I don't know how long you've been following baseball... but for over a decade they were pretty much the model franchise... and held the record for consecutive sellouts.
They were a shining example of what good ownership, good management, a good GM, and a good farm system could do for you. They really started to come up in 1992, had really awful and tragic luck in 1993 when two of their pitchers died in a boat crash during spring training, and one was done for the season, then were leading the standings in 1994 in their new Jacobs Field when the strike hit (could have been an Indians vs Expos World Series that year, quite easily). Then they were damn strong from 1995-1999, with WS appearances in 95 and 97. Again in the 2000s with the awful loss to the Sawx up 3-1 in 2006. The Dolans buying the team has destroyed what they had. It's sad. Cleveland isn't a huge market, but the people who live there and root for the teams are as die hard as they come and will give everything they've got. They've always had a raw deal on ownership.