Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Deep breath

Sports will not affect my mood.
Sports will not affect my mood.
Sports will not affect my mood.
Sports will not affect my mood.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Red Soc fans suck and so do Jacobs Fields employees in section 504

I have been in a somber and dark mood ever since I got home from the game last night. And it is so much more than the loss.

I had tickets because I won the lottery online. Instead of selling the tickets at a way marked up price, I gave them to friends. Imagine my horror to find the two rows in front of me and three rows behind me were all Red Sox fans. It seems everyone else who won the lottery were either ticket brokers or people who sold their tickets to brokers. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the lottery for fans? Instead Red Soc fans were everywhere.

They are worse than Yankee fans. Before the first pitch I had to hear how damn superior they are -- not the ball club but New England and themselves. It was all about themselves. While Yankee fans tend to drunken front runners there to party, Red Sox fans are there to pose and preen and to thumb down noses. They talked about how the whole world was watching this game because the Sox was playing but no one cared about Cleveland. I doubt a single one in my section had any idea who Johnny Pesky is? One of them snobbishly said Cleveland fans suck because they never cheer unless the scoreboard tells them to and how Boston is always on their feet and cheering (despite what we saw on TV for game two- but that was because it was so cold, right Bill Simmons)

Finally in the top of the fifth I could take no more. When we got a runner on base, I stood up. That is all I did. I didn't say anything. I didn't wave a rally towel. I did nothing but stand.

I was called a fag and an asshole. I was threatened with violence. And I just stood there. When the inning ended I sat back down. Some Indians employee in a yellow shirt came and summoned me over like I was a grade schooler. He could care less what happened. I being the Indians fan surrounded by Red Sox fan had to be in the wrong. I had to be vile and a rude host. He talked down to me and said if I stood up one more time I would be arrested. He was insulting and he put his hands on me. He could care less about the truth So I left.

I found somewhere else to stand.

In my own park for doing nothing but standing I was threatened with arrest. I was called names, threatened with physical violence and thrice before I stood smacked from behind "accidentally" with never a sorry. And I was threatened with arrest.

The Indians were bullied on the field yesterday and stadium personnel allowed us fans to be bullied in our own park. What since we are from Cleveland, we must be the bad guys?

And when in the history of the stadium have you not been allowed to stand when the home team bats during a rally.

I spent the rest of the game without joy. I feel no joy today. And as of right now I don't feel compelled to even watch game six tomorrow.

Our home crowd was weak for most of the game . And when I tried to stand up, I was made the villain. It was a sad, sad day.

And my heart is broken.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Get the ball to 47

Naturally the best case scenario for tonight's game is a complete game victory by C.C. Sabathia. While the Tribe's bullpen has been lights out in the playoffs, you always root for the starter to finish the game with his fist held high.

But say C.C.'s pitch count in well in the triple digits after eight innings and the Indians have a one run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. The great majority of Tribe fans will be calling for Rafael Betancourt to enter the game instead of Joe Borowski.

And yet Eric Wedge will hand the ball to JoBo. And well he should.

I know Rafy Right has been arguably the best pitcher in the majors this season. His stuff has been nasty and he has been as close to perfect as one can be this post season. And I understand JoBo is always an adventure.

But what has made this team so special is that Eric Wedge trusts his players and his players believe in him. He believed in Westbrook and Byrd. He believed in Shoppach. And he has been rewarded. It is has been JoBo's job all year when the lead is three or less in the ninth inning and Wedge is not going to change.

I know fans will fret and even howl if JoBo would give up the lead. But if that happens Wedge will give the ball back to JoBo in the same situation in game six. And well he should.

Fans and reporters always think they know best. But they don't live with guys every day. Wedge knows this team better than anyone. And he knows what role every player should be in.

