This is the seventh installment in a 12-part series.
If you're going to rouse rabble there's really no point in being discerning about it. The 2009 model of the Cleveland Indians has reached terminal velocity: it's been in free-fall for a while. We're at a point where the about-to-be-fired-manager is using phrases like "change for change's sake" in discussing his own future. He's a death-row inmate advocating for capital punishment. But, hey, if we're going to make change for its own sake, why stop at the top? Why stop anywhere?
FIRE THE SUGARDALE HOT DOG RACES
So, there was this great thing going on in other ballparks: races. Stupid races. Races among sausages and bratwursts! Races among presidents! The Indians, to their credit, stole the good idea and put together their own races: Sugardale Hot Dog Races. I like a mascot race as much as the next guy but let's be real. Cleveland has nothing to do with hot dogs. No claim to them in the national consciousness.
Cleveland ought to have gone the way of the Nats and screwed the initial sponsorship and run a hilarious, relevant race that everyone loved. Once it's beloved, voila, then you sell the sponsorship. Where should they have started (and now where should they restart)? I'm hardly a native Clevelander but if I was in charge it would be a mascot race among John D. Rockefeller, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Eliot Ness, and the leg lamp from A Christmas Story.
In fact, just fire the whole marketing department. Hire somebody who realizes Cleveland needs to have a sense of humor about itself. Have a Grady Sizemore "Golden Love" or "Silver Hugger" night. Give away fake military helmets that say "Choo" across the front. Do a Jamey Carroll topless photo signing. Do something besides give away fleece blankets.
FIRE TOM HAMILTON
When it comes to our favorite descendant of America's most gifted financier, the act was already wearing thin for a number of people and in this most lost of all lost seasons his commitment to praising teams like the Angels for all the wrong reasons turned many others against him. I've never felt any particular affection for Hamilton and then this email he sent to Grady Sizemore emerged:
Just wanted to write a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed watching you play (when healthy) this past season. That's pretty much it this email is reAL SHORT, REALLY SHORT, IT MIGHT BE OVER-
No, wait it's not over. I wanted to ask about signing some stuff for my nieces and nephews because they are big, biG, BIG FANS OF YOURS JUST HUGE FANS, THEY COULD NOT BE BIGGER FANS-
Wait, no that's not totally true. My nephew Nathan-he's not that big of a fan-he's more of a football guy.
Anyway I guess that's all I need. I need to get moving I'm going to get my hair cut-my hair has gotten long, real loNG, SUPER LONG, MY HAIR IS BON JOVI IN THE 80S LONG RIGHT NOW, JUST GIGANTIC, SOMEONE MISTOOK ME FOR CARROT TOP THE OTHER DAY LONG, I MEAN THIS HAIR IS JUST UNBELIEVABLE, IT TAKES ME HOURS TO SHAMPOO IT, IT'S CUTTING INTO OTHER PARTS OF MY SCHEDULE-
Ahh, you know, it's actually only a couple of inches longer than normal.
FIRE AM/PM ALL YOU CAN EAT SEATS
Nobody's coming to games anyway. If it's not going to turn a profit, what's the point of promoting gluttony? And why have we all accepted our new AM/PM overlords without so much of a peep? Stand up for 7-11, folks.
Precisely how sad does the career of Travis Hafner have to become before we stop mocking him with this now totally inappropriately named mezzanine section? Ever heard of "Huffland"? "AlexeiRamirezCove"? "OverbayBay"? No, because they don't exist. A 15 HR hitter doesn't get a deck named after him.
What exactly goes on in Pronkville now? Just a lot of crying?
FIRE PLEATED KHAKIS, POLO SHIRTS, FANNY PACKS AND THE CURSE OF BUSINESS-CASUAL
For years, we've been joking about the characterless, L.L. Bean inspired attire that the Indians' front office has adopted as its uniform. Shapiro loves a good three-button job. Manning, Hamilton, and Underwood can't fall out of bed without offending Clinton and Stacy. This isn't a handful of mismatched rogue agents; it's an organizational epidemic. You know what pleated khakis and polo shirts are? They're mediocrity. They're Jon Garland: sure they might look fine on a number of occasions consecutively but eventually they're going to make you look like a fool.
It's got to go. Business-casual represents a compromise of the most basic values of polite society. Either you believe that clothes matter or you believe that clothes don't matter. Go with whichever philosophy you'd like but don't try to snow me into thinking that you're dressed appropriate for a backyard barbecue and a wedding reception with the same outfit. Be a professional or be an outlaw. Don't be a guy who doesn't want to stick out at the meeting but also wants pants that feature something called a "comfort fit waistband." Stand for something. Make a choice.