Should LeBron James help the Cleveland Indians too?

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So here’s how weird things get when there’s a star of the magnitude of LeBron James around. A New York newspaper will write a column discussing why a Cleveland Cavaliers player should do something to help the Cleveland Indians sell tickets. The New York Daily News had this on Saturday.

So here’s what LeBron can do: From now until the end of baseball’s regular season, he should make regular appearances at Progressive Field, where the Indians play. And we’re not talking about him sitting behind home plate, where only those near him would recognize him without the use of a TV monitor. He needs to be on the field, waving to the crowd, getting people excited about the team, and the city, again.

From this Clevelander’s perspective I know a couple things. First, I think it would work. Second, I think it would be incredibly sad for the Indians and Major League Baseball. Third, it would be a complete waste of LeBron James’ well-earned star capital.

For as angry as I was with LeBron for leaving and how bitter I was about the way he left, he spends his time mostly on meaningful causes. He donates healthily to his alma mater in Akron. He does his bike charity. He’s even doing a special “Rehab Addict” with Nicole Curtis via his LeBron James Family Foundation to help ten families in the Akron area.

Yes, it would be fun for Indians fans and Cleveland fans in general. Yes, it would work and it would be pretty special to see the Cleveland sports community really draw together for the common good of the city’s sports fans, but I just can’t take this all that seriously.

This is the kind of talk that follows LeBron James. On a side note, what are the chances that Mark Shapiro forwarded a link to LeBron’s crew? “Hey Rich! Whaddaya think? ttyl – Mark”

  • tom

    the only way he could help the Indians is if he and gilbert bought the team…..

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yikes I’d say he has already done Cleveland one big favor! The Indians, really?

  • Guest

    He’s not a mascot.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    (Lights match) Chief Wahoo nods in agreement.

  • C_CLE

    This is nonsense. So because he’s LeBron, he should show up and market for another team out of the goodness of his heart? He’s shouldn’t do a damn thing
    for anyone unless he’s contracted to. Why should he help a billionaire make more money? It’s laughable. What if another company in your city asked you to show up at a career fair and market for them on your off time for nothing? How quickly are you volunteering? GTFO of here with that…

  • JNeids

    I get that his presence alone draws crowds, but considering we know he’s a Yankee fan anyways, I don’t think this would go over too well.

  • Cornelius

    You want LeBron to help the community? Forget the Indians. If LeBron really wanted to make a splash, he would approach Goodyear and see to it that their new $500 million dollar high-tech tire factory wound up in Akron. Goodyear is currently debating where to build this job-creating behemoth. Akron and Chester County, SC are amongst the finalists. I’m no expert, and I have no idea what kind of sway he would have with a multi-national company like Goodyear, but I doubt it would hurt Akron’s cause for LeBron to throw his name into the hat. An advertising partnership between LRMR and Goodyear may just be the feather that tips the scale in Akron’s favor. You guys at WFNY are awesome and have a ton of pull with the Cleveland fan base. You should look into this and maybe write and article about it, similar to this one. Maybe it finds its way to the ear of Rich Paul.

  • mgbode

    That is a better idea. They are looking at S.America as well though and it will be hard to compete, but I am pulling for Akron to win that factory.

  • cmm13

    I was just going to say, I am sure he would do it if he could wear his Yankees cap and his Cowboys jersey.

  • mgbode

    I like the line of thinking, so let’s continue.

    Speaking of job creation, if the poorly named Global Center of Health Innovation were able to have a major conference that could grab LeBron (perhaps tie-in Cavalier head trainers) as a keynote speaker, then that could really boost the marketability of the region as well for such an event.

  • Harv 21

    wow, that was one sloooow day at the NY Daily News.

  • Hopwin

    Every comment in this thread is a gem.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You lit a match for another reason Clever Craig Lyndall!

  • Steve

    Sigh. This is the dumbest narrative in town.

  • cmm13

    Depends on the directive of the narrative….

    If Tom is suggesting that the Indians would benefit from an owner more willing to spend large dollars while existing in a small market then no, it is not dumb.

    If Tom is literally suggesting that LeBron and Dan Gilbert need to buy the Indians, then it needs more planning.

  • Steve

    It’s dumb because it suggests that Gilbert and Lebron would spend large dollars on a low revenue team.

