Meet The Writers
A Sit Down With The Indians Brain Trust
A Sit Down With The Indians Brain Trust
With the Indians back below .500 almost 60 games into the season, the fans are demanding answers. We sent Swerbs Blurbs correspondent Cris Sykes in search of those answers, which he obtained in this exclusive sit down with Larry Dolan, Mark Shapiro, and Eric Wedge.
Thanks for taking the time on one of your busiest days of the years. Shouldn’t you guys be handling the draft later today and taking these last few minutes to prepare for today’s draft?
There isn’t all that much preparation to do.
Yes, there are only two things that we concern ourselves with for the draft. The first one would be….
: Mark, let me take this. The only thing that really matters to me is the player’s character. It has really taken a lot of work away from our scouts and allowed Larry to pocket some more cash.
HaHaHaHa. Silly fans thought I was going to reinvest money into the team.
See it is pretty simple. Instead of having scouts, we now just contracted this agency (Intelius) and for $49 per person, they give us a list of the highest character people in the world.
Stop it Larry, this is a serious interview. So the next step is to check on the financial situation of each “prospect”. We figure the more cash they already have, they less they will want from Larry. We have this 17-year-old kid from Saudi Arabia who already has more money than Larry, so he should be an easy sign.
: What position does he play? What skills does he have?
I am thinking about him as a utility infielder someday. You know me. It doesn’t matter if he can actually play. As long as he doesn’t disturb my perfect clubhouse, we will find a spot for him.
OK. Enough draft talk. How do you guys feel the season is progressing thus far?
Great. Ticket sales are up over the same point last year. And boy did we clean up on dollar hot dog night.
: We are progressing with our plan very nicely at this point. Eric has the guys saying all the right things and playing way under their abilities, which is perfect for us.
Yes, with the philosophy we are using, the main objective is to have most of the guys perform below their natural abilities for the first couple months. Then we can just turn it on, play to our actual level of talent and fall just short of the post-season.
Play-offs. Bad. Very bad. Playoffs equal expectations. We don’t want our fans to expect an increase in payroll. If we can just continue to make a crazy run at the end of each season, sell the joint out, and fall short, everyone wins.
Except the fans, Larry.
How do you feel the 2005 free agent class is performing?
Great, except for that Eduardo Perez guy. I told Mark I didn’t want him, but he said not to worry.
Yeah, I thought his numbers against left-handed pitching where a fluke.
Idiot. Jason Johnson and Paul Byrd have brought some real stability to our rotation. I was worried we would have to start the year with Sowers and Carmona in our rotation. With them pitching every fifth day, we could actually be in this race right now. I don’t know if even I could under-manage enough to make up for them, but Mark hit the bull’s eye with those 2.
Now that damn Jason Michaels is starting to hit, so we might need him to “slip” in the shower here soon and give him a couple of days off. Hey, Eric, I thought as soon as he started to hit, we would get Holandsworth a long look in left, what happened?
It doesn’t matter who I play in left. As long as we keep sending out Johnson and Byrd every fifth day, we can score all we want and still lose.
You two are absolute geniuses. Cris, how much you give me for this 1997 AL Championship Banner?
Also looking for a buck, huh, Larry? You get enough of my money.
I am a businessman.
Speaking of which, Larry, Forbes magazine has put out some numbers for MLB teams. Those numbers show the Indians as the most profitable organization in MLB over the last three years. What do you think of that?
Forbes? What do they know? They must have gotten the numbers before I added my salary to the balance sheet. Once I got paid, we made almost no profit.
OK Larry, I am done with you. Eric and Mark, you guys both said in a previous interview that going into last year’s free agency you thought you were in great position. I believe the actual quote was “ If we can get free agents to sit down with us and see what we are all about, we feel very good about our chances to land them.” What happened?
: You guys will believe anything we say.
I think what we meant was, if we can keep the players away from me, we had a shot, but they all wanted to meet me. Then they discover my baseball IQ is about 4.7 and it is over.
: Do you feel like you were used by a couple of players to get better deals from whom they actually wanted to play for?
That is a big misconception, and I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but who cares, the fans are stupid anyway and will forget I even said it. We actually used those players. Our main goal during the free agency period, as well as at the trade deadline, is to finish second on every free agent possible. Then we can tell the fans how hard we tried, and they will come back for another season.
: I personally think Mark is the best in the game at this type of negotiation. My man, Executive of the Year.
(All three clap in unison)
Eric, how long will you stick with Jhonny Peralta batting third in the order?
Let me check…..I only have 7 more photocopies left form the original pack I put together for this year’s lineup. Larry will only let me print up 60 copies at a time, you know, the budget thing.
Speaking of budget. Will SwerbsBlurbs be picking up the tab for lunch today?
First, I ask the questions Larry, and second we are just starting out and don’t have a budget, so no we are not picking up the tab.
(Through his walkie talkie)
Cancel that lunch order.
Any last words for the Indians fans out there?
Keep on coming to the ballpark. Hopefully LeBron leaves, as a free agent, so there will be less competition in the area for me to contend with. Shit, can we strike that? Just kidding Cleveland.
: Hopefully, the fans stick around for a few more years. Once the Saudi Arabian kid makes it to Cleveland, we will be ready to contend.
*Disclaimer – This interview did not actually happen
Jun 06, 2006 7:00 PM
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