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Man, I loved his radio show back in the 90's. Here's his breakdown of his interview with Dolan. Dolan's words are in bold and Levine's comments follow:


Hot stove start: Dolan assesses Tribe

Sunday, November 2, 2008 1:27 AM EST

By Les Levine



Indians president Paul Dolan made his annual appearance on my television show Thursday night, and, while there was no bombshell announcement, he was very open about this past season and what he expects for next season. Here are some of his observations, followed by some of mine.


Philadelphia’s World Series title — “I was happy for Charlie Manuel. I was rooting for Philadelphia. Tampa Bay didn’t deserve to win. They haven’t suffered enough. The Tampa community didn’t support the team enough to deserve the win. I like Joe Maddon and I know and like the ownership group, and they did it the right way, unlike the Florida Marlins, who rented teams that won twice.”


Most fans outside of Boston and New York, however, had to be happy a small-market team was able to knock off the big boys.


One could hardly blame Manuel for gloating when he told a veteran Cleveland reporter to make sure he went back to Cleveland and told everybody he won the World Series. Charlie got himself fired at the All Star break in 2002, knowing there was no chance he would be retained just a year after winning the Central Division. Mark Shapiro, of course, was grooming Eric Wedge for the job.


The Indians’ attendance — “We projected 2.5 million and hoped for more based on a successful season. We expected to play in October.”


When the season went bad by the All-Star break and the Tribe unloaded CC Sabathia, Casey Blake and Paul Byrd, attendance finished at about 2.15 million. The Indians were responsible for Blake’s entire contract with Los Angeles, but they saved money on Sabathia and Byrd.


The Sabathia trade — “There was no seller’s remorse. We did the right thing and the franchise will be better off for it.”


The Indians finished 7 1/2 games out of first, but that doesn’t mean Sabathia would have had the same success had he stayed here that he had in Milwaukee. The franchise only will be better off if Matt LaPorta and/or Michael Brantley get to the big club, and produce, rather quickly.


Adding a bat to the lineup — “Corner outfield is not a primary need. There is a need to add a bat to the lineup, but we’d like to add it in the infield.”


The Indians are comfortable with the outfield combination of Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo, Franklin Gutierrez and Ben Francisco.


Note David Dellucci is not included in that comfortable group. Actually, they may not be that comfortable with that quartet, but by not adding an outfield bat, they can leave room for LaPorta, Brantley and Trevor Crowe, the trio that should start the season in Columbus.


The anticipated addition of an infielder, and what they intend to do with the rest of the infield is not based on a specific plan to go after a first, second or third baseman. They will go after what they can get and then adjust by either moving Jhonny Peralta to third, and Asdrubal Cabrera to short, or keeping them where they have been since their arrival in the big leagues.


Now that the Pirates have reportedly decided not to pick up the option on Jason Michaels reminds us of how bad the decision was to platoon Michaels and Dellucci at the start of last year. In 2009, that pair won’t be more than fifth outfielders, if that, for some teams.


Jhonny Peralta at shortstop — “I am not the baseball guy. I am a fan. But I have access to the baseball guys. You can win with Peralta at short. We should have won in '07 with him at shortstop. The fact that we didn’t win was not because he was the shortstop.”


That is true. But if the team is built on pitching and defense, the Indians clearly would be better if Peralta was moved to third. If they add a run-producing first or third baseman and keep Peralta at short, then they are not as strong defensively as they could be.


But there a lot of ways to win championships.


Eric Wedge heading into his seventh year — “Continuity is important. Unlike what we saw with the Tigers, Eric Wedge teams never quit. In reality, this might have been his best year as a manager.”


That is also true. But Eric Wedge teams also don’t start very well.


The only good start he has had in six years was in 2007, and the Indians went on to win 96 games.


Wins are every bit as important in April as they are in September.


Dolan says there is always pressure to win.


But in this day and age, seven years with only one playoff appearance shouldn’t get the manager an eighth year to get it done. In the history of the Indians, only Mike Hargrove (9), Lou Boudreau (9) and Tris Speaker (8) had more years in the position than Wedge. Hargrove led his teams to the World Series twice.


Boudreau and Speaker were player-managers and won World Series titles.


Al Lopez, arguably the best manager in Tribe history, went to the World Series once in his six years at the helm.


The economy — “We are sensitive to the economy issues. Cleveland has been hit hard for a while, and the rest of the country is catching up. But if there is an opportunity to improve our club, we will. It could happen fast, it could happen later … but we are talking to other clubs now. We can make offers to free agents after Nov. 14.”


That sounds more like trades are in the offing, rather than free-agent signings. Don’t count on Manny Ramirez finishing his career where it all began.


After the Indians tied the Red Sox with the best record in baseball two years ago, season tickets went from about 13,000 to 15,000. According to Dolan, an announcement of a deal with Ramirez probably wouldn’t account for nearly that amount of increased sales. And, of course, there are other issues involved.


Clearly, the front office learned a lesson from last offseason, and they won’t repeat the mistake they made by standing pat, for the most part.


If they can’t come up with a couple of major acquisitions, it won’t be for lack of trying.


http://www.news-herald.com/articles/200 ... 127697.txt



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