Blaming the Cleveland Guardians for baseballs failings is a sad tactic

Aug 17, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; The Cleveland Guardians celebrate a win over the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; The Cleveland Guardians celebrate a win over the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Guardians obviously won the Francisco Lindor trade.

The Cleveland Guardians made the right call trading Francisco Lindor when they did. He’s over-paid, under-performing and the team got two fantastic players for him that are contributing to their current success. Yet, you can always tell someone who’s new to the conversation when they start talking about Lindor like he wasn’t actively taking games off and being lazy.

In his own words, Lindor admits to not working out enough in the 2020 season and getting gassed later in the season. A 60-game season. This isn’t the only instance where Lindor’s lackadaisical approach has bitten him in the butt. In 2016, he’d fall asleep before games during the World Series, and while his batting average was an above-average .296, he also struck out six times in the World Series alone.

Lindor also twice hit just .100 in a series for the Guardians in the playoffs during his tenure. It’s ironic that his lackluster play at the plate can be contributed to a lack of desire to condition properly, as he famously called his fans in Cleveland “lazy” for calling him “Frankie”. Let’s not even get into his taunting of Mets fans.

So when you read an article from Sam Fels, it reads as a “Lindor is great, Cleveland is awful” type of hit piece. It’s written by a guy who is fairly oblivious to the team’s history. With a narrative built around the Guardians being a problem in baseball because they constantly reload, instead of just sucking. How dare the Guardians trade off players who aren’t worth their value and keep winning? Don’t they know they’re supposed to accept being a sucky team!?

His point was that if the Guardians just spent money they didn’t have, other teams would follow suit and players could make more money. Then players would stay with teams because it’s about the name on the back of the jersey, not the front.

Despite what “real fans” say every year.

How dare the Dolans not spend money! Google told Fels that Paul Dolan is “worth” $3 billion! He is cheap! And there’s no great sin than being cheap! Except, that’s not how you run a franchise. Firstly, that’s not Dolan’s real value. Famous people laugh at those so-called aggregate sites that overinflate how much money a person actually has. Secondly, being valued, and having the money to spend, are not the same thing.

Blasting the payroll is a weak argument. One that ignores historical relevance. The Guardians, stretching back decades, have never sold well in Cleveland. Fans are so high off of a seven-year run in the 90s that they actually believe this was once a baseball town.

That’s not true. The Guardians’ attendance success started hand in hand with the Browns leaving. Anyone who spent any amount of time doing research would know that baseball has always sold poorly in the town. New owners and $200 million payrolls won’t change that.

The Browns leaving again would.

Keep in mind something, the Guardians have had a decade of sustained success. They’ve won multiple divisional titles, the AL pendant, and have a history of turning out a great product. Yet fans don’t show up. Why?

“The name change, duh!” They weren’t showing up before then.

“The lack of spending!” A large payroll does not guarantee success. Hello, Boston.

“I don’t want to get attached to a player for them just to leave!” Here’s a thought, you can like a team and a player at the same time. If you’re a Lindor guy, no one is stopping you from watching him in New York and the Guardians at the same time.

Blame the big markets for the lack of baseball spending

This is solely on the biggest teams in baseball. Across the world of pro sports in the United States, more than half of the teams don’t generate a profit. The Guardians are a business and they play in the MLB, not the NBA.

In the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies don’t have to worry about generating a profit on their own (they don’t), because of how revenue sharing works. Yet, in baseball, the revenue sharing isn’t nearly as effective.

In fact, the reason the teams do what they do financially speaking is to turn a profit. They can’t rely on revenue sharing to bolster their bottom line. At the end of the day, your hobby is someone else’s business. They’re out here to make money, and why shouldn’t they? Most of these owners are still paying off the debt they incurred to buy the teams.

“Then they shouldn’t have bought the team!” This isn’t a Mars bar, do you know how few people actually have the ability to buy a sports team? Even teams like the Golden State Warriors are worried about their financial health, as they’re losing money during this current era of success.

The issue with baseball isn’t the Guardians being cheap, it’s that teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers have a much more robust fan base to pull financials from. The idea of putting a cap on the salary a team can spend is horrifying for everyone but the mid-to-lower market teams. Players would get paid less, contracts would be shorter, poorly ran teams like the Mets would be forced to actually develop prospects into players, and the league as a whole would see a marketed improvement across the board.

That’s why it won’t happen. The big teams would make less money (but still a lot) and they’d no longer be able to pillage other teams for players.

That’s why the narrative is “owners won’t spend” and not “some owners want to be the only ones who spend”. Putting a salary cap and floor into the game, while fixing the revenue sharing would fix all of these issues.

Yet, the only people who want that are smaller franchises and fans. Which is why it’ll never happen. How the Guardians run their franchise isn’t the problem, the problem is the fact they have to run it the way they do. Baseball is a dying sport because those in power do not know that they need to change. Fans want parody in their sports. They want fairer and more balanced sports. Baseball is the least balanced, least competitively fair sport there is.

This is why even the Red Sox are hemorrhaging fans.

So before you start bashing the Dolans for surviving in a market that doesn’t support baseball historically, bash baseball’s higher-ups for allowing this to happen.

dark. Next. 3 reasons the Cleveland Guardians have turned things around