I'd take the vote of confidence by Antonetti at face value.
Traditionally - a vote of confidence is the kiss of death in disguise.
<< Whats the market difference in Cleveland than Detroit? Minnesota? Tampa? No. It is the ownership. >>
100% true. Our owner is willing to spend a whole lot. He wants to win now, because he's in his 80's, so we overpay for FA signings. Sorry to say, that's the lot in life for clubs like Detroit and Cleveland. We're small market, blue-collar towns, and we either have to work harder or pay more, just to even out with the west and east.
Cleveland is pretty much the only other team I ever pull for outside of the Tigers. Hang in there, guys.
Biggest differences between Detroit and Cleveland are that Detroit has a billionaire owner willing to spend at a loss in order to see a championship in Detroit before he dies, that and the fact that Detroit is a much larger metropolitan area than Cleveland. Both economies are bad, but Detroit has a much larger base from which to draw fans. Also, there's no in-state competition. If you live in Michigan, you're a Tiger's fan.
Difference between Cleveland and Minnesota, mainly, is that they just built a new stadium. Their attendance has already dropped significantly from last year to this year. If they continue to lose, they will see fewer and fewer fans, and their ownership will be just as penny-pinching as ours.
Tampa? Well, they face a similar situation to the Indians. They have a small base from which to draw fans and their ownership doesn't have endless pockets. They have a smaller payroll than us every year. So I wouldn't say that their ownership is better, their front office is better. They win because they find good players on the cheap. They also had the benefit of drafting in the top 10 for about the first decade they were in existence because they were so bad, which is why they have Upton (#2 overall), Niemann (#4), Longoria (#3), Price (#1), etc.
It depends on the definition of "winning."
If getting to the playoffs year after year defines a winning team (not necessarilly the WS), then teams like the Yankees and Boston have a clear advantage. Yeah, Boston isn't doing anything this year, but they're still not that far out of it.
The Yankees - specifically Steinbrener, have brought this about on smaller market teams by over bidding and over paying for free agents ever since free agency came into being. In order for smaller market teams to compete for these players, we have to pay more for their services - over paying an already overpaid player, just to get them to play in Detroit, or name your town.
It's a vicious circle, and a game that the larger market teams will always win, because they have more money to spend than we can afford. Some teams, if they have good scouting and what-not, can build a club from within. They only have a small window to win in, though - because their best players will move on to where they'll get more money later - ie, New York, Boston, LA, etc...KC has some good talent. How long they will be able to hold onto it is a real problem. Will they be able to hold onto them long enough to build a winner? Time will tell.
The obvious solution would be to have a salary cap. That would level the playing field in the MLB.
It's not suprising to me that New York, Boston, and LA fans like their baseball the most: It's the only sport left where the rich tend to continue winning and getting richer. In all other sports, they're just another team, with the same amount of funds to spend as any other.
After all that wind-blowing, though: You have a point about ownership. They have to spend money to build a viable product. A winning club draws out the band wagon fans. They spend a whole lot of money at the ballpark. They're not going to come to the ballpark if the team isn't winning, though. For the most part, the fans that post in the MLB message boards will watch their team no matter what. They'll go to the games, etc...because they are fans of baseball, and Cleveland baseball, in particular (obviously :-) ).
Ownership is most interested in those "fans" that only become fans when a club is winning. Maybe your owner doesn't believe that your fans will come. If they don't, he loses money on a FA signing. He's got to take the chance and find out. Otherwise, attendance will just keep dropping. I know this well. Detroit lost a generation of fans in the 90's. They never lost the really knowledgeable fans - but the band wagoners were in a deep hibernation. If he spends the money, people will come.
Indians should move to Columbus as well as the Browns. The market there is twice the size of Cleveland. 393,806 - Jul 2011Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Columbus Ohio797,434 - Jul 2011Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The Browns would fill the Horseshoe every Sunday and with that revenue maybe they could be a contender.
The Indians would also draw more fans and more revenue.
Both of these teams could also keep their NE Ohio fan base with this move.