Monday, July 31, 2006

The View from Mars

Generally, we look forward to reading Terry Pluto's column, View from Pluto, every Sunday morning. It's a throwback to Hal Lebovitz's column in the Plain Dealer, which Pluto readily admits. His column this past Sunday did a pretty serviceable job of breaking down the Indians' recent trades. The only quibble is his relatively mild criticism of the Dolans.

Pluto is right, as has been noted here, that the Dolans need to provide the Indians with something approaching a competitive budget. Given the nature of the recent trades, however, that doesn't appear likely. In fact, the common theme in all these trades is about creating money. In other words, Shapiro has had to find money from among his current assets because he knows that we are more likely to see Mel Gibson as president of the Anti-Defamation League before we see Larry Dolan open his wallet and let this team compete. We'll never be able to compete with the Yankess, but it's ridiculous that we are falling further and further behind the Twins.

Of course, my saying this probably demonstrates a certain level of assumption that just isn't there. What I've always felt, and still do, is that the Dolans just don't have enough money to own a major league baseball team. They overpaid for the Indians and simply don't have the financial wherewithal to deficit spend in order to bring this team back to an ability to be competitive and profitable. They owe it to the fans to sell the team. But until they do, they will continue to cut the budget in order to increase their profits without recognizing that in the major leagues one doesn't necessarily follow the other.

But I digress. Where I would quibble with Pluto is in his continued hand-wringing over the loss of LeCharles Bentley. Again, you can't miss what you never had. We miss Bentley in the same way we miss, say, Ben Roethlisberger. Neither played a down for the Browns and until either one does, we'll just never know if either would have made a difference.

Back to the Tribe. Did you see that Mike Hargrove is not going to platoon Ben Broussard with Eduardo Perez at first base? He must be getting daily dispatches about his former team from his wife Sharon, who still lives in the area. She's seen a few ball games in her life and she had to tell hubby that Broussard's defense is, to be charitable, interesting. It looks as though Broussard will be platooning at DH. Poor Ben. With a better attitude and work ethic he might be someone's core player. At least he still has his music career.

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