Excerpt from Monday's Chuck Hoefert column: In Tribe Town, “Wait until next year” is the year Indian fans have been waiting for since Cleveland started preparing to defend the last World Series Championship they won back, way, way, way back in 1948.
That means Tuesday, when the season opens in Toronto, the unofficial slogan of the Cleveland Indians for the last 65 years — “Wait until next year” — is old enough to start collecting Social Security.
But, is it old enough to retire?
Happy Next Year!
Or is it?
When the white puffs of smoke poured out of the Tribe Town chimney last October the smoke wasn’t from burning the money they saved — $30 million by not signing or renewing the options of the ones that used to be Grady, Travis, Casey and Fausto or whatever his name was last fall.
Nope, those white puffs from the Tribe Town chimney were smoke signals signifying Cleveland indeed wants to dance with the stars of MLB so they hired the master dancer, Terry “Harlem Shakes” Francona.
Unfortunately for Shakes Francona he inherited a team that finished with the 25th best (worst?) record last season who coincidently started that season with the 25th best (worst?) opening day payroll of $65 million.
Fortunately for Harlem Francona, Paul Dolan, the Indians owner, using the $30 million he saved in salary from last year’s team and $41 million from MLB new national TV contract along with the $230 million from the sale of Dolan’s own TV sports cable outlet, STO, the Tribe CEO had $300 million to invest in Cleveland’s 2013 version of a professional baseball team.
Using that $300 million windfall, Dolan for his “Wait until next year” Indians, the team with the 25th best (worst?) record last year that was financed with the 25th best (worst?) payroll last year, Dolan went and increased this year’s payroll by $13 million.