Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Sports Beat follow-up: I wrote about the depressing Detroit Tigers on Monday (here's an SI column on them), but an AP item about the Cleveland Indians caught my attention in the NY Times yesterday. One of the saddest baseball stories from the 1990s was Wayne Huizenga's hastily- assembled-and-then-dissolved Florida Marlins team that pulled out Game 7 of the 1997 World Series against the Indians, thus depriving the decade's third-most-dominant team (behind the Braves and Yankees) of an elusive championship.

Now the Indians are well into their descent, as the item noted yesterday on the occasion of the return of John Hart to Jacobs Field; Hart was Cleveland GM from 1991 to 2001 and is now with Texas. "Not much has changed," said Hart while peering out of the visitors' dugout. But the Indians "are a shadow of the team they once were," the AP said. Their 9-21 start is their worst since 1969, and a few years after a run of 455 straight sellouts at Jacobs Field, attendance is down 30 percent from last year. They're worst in the league except for the Tigers.

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