Contenders? Only Time and The Dolans Will Tell

By Dave DeNatale

Okay, raise your hands if you thought the Indians would be 47-42 at the All-Star Break, just a half-game out of first place in the American League Central?

Really? That’s what I thought! Very few of you. Honest expectations of this team were that maybe they could take some steps forward in 2011. Perhaps a couple of the franchise’s young talents could develop and show signs of promise for the future. If they sniff .500, it would be a pretty big accomplishment.

But then a funny thing happened: The Indians stampeded their way out of the gate in April, They employed Manny Acta’s “Wahoo Baseball” and were parlaying pitching, defense, and timely hitting into series victory after series victory. The Indians became the surprise story of the majors and had the best record in baseball for several weeks.

And despite injuries and a June swoon, the Tribe remain very much in the hunt in what’s been a fairly weak A.L. Central.

Whether or not they can stay there is another story. There are plenty of question marks surrounding this team: Can the offense regain some of its early-season form? Will Shin-Soo Choo make a difference when he comes back from a broken thumb? Which Carlos Carrasco is the real thing, the one we saw in May and June, or the one who has been shelled in his last two starts? Can Jason Kipnis help the Tribe once he’s finally called up?

And of course, will the team make a trade of significance? This is the one that is the most intriguing.

The challenge facing the Dolans and General Manager Chris Antonetti is finding a way to improve this team NOW, without mortgaging a chance to win in the FUTURE. There is an emerging window of opportunity over the next several years for the Indians to be legitimate contenders. They have a boatload of young pitching, plus talented position players who aren’t anywhere near free agency.

I wrote in a blog earlier this season that the Dolan family and the Indians front office are suffering from a massive public relations problem. Despite the fact that the team is playing well, I don’t believe that much has changed. Too many people are calling our shows here at KNR and saying they refuse to go to games because the Dolans are cheap, or because past stars were traded away, etc. Maybe some of those fans are beyond getting back, but then again, maybe not.

The Tribe needs a bat, badly. What they do not need is to relinquish one of their prized prospects or absorb a large contract. But they also need to show the fans that they will pull the trigger and add talent to the roster for a pennant race.

The time seems awfully right for that. As long as the price is right.

You can follow Dave DeNatale on Twitter @dinocleveland




  1. I have WKNR on in my office and car ALL the time and have, for the most part, ONLY heard WKNR on air personalities, notably Aaron, Fedor, Reghi and Brinda bring the “Dolan” topic up…what seems like everyday. What a shame that people like Aaron think the only way to generate discusiion (albeit, amongst themselves as most quality callers don’t even bother to call anymore). Who is going to wait on hold for an hour or so? Just to have Aaron basically mock the callers for holding on that long (i.e. “get a life”), hang up on them about 90% of the time and proceed to ramble on about Denver, figure skating, how proud he is of being popular enough back in school to be chosen for regular “swirlys”, etc. Even funnier when he abruptly dismisses a caller that has brought up a decent point and then wonders aloud “I wonder what he meant just now?”…we will never know as you, of course, have already hung up on them.

    The old concept, as the station “celebrates” 20 years of existence, of being “The sports voice of the FAN” is a TOTAL joke nowadays from 9am – 6pm. At leat 90% of the RBS, for example, are fascinating discussions between Aaron, Fedor & Rizz that go nowhere and get repeated over and over. Sure we get Rizz protesting and doing his DAILY WMJI and Fox8 mentions several times – every day – almost to justify his skills since he now basically babysits those two “Peter Brown (all local negativity) wannabees. As it is the ONLY LOCAL choice for sportstalk during the business day…we are stuck.

    Aaron and Fedor now read only the e-mails, texts & tweets that support THEIR points…no 2 sided discussions or commentary. Fedor made a complete ASS out of himself this past Saturday bashing the living hell out of OSU WORSE then ANY NATIONAL radio or TV show that I have seen on the topic.

    Finally, the continued use of self-proclaimed non-Clevelander, Aaron Goldhammer on ESPN nationally remains an absolute JOKE. People have been complaining about this for YEARS!!!!!!!!!! Clevelanders like our local sports and do not appreciate being misrepresented by Aaron ALL THE TIME! When Rizz was out last week, at least a half a dozen times, Aaron said something like “I need to check with Tony on that when he gets back” further illustrating that he has NO clue on local sports.

    Have to bash Greg “I am not going anywhere” Brinda a little now. He has been fired by the station before (google it) and ONLY got rehired after Drenan had some issues to deal with. His tired takes and endless ramblings are unlistenable. Combine that with his pregnant pauses, laughing at himself non-stop and overall lameness, I never listen to his post-game…just when he does his usual mop up/fill in roles. Young, hard working talent like TJ and a few others need to be rewarded…sooner then later.

    In conclusion, I have written this while on hold with a customer or two and realize that it was a total waste of time as Craig Karmazin, Keith Williams, etc. don’t care about this at all and just keep the status quo…what a shame! The ONLY way things might change a little is if more advertisers push back as Lady Janes recently did and would not let Aaron do their spots anymore because of all the complaints they got on his insane anti-Buckeye rants. The again their new tagline has something to do about going their “where a mna can be a man” and Aaron is well, what he is…proud of being swirlied in schooll??!! LOL!!!!!!! What advertisers will be next?

    • while i agree with a lot of what you said. i think you voiced your oppinion inf the wrong place. it was a clock or two away to find the emails you may want to direct this at.

      Craig Karmazin

      General Manager/Vice President
      Keith Williams

      see easy enough to find.

      • Hey Ronnie…what makes you think that I have not tried with both Craig and Keith – I have, and it goes NOWHERE!!! I will give them credit for leaving all these commentaries up on their blogs. Obviously, WKNR subscribes to the notion that a lot of has been actors do…you know, the “any press is good press” mindset. They are flawed in this and people are sick of it…

  2. I don’t understand why people always complain about Goldhammer. He is not from here so he brings a different perspective on sports which can be nice from the homer take all the time. He can be a bit annoying with his OSU hate, but I don’t let it bother me. When he hangs up on callers it’s because they aren’t ready to be on the show. If don’t wanna be hung up on, be ready and have a strong take. If you don’t like him don’t listen cause I don’t thing Hammer is going anywhere. The RBS will still be the most popular show in Cleveland radio whether you listen or not!!

    • We are all painfully aware that Aaron is not going anywhere. The opposite, negative, mostly contrived take on EVERYHTHING related to Cleveland & OSU is getting really OLD! Smacks of desperation and is weak…deep down Rizz even knows that. Fact is, they are the only LOCAL sportstalk in the area during the business day (9am-6pm) and we can complain all we want! Google it up, protests can work – some take longer then others…

      • Joe Lull perhaps? Ha im right there with you, I hardly listen to wknr, and rely on yours and a few other twitters and blogs for my local sports discussion. Big fan of yours, keep up the good fight.

      • Nope – not Joe Lull…I know who you mean though. I am just a regular listener that thinks protesting and complaining CAN work once in awhile. Hey – the Brown’s got to keep their colors…lol! Wouldn’t it be nice if you COULD have listenable local sportstalk on during the business day?! Google is easy to use…folks have been complaining about Brinda & Aaron for YEARS! Now, Fedor seems to be using the same tactics of “if they hate you, your job is secure”??!! Heck, Brinda has been fired before – they just need to do it again. TJ Zuppe, Will Burge, Dave Denatale and MORE are ALL ready to step into Bacon Brinda’s worn out and tired shoes. Can anyone actually say that they patronized an advertiser because Greg Brinda pushed their product…LOL!!!!! No freakin’ way!

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