Lack of All-Stars indicative of Tribe’s troubles

The recent MLB All-Star game in Cincinnati – which I didn’t watch, by the way – did get me to thinking about the Indians and their exasperating (at least so far) season. It was the second straight year the Indians were represented by a lone player, which is also usually a barometer of what kind of year a team is having. And that goes for any team, not just the Tribe.

As everyone interested in baseball around here knows, Jason Kipnis was Cleveland’s All-Star representative, and deservedly so. Kipnis is in the midst of a monster year at the plate and in the field, and without question should have been the starter.

The problem with being named the starter is that – barring injury to the top vote-getter at a particular position – you have to be voted to the game by the fans. And that’s where it becomes a little dicey in Cleveland. With attendance for Indians games plunging lower than a Kardashian neckline, Kipnis had about as good a shot of getting enough votes to start the All-Star team as Dennis Kucinich had of winning the presidency in 2012. Or 2008. Or – for that matter – ever.

After Kipnis, however, who else among the position players on the Indians was worthy of All-Star consideration? Slider? Ketchup? Mustard? Onion? Don’t laugh; had they been on the ballot, I can see them giving any of the other position players a run for their money. (Okay, now you can laugh). Sadly, the statement is merely indicative of just how poor the stats of the offensively challenged Indians are in the statistically-driven All-Star vote.

The Indians haven’t had as many as three representatives on the All-Star squad since 2007. Not coincidentally – and as most Tribe fans are very aware – that was the year the Indians came one game short of reaching the World Series.

Of course, there are aberrations, too. Back in 2004, Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, and Jake Westbrook were joined by Ronnie Belliard (who?) and Matt Lawton (come again?) representing the Indians on the All-Star team. They enjoyed great starts that year but their careers with the Indians fizzled shortly thereafter. Sort of like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, except for the great starts. We’re still waiting in that regard.

If you want to dazzle your friends in trivia, the last Indians player to be voted in as a starter on an All-Star team was none other than the immortal Juan Gonzalez in 2001. He barely made the third outfielder spot back that year – remember back then, when the Indians actually had developed a strong fan base and weren’t afraid to spend money – with 22 dingers and 74 RBI at the break. That’s not a typo: I repeat, that was at the break, folks, from one player! These days, that’s like the cumulative stats for the entire team.

In 2001, there was an abundance of fan support.

Today, “fan support” in Cleveland, thanks to lack of faith in leadership, is pretty much a typo.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 9:23 AM, 07.21.2015