Let's look at what the roster would look like if the fans and the media ran the team. Casey Blake would have been gone three years ago. Jhonny Peralta would be gone. And Sabathia himself would have been traded. Oh the radio show callers wanted all three gone for most of the last few years. Martinez would be at first base, Garko would behind the plate and CoCo Crisp (he of few postseason hits) would still in left field. In fact, at midseason there was a segment of fans that wanted to trade Pronk and few still wanted to fire Eric Wedge.

And where would the team be.

I admit JoBo can be scary and Betancourt has been nasty good but if Eric Wedge hands the ball to Borowski in the ninth. I will be on my feet screaming in support. Win or lose, Wedge has earned my trust. And what he does from this point on, I respect and believe in. Just like the men in his clubhouse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A perfect day for baseball

It is a beautiful day in Cleveland, Ohio. Perfect weather for a chance to clinch a return to the World Series...wait, what? About a month ago, Major League Baseball declared today an off day. So rather than sitting in the stands tonight in short sleeves watching the best two pitchers in the American League battle it out, tomorrow the Tribe and Sox will try to squeeze the game in between Thunderstorms. Way to go Bud Selig!

I have so much to say, so much to write about. But because I grew up here in Cleveland I have taught myself to self censor. See I can't fully enjoy these types of moments because I don't want to jinx what I want to happen. It isn't like I dwell on the negative but I know how much it hurts when you get ahead of yourself. I learned the hard way on January 4, 1981. That day hurt but the day that really haunts me was when I had to be the bearer of bad news to my little brother. Yes the ball was on the two-yard line , yes we were up by seven points and time was running out. My brother was singing and dancing. I can still see him and I can still hear him. I told him to sit down and shut up. You don't celebrate until the game is over. He blamed that loss on my lack of faith. He still hasn't forgiven me for taking away his innocence. And I am still waiting for that day when it will make everything that went before it not matter.

Those names we assign those days, those names will mean nothing one day, some day. Oh how I long for that day. It is so close I can taste it. And yet because of the past, I have to dance around what I want, what I believe. I can't say the words aloud because of some fear-- irrational or sane-- that I will be the jinx.

So rather than sit in sun-soaked outfield tonight, tomorrow my brother and I will just be getting soaked. And if it goes well, it will be worth it. But this decision decreed to make me wait one more day, I am fighting against seeing as an omen and just accepting it as just another day to wait. I have waited a long time, what is a few more days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Now that was fun

Not much I can add to what has already been written. But how about the one of the longest tenured Indians and the most beloved Indian stepping up at exactly the right time.

It has been have been tough for a competeitor like Jake Westbrook to accept how he pitched at Yankee Stadium and then to listen to him dismissed by the national media as bum. The national media finally started talking about the Tribe instead of the other team and all they talked about was how the Indians had to basically survive Westbrook and Byrd's starts. Nevermind both have made all-star games and while Byrd has been consistent all season, Westbrook's ERA in August was 1.90. Like Byrd before him, Westbrook went out and proved his veteran mettle. He was ahead on almost every batter and battled hard. After Garko's error filled the bases with no outs in teh second, Westbrook never blinked getting a pop-up and double play.

In the bottom of that inning, the mayor of Cleveland took a lesuirely stroll to the plate. Oh to be Kenny Lofton right now. I don't know how he handles that standing ovation and chants of his name every time he steps to the plate. And then the cool cat homers! As if this city could love him any more than it already does. What a perfect story line for the veteran. It adds to this magical ride and I am so glad he was brought back. And the fact he is delivering is amazing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


And that is why Trot Nixon has been on the roster all season long.

I admit when that double play wasn't turned in the fifth inning, a feeling of dread fell over me. I knew Manny would homer and I thought the series might be over. All we had left in the bullpen was Betancourt and there were four innings plus left to go.

But Lewis and Mastny stepped up and allowed the Indians to have a chance in extra innings.

The Tribe needed a split and they got one. That looms even bigger since both of our dual aces got lit up and the team still pulled out one victory. You can't ask for more.

Mark May of ESPN is a real idiot.