The 2009 season started with great promise for the Cleveland Indians. Some publications picked them to win their division, and the long-suffering hearts of Cleveland sports fans were filled with a desperate, wild-eyed hope that this might be the year. Alas, the season quickly turned to ashes in the mouths of Cleveland fans. The Tribe was dismal from the get-go, long ago unloaded its marquee players in the hope of getting some prospects who might pan out in the future, and ended the season with a twisting death spiral that leaves then struggling to stay ahead of the horrible Kansas City Royals and out of the AL Central cellar.
The reaction of Cleveland management was to fire Eric Wedge, the manager, today. Wedge managed the Tribe for seven years and got them into the playoffs once. I’m not someone who always blames the manager or head coach when a team underperforms — usually, it is the players’ fault — but I think Indians’ management made the right call in showing Wedge the door. He was supposed to be the cerebral catcher-coach with great baseball knowledge, but I never saw much sign of that. As a small market team, the Tribe can’t buy its way into the playoffs every year, like the Yankees or the Red Sox, but it clearly has had quality players during Wedge’s tenure. I don’t think he ever took a mediocre team and made it a good team through savvy moves, much less take a good team and make it a great one.
As the Tribe enters what will no doubt be a long, painful rebuilding process, there is no point in having some failed retread as the manager. Better to bring in a new face, with some fire, who might motivate promising youngsters to overachieve.
When I saw this piece, it reminded me of UJ’s postings on positive thinking and The Secret. The author questions whether the power of positive thinking and the constant exhortations that people should act happy and be happy, haven’t been harmful to our culture. The issue is whether trying to be upbeat at all times causes people to overlook real problems and issues. If something is wrong, why shouldn’t an intelligent human being be unhappy about it and complain about it?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with positive thinking, and I think there is nothing wrong with doing things that ten to make you happier, like listening to music that you like on your commute, rather than risking higher blood pressure as a result of listening to the news. In my view, the problem with many “positive thinking” type books is that some people read them and conclude that they are entitled to be happy. If you think that you are entitled to be hapy at all times, and you aren’t, you are bound to be disappointed — and disappointed people aren’t happy. Being realistic about the ups and downs of life seems like a wiser course.
Russell asked us to send him his winter boots recently, and it is probably a good thing he did. Weather forecasters are saying that a weak El Nino current exists in the Pacific Ocean, and about 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino condition correlates with colder than expected winters in the northeast United States.
What does colder than normal weather in the northeast mean for our economy? Why, increased heating oil use, of course. Not surprisingly, commodities traders already are increasing their net long positions — which in effect bet that the price of heating oil will rise — and heating oil prices are rising. It is the capitalist system at work.