    Gilbert spends a lot of money on the Cavs when the CBA lets him underpay Lebron James by $30-50M a year. When he wasn’t getting a steal on Lebron, payrolls were not so impressive. There’s no reason to believe it would be any different if he owned the Indians.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Yeah, because LeBron showing up at Indians games has worked out so well.

  • mgbode

    or even people in LeBron jerseys at the ballpark

    http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0729/pg2_g_jamescle_576.jpg

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    (whisper) He hates Gilbert, loves the Dolans!

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • Steve

    I’ll ask that you not put words in my mouth, thank you.

    I don’t particularly like Dolans, and think they could improve how they run the team, but they get way more grief than they deserve. They’re the only ownership in town that has assembled a FO that can build a playoff team without having a top 5 all time talent fall in their laps. What they have the most going for them is their being locals, and the best hope that this team doesn’t move any time soon. And they understand better than the other owners this town has (had with Lerner) to evaluate the process more than the results and to not overly focus on the short-term.

    Gilbert, not unlike a few sports owners, seems like a pretty scuzzy dude. More importantly to Cleveland fans, he doesn’t seem like a good organization builder unless Lebron is covering up the flaws of the team. I don’t think he’s a particularly good owner, but I don’t hate him, I just wish he would get out of his own way.

    If you flipped the scenarios and gave the Dolans/Indians a local kid that was so good and in an economic environment that underpaid him so much that he produced $30-50M in surplus value and made the best player on the Cavs a guy so emotionless, they make robot jokes about him, how do you think the spending of each team would change?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Stop ease dropping that was between me and cmm13!

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    LeBron and the Indians….like oil and water.

  • cmm13

    You certainly took A LOT away from one small sentence Tom wrote.

    From his one statement you were able to surmise Dan Gilbert would run the Indians in the same manner he runs the Cavs, the ONLY way for the Indians to be successful is to develop cheap young talent and that TOM HATES BASEBALL.

    So now that you’ve worked out all the planning I had mentioned in the one narrative try down the other lane.

    Is it really so bad to suggest that the team would benefit from an owner with deeper pockets than the Dolan group?

    I mean, I’m not talking Ilitch/Steinbrenner/Guggenheim money… maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of Castellini/Angelos would be nice.

    You can play the “develop young talent” card all you want with the Tribe but the fact remains that winning window will only be open for so long.

    When the ownership group will not spend to keep that young talent in place while also supplanting with additional necessary free agency acquisitions the GM gets what 2 years to try and make it all work at the exact right moment before the young talent is eventually plucked to other teams.

    There is a perfect storm element to the small market MLB teams that will eventually either pay off in dividends or fizzle out forcing that team’s window back shut and lead to the next few years of wheel turning.

    Cleveland doesn’t like the wheel turning period for it’s baseball team fandom. They want the hope that this year is the year and that EVERY game matters.

    oh…. and I love baseball.
    .

  • Tairy Greene

    all we want the dolans to do is stop nickel-and-diming. they made a lot of money selling STO and on top of that are getting something like 40 mil a year from fox to televise the games which covers half the payroll. the 40 mil in rights pales in comparison to what the dodgers or yanks pull in but it’s still significant. they made an attempt to act like they were throwing money around by picking up swisher and bourn, but they could have done more. still they cannot afford to miss with any free agents as in the case with swisher. i was afraid when swisher was signed that it would turn into a hafner situation and it sure seems to be heading in that direction.

  • Wow

    He’s a Yankees fan.

  • Steve

    I didn’t need his statement to surmise anything. I took Gilbert’s running of the Cavaliers, and his other businesses as to how he would run the Indians – to make money. Just like the Dolans, he won’t lose money on his team.

    I took the history of small market success to determine the best way for a small market team to succeed.

    And I took the constant excuse-making by Indians “fans” as for what they’re actually getting at.

    If there is another Illitch out there, willing to run the team at a deficit, supported by other business ventures (Illitch didn’t start splurging on the Tigers until the NHL implemented a salary cap preventing him from splurging on the Red Wings), it would be nice. But none of those other names are losing money on their teams. They spend what they take in. So, no, I don’t see them spending much more in Cleveland.

  • Steve

    “but they could have done more”

    Evidence?