The headline in Thursday’s Akron Beacon-Journal says it all: MICHAELS RELAXED, HOPEFUL, REWARDED
Jason Michaels is relaxed. Doesn’t that make you feel better about the 2007 Indians?
Two quotes from this fluff piece on the Tribe’s do-nothing left fielder that unaccountably received a two-year contract extension despite being almost appallingly bad in ’06, jump out:
``I guess I'm their kind of player, not just on the field but in the clubhouse,'' Michaels said. ``It really instills confidence in you. It's awesome. After five one-year contracts -- which is kind of nerve-racking -- I'm excited.''
That’s right. Jason Michaels- the so-called “lefty-masher” with the rootin-tootin’ .799 OPS against lefties in ’06, the so-called “on-base machine” with the .326 OBP, the disaster on the base paths, the definition of sub-mediocrity- this bum is their kind of player, not just on the field but in the clubhouse.
Michaels is one of several Indians who believe:
(a) Winning 93 games in 2005 made the club a little complacent or
(b) The high expectations generated by the previous season created too much stress.
Michaels is kind of in the latter camp.
I’m continually amazed at what a mentally feeble team this has been under Eric Wedge. It’s always something with them- too much pressure, too much emphasis on a good April, blah blah blah. There is always an excuse for failure. Some teams embrace the pressure of expectations and step up. This bunch folds, every single time. Waaaa, there was too much pressure on us last year- why don’t you just play, you fucking bunch of pussies?
The fact that this stiff, who really should have been DFA’d at the end of last season is “their kind of player, not just on the field but in the clubhouse” speaks volumes as to why this organization has lost and will continue to lose the fans of Cleveland. Shapiro and Wedge have spoken loud and clear: it isn’t about winning. It isn’t about contending for a championship. It’s about personalities. Jason Michaels doesn’t help this team win, doesn’t hit, doesn’t field, doesn’t run the bases for shit- but he also doesn’t threaten the rampant insecurity of the numbskull in the dugout. And that’s all that matters.
And people think it’s the economy that’s turning fans away from the ballpark? That it’s the Browns? No. Right here is the reason why the fans have turned their backs on this team.
Say it again: Jason Michaels is their kind of player, not just on the field but in the clubhouse.
I love the Indians. I always have and always will. I’m part of a love of Tribe baseball that spans generations. I’ll be at the ballpark as often as I possibly can be this season, because to this Cleveland Fan there’s nothing than a warm summer night at the Jake, cold beer in hand, taking in the game. And I’m not one of those guys calling in to WKNR screaming for a $100 million payroll, either.
But I’m really starting to develop a deep disdain for this regime, for its idiot manager, for its reluctance to trust in its home-grown talent, for its fetishistic attachment to the dregs of free agency and to “good clubhouse guys” who are sub-standard on the field, for its tendency to make the same mistakes over, and over, and over again without learning anything from them. I’m not expecting the re-incarnation of Albert Belle or Manny Ramirez. I’m not expecting 1995 all over again. But to asking us to accept refuse like Jason Michaels as the emblematic player of this team and this organization is too much.
I don’t have a good feeling about this season. I hope I’m wrong in my foreboding. But I don’t think I am, and that’s a shame, because there are some great pieces to this club. There is the core of a champion. But this team will never get anywhere as long as it embraces and rewards the kind of mediocrity personified by Jason Michaels.