Tepid Tribe Fever

Despite Cleveland having a first-place baseball team, why is watching losing football in the fall feel like must-see TV?

On Saturday of the long Fourth of July weekend, my good friend Aaron, his wife and their four-month-old daughter accompanied my wife and me to Ikea. Don't ask. It was not the start I envisioned to the holiday weekend, but my wife is pregnant and if you must lay down your golf clubs for a day to keep her happy, you do it.

After a short, successful and moderately expensive trip to Ikea, all three girls fell asleep in the backseat on the way home. It allowed my friend, Aaron, and I to talk about our favorite topic: sports.

He described a conversation his wife and him had that morning:

"Aaron: Well, it's official. I have no sports to watch.

Wife: Why, is football still not happening?

Aaron: Not only do I not have football, but now the NBA is locked out.

Wife: But you can always watch baseball. The Indians are doing great this year.

Aaron: Well …"

On America's birthday, two of its three major sports were in a lockout.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has a first-place team in the sport that is currently not in a lockout … baseball. Perfect time for Tribe fever to set it. Right?

"I never think to myself during the day that everything needs to be wrapped up by 7:05 p.m. so I can catch the first pitch," Aaron said. "The issue is I'm never excited for a Tribe game."

I agreed.

We questioned our Indians fandom. Although Aaron and I did not grow up together, we both have fond childhood memories of watching those crappy Indians at an even crappier Municipal Stadium.

Perhaps the problem is baseball. With 162 games during the season, the Indians are on every night. Missed the game? Eh, they'll play tomorrow. The Indians can be on in the background. It can be followed along via Twitter. Life can be lived. You don't feel like you have to plan your day around the Indians like we do with the Browns.

"If August rolls around and the Indians have a shot, I will watch more games," Aaron said. "Call me a fair weather fan, but meaningless baseball games simply don't have an allure. On the flip side, when the Indians are out of it, I won't flip around to watch the Giants play the Phillies on a random Wednesday evening, either. Now, Seahawks against the Rams on a random Sunday afternoon, yes please."

Heck, Aaron and I would even text each other during Cavs games this past NBA season, as he marveled in "Ryan Hollins' ability to scamper around the court like a newborn giraffe." Yet we still haven't become fully invested in Indians baseball.

We aren't bashing baseball, but we were wondering if we are alone. Fans are showing up at Progressive Field as the Indians continue to play winning baseball.

Still, the games don't feel like must-see TV unlike those fall Sundays when they are not just limited to watching the Browns games. The whole day is centered on football, as well as Monday and Thursday night games.

Are we alone? Let us know your thoughts.


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