Small market teams rely on minds, not wallets. Are the Indians relying on something much more mysterious as well?
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The Cleveland Indians are famously stuck in a land of low spending and tight margins. Between attendance issues, a depressed regional economy and ever-skyrocketing cost of free agents, they are squeezed like few other teams to maximize their margins and find a way to get all they can out of the players they control. It’s a tough job. The front office has to be creative and at times daring, likely doing things behind the scenes which fans aren’t privy to like the creation of the
among other projects. Behind that curtain, I am becoming convinced that things of a mysterious and mystical nature are going on. There’s something about this Indians team that makes me suspicious that they aren’t on the up and up, not just a collection of All American boys playing the national pastime. It’s beginning to look like the Indians are tapping into something arcane, almost mystical to produce this current contender – I’m saying the Tribe is dabbling in something sinister.
Madness, you say? There’s no way that this is possible. Magic isn’t real. And in a sense I agree. After all, the things we read about in fantasy novels and see on the silver screen aren’t actually possible, any more than a man from another planet could naturally fly about and shoot lasers out of his eyes. But a saying comes to mind while I consider this – any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. It’s where the idea that stories of angels and the like coming to Earth in the ancient times were actually aliens or astronauts. Magic and godlike abilities would have made sense to a primitive polytheistic world where focused light beams and antigravity would be incomprehensible. So perhaps the damning charge of witchcraft and devil work is a bit much, but it reads to me like the Indians are at least toying with playing God. As far as I can tell, theirs is a multifaceted approach.
It would make sense for the Tribe to engineer a sort of self-destruct in clones though…it’s genius.
In Philip Pullman’s
His Dark Materials
saga a tale is told of an alternate universe, a mirror Earth where all people are born with a daemon, a sort of animal familiar that represents the soul. Without spoilng a brilliant series, suffice it to say the villains in those books are working to find a way to sever people from their daemons to create an army of emotionless automatons to do their bidding. Sure it’s fiction, but perhaps the Indians are doing something like this, creating perfect baseball players stripped of emotion and not fettered by the troubles of everyday life. TakeCy Young
. He’s jokingly called the Klubot, an unfeeling pitching machine of destruction that is activated every five days to vaporize batters. But what if it’s not a joke? Is it possible that prior to his coming to Cleveland, when he was still a San Diego farmhand, he was ebullient and wacky, a wildcard? We know almost nothing of him except he went to Stetson University, which I’m still not convinced is real. Who names a school after a hat? Perhaps he was once a nice, regular guy that wasn’t maximizing his pitching potential because he was too busy focusing on other stuff and just living life. Then the Indians twisted him, removed him of the worries of the average person and turned him into the unfeeling killer we see on the mound. The only other explanation is the Indians took the Kluber template and replaced him with an actual robot, an even more terrifying idea. If they can create this sort of superhuman thing just for pitching, they’re just down the road from world domination.
The first we saw of this fiendishness was likely Lou Marson, he was the Guinea pig. After all, who notices a backup catcher? They’re not supposed to hit anyway so the Tribe could work on that personality, or lack of it. Jokes were made that he was a time traveler from the 50’s, just your most straightlaced and stereotypical guy from a time in America where conforming was life. But maybe it was more than that – maybe he just had no feelings. Whether it was because the Tribe stripped him of them or just because he was just Mk.1 of a series of robots the Indians are constructing in the bowels of Progressive Field is the question. Kluber along with Michael Brantley would be Mk.2, of course. So average for his first two years, Brantley seems to have calibrated properly and is now one of the best hitters in the league. It took Kluber some time to make the adjustment as well – his 2013 numbers were solid if unspectacular and his 99 ERA+ about as average as you can get. And now? Domination. Having your worries stripped away makes baseball much easier. Or just look at 2013 first round pick Clint Frazier, a young man red of hair and pale of complexion with freckles. You know what I mean. A tabula rasa, if you will. They’re beginning to think ahead to their next star and no one will be the wiser.
It’s not just the soulless destructoids on the field that scare me, I think the Indians are dabbling in human cloning and genetic engineering. We’ve explored this idea around the league on the hit podcast Wahoo’s on the Mic. Look no further than Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis. Left-handed, bat-first infielders with a propensity for moustache growing and dancing in rhythm. The likeness is uncanny. We already know certain teams are working to perfect cloning, like the New York Yankees with
Mickey Mantle. Their imperfect copy escaped or was removed to southern Jersey by rogue elements where nobody would find him, and he grew to be Mike Trout. Just think of where the Yanks would be if he had been kept under their control and worked out the kinks, what they’d have in the outfield these days. The Trout template is the best around, far better than the other fish-named generations Tim Salmon or Mike Carp.
Sep 23, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder David Murphy (7) throws the ball to the infield on a double by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (not pictured) in the fifth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Indians don’t have the genetic material to work with that the Yankees do, much less the financial capabilities to employ the best underground genetic engineers, but they look to be working in the right direction. Their clones just seem to fizzle out, suffer from some sort of a short burn rate or something. Besides stats, it’s the best way to explain why Kipnis killed it last year before falling to earth this year, or Lonnie’s breakout followed by his precipitous decline. It would make sense for the Tribe to engineer a sort of self-destruct in clones though. To keep up appearances the Indians would have to let the player face free agency and nobody is going to logically turn down the big money, which the Indians can’t offer. So they’d lose the clone, but it wouldn’t matter because it would lose all its skill and become worthless. It’s genius. Not something the Yankees have to worry about but brilliant of the Tribe to factor it in.
Perhaps this is all impossible silliness. I don’t want to believe it myself. But why do the Indians need windmills and solar panels? Don’t they want to support the local energy concerns and be good corporate citizens? Looks to me like they have some off the grid tech somewhere in the bowels of Progressive Field they need to power. Or this big renovation they’re doing this offseason. Is it all just above board adding of bars and creature comforts? Or is it a way to officially spend money while funnelling more money into the R&D for cloning vats and soul strippers, or ways to get better, more daring disgraced geneticists onto the payroll without letting auditors and such from Major League Baseball in on their operations? Seeing as the team didn’t accept any taxpayer help it’s easy for them to keep the big, real stuff off the books.
With each team trying to find that edge over the others there’s going to be a point where the pursuit of greater talent begins to hedge on science over humanity. It happened with stats over the human touch and scouting for a while before that happy medium was found, and perhaps in the wake of the Steroid Era, organizations have the raw data they needed to begin crafting their own players. If the Indians have gotten on this horse early I’m all for it if it leads to winning. I just don’t want to hear about a breakout from their facility in the next few years and a supermutant wreaking havoc on the streets of Cleveland. That would be bad press. Either way, the vigilant among us must keep an eye out. As CEO of InGen John Hammond proved, playing god can have its consequences, not the least of which is the near-death of Jeff Goldblum. And we just can’t have that, can we?