Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

There is still some life left in the Tribe

What is a sports columnist to do?
Which Browns do you write about?
The football team that looks ready to tell a malcontented offensive lineman where to stick it so they can focus on winning football games. Where are all of the “we are one happy family” lines and woe is us about Kellen comments? Could this regime really be about moving on and focusing on the big picture?
Or do you write about the basketball team? Risking the future in an unproven coach (Mike Brown) and/or a proven vagabond (Larry Brown). Chemistry in the front office and with your best player be damned, there is genius at work.
I have been backing the DEE-troit carpetbagger since he got here. But honestly his first sentence of the press conference really frightened me. He made a joke about “mortgage rates” and I don’t think he was actually joking. What, he couldn’t get LeBron to do a commercial for his company so he just bought the team?
Or do I write about the brown-outs aka our baseball team that can’t hit.
Many fans seemed to think there were two ways out of this slump. Surprisingly my unscientific survey determined the number one choice was for Wedge to shave his mustache. Apparently, it is the follicles that can’t move runners or hit with two outs. The clean-shaven look will turn things around for sure. For proof, just look what Victor Martinez’s new hairdo has done for his bat?
The Tribe, however, went with door number two and fired Eddie Murray. Can’t fire the players and it’s too late to call a chemist so the Hall of Famer had to go. Wedgie must really dig the ‘stache.
So am I more of a Browns optimist (football), Browns pessimist (basketball) or masochist (baseball)?
Bring on the pain.
I spent this Sunday afternoon visiting my parents. And did we enjoy the great outdoors? Soak up some beautiful sunshine? No, for the second time this season, I sat glued to the television prepared for a baseball funeral. A sweep from the White Sox that would unofficially end our season.
First time was game three way back in April. I know, you can’t push the panic button after three games but honestly if we did’t hit those three homers in that ninth inning— it was all she wrote. Despite half the team impersonating Mendoza, the Tribe battled all through May and found a way to get to .500. The start of something special maybe? No, instead they drop the first four games in June to the two teams ahead of them. Instead of the road trip of redemption, all you could hear was the fat lady humming.
But low and behold, for the third straight game, C.C. Sabathia pitched like a man. Maybe he has finally shed his youth and become an ace. Then in an ironic twist, the strength of our team all season, the bullpen, coughed up a homer. Seriously, in the eighth inning we were up 3-1 and I made plans to leave as soon as the game was over.
Two hours later, they were still playing. Same old Tribe. Can’t get down a bunt. The game seemed doomed. When Hafner homered in the 10th, my mom said, “We’re ahead.” I couldn’t help myself and without hesitating I offered, “For now.”
I didn’t even flinch when Thomas homered. In fact as Scott Podsednik stole his way to third, I almost thought to myself, “just end our misery now.” Score, sweep and I can spend the summer outside. I even had a column forming in my head apologizing to Roger Brown about the White Sox.
But did I leave the televised opiate? No.
And then despite our best efforts to lose the game, (Grady Sizemore walks and Wedge doesn’t have him steal, doesn’t have Coco Crisp bunt but does have Victor bunt and theoretically take the bat of out the hands of both his three and four hitters) the White Sox self-destruct and give us two runs on no hits.
Will the season turn around? Will our hitters snap out of it? Is Derek Sheldon the next Charlie Lau? Are the White Sox even more cursed than we are?
Who knows but at least the life support is temporarily taken off. Even Aaron Boone had five hits over the weekend. Hope is a dangerous and often painful thing. At least the games this week are on the West Coast so I won’t be missing out on sunshine.