Jody Michael


Let me start this by saying I lost count of how many games I went to this year. I think it’s around 30. I go because I love it, I love seeing my twitter friends there, I love the Indians, and I normally have a great time. I also have to say I think the Indians have really tried to step up their fan experience within the last three years. Improved wifi and more variety in dining it’s a better experience for people who go to a LOT of games and don’t want to eat 900 hot dogs a season.

After last night and a disappointing loss, I thought about the attendance problem. Everyone has theories about it….from “people don’t come because they don’t support ownership” to “they don’t support a team that lets them down every year” etc etc on and on. 

In my opinion, the attendance is the way it is because you receive the exact same emotional payoff being at games and seeing the win in person as you do seeing the win on TV on most occasions. I feel just as good about a win I see at home on my couch as I do about a game I actually attended. 

The difference is I can multitask at home. I can watch, tweet, do laundry, pet the dog, make lunch etcetcetc. At Jacob’s field I can see friends and get lots of yummy food and enjoy being at the park, but on a weekday it might not be the best idea. All for the same feeling I get watching a game at home. 

This is not to say there haven’t been games I was happy to say I WAS THERE. Our Giambi-versary is September 24, and I am proud to say that I WAS THERE, standing at the Rigid bar with my twitter friends, holding my breath for a  miracle. Giambi hit the most important homerun of our season, and I cried like a baby. I’m proud to say that I WAS THERE for lots of our walk off games, because that rush is probably what cocaine is like (I assume). 

The other Cleveland teams offer a different experience being there versus being at home watching on TV. Going to a Browns game and BEING THERE is a distinctly different experience than being on the couch. Going to a Cavs game and BEING THERE in the same building as Lebron James is a different experience than watching it on TV.

I love the Cleveland Indians and I love baseball, but about 50% of the time, win or loss, my overall emotional payoff and experience is exactly the same when the ballgame is over.

This is all valid. But so the next question is, what makes Browns and Cavs games a distinct, better-than-watching-on-TV experience that isn’t the same for the Tribe? I ask for two reasons. One, perhaps some of the reasons are things that the Tribe or the league can improve. Two, I’m genuinely curious because my experiences differ; I get much less enjoyment from attending Browns games than I do from watching them on TV, whereas Tribe games are by far my favorite to experience among the three teams, but judging by the attendance figures I’m obviously in the minority.

Here are some possible reasons the Browns and Cavs have the attendance advantage. Which of these seem realistic? Are there others I’m missing? (Keep in mind I don’t necessarily agree with all of these; they’re just theories.)

  • The pace of the game, the commercial breaks, etc., are more tolerable when attending football and basketball than they are at a baseball game.
  • The energy of the fans is more evident and/or meaningful at Browns and Cavs games. (If that’s the case, the Tribe is in a catch-22: there won’t be more energy unless more people come, and people won’t come unless there’s more energy.)
  • Basketball and football have more thrilling, edge-of-your-seat moments; seeing a slam dunk or a big kickoff return is more exciting than a double play or grand slam.
  • The opponent matters. People want to go to Browns game against the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals because they’re huge rivalries, but the Tribe’s division games against the Twins, Royals and White Sox just aren’t the same. Only the Tigers come close.
  • Something about the Browns’ stadium and the Cavs’ arena (not the fans or the players, but the actual venue) is appealing in a way that isn’t the same with the Tribe.
  • Tom Hamilton is such a great broadcaster that staying home to listen to the Tribe game is a compelling option in a way that the Browns’ and Cavs’ broadcasts aren’t.

Those are the thoughts off the top of my head. I agree that there’s definitely more to the attendance issue than the “I’m not paying to watch that crappy team” debate that talk radio rinses and repeats every few weeks, but it’d be nice to nail down the reasons “being there” is more meaningful for the Browns and Cavs.

And there is another American profession that has a significantly more alarming problem with domestic abuse. I’d urge everyone who believes in zero tolerance for NFL employees caught beating their wives or girlfriends to direct as much attention—or ideally, even more attention—at police officers who assault their partners. Several studies have found that the romantic partners of police officers suffer domestic abuse at rates significantly higher than the general population. And while all partner abuse is unacceptable, it is especially problematic when domestic abusers are literally the people that battered and abused women are supposed to call for help.
The pernicious, toxic and inescapable lifelong effect of being disciplined physically – either to the point of abuse, or to the point that the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable blurs in your mind – is that you almost have to say you turned out fine, just to redeem the fact of being who you are. That you “turned out fine” is the only way to make sense of having once felt total terror or uncontrollable shaking rage at the sight of one (or both) of the two people expected to care most for you in the world. The thought that you might have ended up relatively OK or perhaps even better without all that fear is almost unbearable: the suffering only doubles if you admit that it truly had no purpose.

#4 Is Genius, But The Rest Of These Pictures Of Latte Art Are Okay Too

I’m gonna wear a (not-blood-soaked) Kent State polo shirt to work today and see if it gets any comments.