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Sports


Indians get hot just in time for Browns to take the spotlight
For the second straight year, the Cleveland Indians are making a push for the playoffs. Still, year after year, the Browns dominate fans’ attention.
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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For the second straight year, the Cleveland Indians are making a push for the playoffs. The Tribe had a huge August, and while they’ve lost two in a row to begin the month of September, they are within five games of first place in the AL Central and of a Wild Card berth. Still, year after year, the Browns dominate fans’ attention. As a columnist with Cleveland.com, WKSU commentator Terry Pluto keeps track of how many people look at his stories.
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In August, Terry Pluto wrote about 40 stories for Cleveland.com. The highest-rated of the Indians stories – the day the Indians traded Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera – ranked No. 15.

“The Browns made no trade in August; they had no draft. They got annihilated in a bunch of preseason games except one. And yet, 12 of those 14 stories ahead of the (Indians) were Browns stories. The other two were LeBron James/Kevin Love/Cavs stories.”

All of which underscores that “Cleveland is a football town, and there always is this excitement about a new season coming -- regardless of what common sense would tell you.”

Pluto says common sense this year warns fans not to get too excited. For one thing, Brian Hoyer is the 12th different opening-day starting quarterback since 1999.

Pluto says bad teams with respectable starts can tease fans along for awhile, but in this case, “I’m fearful with the Browns that there’s going to be no teasing.”

So he’s predicting a 6-10 season – as he has for the last six years.

“And while it’s a joke, it also is a comment that truthfully, most years, I didn’t think they’d win more than six.”

Pluto says there’s no question the Indians have done the better job over the last 10 years. While the Browns have posted just one winning season, the Indians have made it to the playoffs twice and won more than 90 games over three seasons.

Yet, Indians “attendance is going to be about the same as last year. The Indians were surprised how there season ticket base didn’t move from 2013 to 2014. It stayed around 8,000.”

Meanwhile, despite the dismal on-field performance of the Browns, “they have actually increased their season-ticket sales by 10 percent in each of the last two years.”

So Pluto wonders “when will the Browns fans get really upset where it hurts the (team)?”

If fans are looking for reliable alternatives, Pluto suggests the Indians young pitchers are a good bet to watch in September.

“They went 17-9 and they barely averaged over 3 runs a game. They basically outpitched everyone.” And if that continues, he expects the Indians will be in the playoffs, again.

The question is: Will a town obsessed with the Browns notice?

LISTEN: Terry Pluto on Rubber Ducks tough playoff sell
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