find interesting about the Cleveland fan psyche pertaining to the Cleveland Indians is that during the first half of the season when the team was playing well, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the core group of players in some minds. Obviously there were holes that needed to be filled, but the atmosphere was nowhere near as negative as it was at the end of the year where everyone in a Tribe uniform was vilified. The mindset completely shifted from the Indians being a competitive team to a collection of hodge-podge players thrown together by an inept front office and a miserly owner.
Proponents of the latter mindset may say their record at the end of the 2012 campaign speaks for itself. The Indians were indeed awful in the second half of the season. Something went horribly wrong, and efforts are being made now to not just put a band-aid on the problem, but to fix it at its root cause.
The idea that a new owner who would mindlessly throw money at obscene contracts would guarantee a World Series championship is laughable at best. The Los Angeles Angels had a talented roster even before they added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson during the offseason. They failed to make the playoffs. The Miami Marlins threw a ton of money at the likes of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle and finished with just one win more than the Indians this past season. For some reason the opinion that money buys wins is a popular one, albeit far from the truth.
The Cleveland Indians are far from a perfect organization. Players could perform better on the field and the front office can certainly manage aspects of the business more efficiently. Even in a "perfect world" fixing the mistakes of the last few years are not going to happen overnight. A quick fix to return the Indians to legitimate contention simply does not exist, but the hiring of Terry Francona as the new manager is a good start to get the organization back on track.
Francona is coming in hoping to better the overall chemistry of the team. He hopes to develop younger players in a manner that has proven to be ineffective the last few seasons. It also appears he has the backing and support of the front office to do things right this time around.
Francona has a lot to prove to fans that have given up all hope that the organization will not be heading into the right direction until the Dolans, Mark Shapiro, and Chris Antonetti are out. Sadly, those shouting from the rooftops have given no suggestions as to who would make a better owner or who would make a better front office executive. I suppose it is easier place blame en masse than wait for an admitted problem to be corrected.
It is unlikely the Indians will run out and sign Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, and whatever premier starting pitcher that is available. Moves will be made and the team will improve. It honestly will not take that much. Will the Indians win the World Series next year? Maybe, maybe not, but at least they will be in a better place at the start of next season than where they ended this year. As fans, we ultimately just want the assurance that it is possible year after year.
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Paul Rados is an avid Cleveland Indians fan and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados.
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