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Mike Ashcraft

Kent State alum’s blog has emerged as premiere Web site for Indians fans


Ryan Richards, 26-year-old Kent State alumnus, runs, a popular Indians blog that encourages intelligent baseball discussion, not invective.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

With their team now assembled in Winter Haven, Fla., the Cleveland Indians are preparing to erase the disappointment of 2006 by clinching a postseason berth.

And the players aren’t the only ones gearing up for the looming baseball season. Fans of the Tribe are busy skimming over rosters, dissecting statistics and praying that an already shaky bullpen finds its feet after the retirement of closer Keith Foulke.

However, these fans extend far beyond a few buddies discussing the team over a cold beer in Northeast Ohio. They aren’t just out of state; they’re out of the United States, extending to countries such as Belgium, Japan and the United Kingdom. They connect through fan Web sites and blogs, and perhaps the blog of all Indians blogs has become

Ryan Richards, who earned his master’s degree in accounting from Kent State in 2005, is the brain behind Let’s Go Tribe, which averages about 1,300 page visits and 4,300 page views per day.

“The site is essentially Indians-related commentary with substantial reader participation,” said the 26-year-old resident of Canton.

Let’s Go Tribe allows users to create “diaries” or posts to offer their opinions on the latest news dealing with the team and Major League Baseball. Other users can comment on these posts. It’s not unusual for a post to exceed 50 comments, and a January post announcing the Indians signing of Trot Nixon received 374 comments.

Richards sees his Web site as another example of how sports connect people from all walks of life.

“A lot of the site’s readers are far-flung, and the Internet is the best way to connect with Indians fans for them. The immediate nature of blogs also makes it a place where games can be discussed as the action happens,” Richards said. “Blogs are a natural complement to Internet, radio and TV broadcasts.”

Richards has been an Indians fan since he was a child, and he first took that love to the Net in 2002. He created a site made up of Indians transactions and rosters for his own reference, which grew into a blog called “The Indians Compendium.” Richards maintained the Compendium until August 2005. It was then that he was asked to run “Let’s Go Tribe,” a network of sports blogs.

Let’s Go Tribe began to take off early in 2006, particularly when Cleveland traded outfielder Coco Crisp to the Boston Red Sox.

Let’s Go Tribe posters are currently buzzing about who should win the team’s utility infielder spot. Richards expressed concern about the need for quality bench players in a recent post, citing Joe Inglett’s muscle strains and Hector Luna’ s fielding struggles.

Despite the question marks, Richards says the feelings are still optimistic from most posters on Let’s Go Tribe.

Why the confidence that the Indians will reach the postseason for the first time since 2001?

“There’s a lot of young players that have an opportunity to make big contributions, including (third baseman) Andy Marte, (first baseman) Ryan Garko and a plethora of young relievers,” said Richards.

However, Richards points to statistical evidence that suggests a certain 23-year-old southpaw will not live up to expectations.

“I think the expectations for Jeremy Sowers may be a bit too high,” Richards said. “He was very successful in his stint with the big-league club, but some of his other statistics, such as low strikeout rates and high hit rates seem to indicate that keeping his ERA (3.57 in 2006) that low this year may be near-impossible if he continues pitching the same way.”

This kind of insightful analysis is all over the Let’s Go Tribe diaries. Richards said over-the-top banter has no place on his site.

“There’s an audience out there who wants nothing more than a place to discuss the Indians without having to deal with personal attacks or mindless flaming,” Richards said. “And that’s who I’m catering to and writing for.”

Contact sports reporter Mike Ashcraft at [email protected].