Major League – arguably the greatest baseball movie ever made – turns 25 this year. (I’ll pause for a second as you start to feel really old.)
The movie chronicles the 1989 season of a fictional version of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. During that season, the team – a wacky group of misfits who were counted out by everyone but themselves – (SPOILER ALERT!) manages to come together to win a very unlikely American League East division title.
I re-watched it recently, and I realized that the world has changed considerably since the good old days of 1989. Al Gore’s “internet” hadn’t yet attained mainstream popularity, and therefore there were no sports bloggers around to opine on all the happenings.
But what if the internet had been around back then? What if I was a blogger who wrote about the Indians? How would I have felt about the team?
I plan to find out in a series of posts that will analyze that fictional season from the perspective of a sports blogger.
I’ll start off in the early part of 1989 as the baseball off-season nears its conclusion.
Can Rachel Phelps really make things worse?
It’s too easy to pile on Rachel Phelps these days. (Was that a pun? I’m not sure.)
Since inheriting the Indians from her late husband, everyone has been worried that the former showgirl (I realize that her former occupation is mostly irrelevant, but I get the impression that it is mandatory to mention it any time she is discussed) is going to ruin the team. Some feel that she’s the worst thing to happen to the Cleveland Indians since Dusty Rhodes.
Side note: I apologize to my younger readers who might not have gotten that reference. Believe it or not, there was a time – 1954 in particular – when the Indians weren’t horrible, and actually played in the World Series against the New York Giants. In the first game of that series, Giants outfielder Rhodes hit a game-winning home run in the 10th inning that sent the Giants on their way to a sweep.
To the critics: Have you been paying attention? We haven’t exactly been living in a golden era of Indians baseball. This is a franchise that hasn’t finished higher than fourth place in the last twenty years, and was only able to reach those dizzying heights twice during that period.
Mrs. Phelps can’t ruin the Indians; they’re already ruined. The only direction the Indians can possibly go is up.
I’m sure that many of the critics believe that a woman isn’t capable of being a successful owner. They probably think that running a Major League Baseball team is beyond the abilities of a former showgirl. (Sorry, I mentioned it again.) They’re probably worried that Mrs. Phelps will be more concerned with making sure the Indians uniforms look pretty rather than finding the best players to wear those uniforms.
I think it might be a blessing if Mrs. Phelps doesn’t know anything about baseball. The late Mr. Phelps was reportedly very involved in the team’s operations, and we saw how well that worked out. If she stays out of the front office’s way and only worries about making sure the checks clear, that might be the best thing to ever happen to the team.
So I’m urging everyone who is skeptical of Rachel Phelps to keep an open mind because there’s only one thing I’m sure of: Things can’t possibly get any worse.