The Tribe has lost six in a row. Message boards are overflowing with calls for the heads of Eric Wedge and Mark Shapiro. The bandwagon is nearly empty. The season has been declared lost. And it seems like anyone with Internet connection has declared themselves done with the team until the manager is fired, the general manager is fired or the owners sell the team.
And yet at as 7 p.m. rolled around I found myself missing the fact there was no game. There is something about baseball that the other sports miss. There are only 16 Browns games. So each contest is the end all be all. You get full of passion and find yourself ready to hit something. After each game you find yourself exhausted filled with either anger or joy depending on how the game ended. For the Cavs you never know when they are going to play. The schedule makes no sense. There is no rhyme or reason. There is no flow. And the whole regular season is nothing but one long rehearsal. Eight teams in each conference get in and then play those long series that make the regular season almost irrelevant.
But baseball is almost every day. Yesterday is forgotten quickly as momentum is today's starting pitcher. I won't say that I accept losing but over the years I have had a lot of practice at it. Losing doesn't bother me as much in baseball than in the other sports. Football really sucks when your team sucks. The last half of the Browns season last year was torture. And regular season NBA can be a joke. Teams mail it in all the team. But since baseball can be such an individual sport, each game starts fresh and anything can happen. Maybe today there will be no-hitter, a triple play or a straight steal of home. Even at their worst the Indians still won 57 games and usually at least twenty more.
The Indians had three winning records during my childhood. They were 81-78 when I was three, 81-80 when I was six and 84-78 in that magical summer was I was 13 before I believed in curses. But I loved them. I loved listening to Herb Score on the radio and Joe Tait or Jack Corrigan on TV. When I got to go to a game I loved how green the grass was and the sounds of the wooden chairs I got to bang when there was rally. I love the sound of the ball hitting the bat and the thrill that a foul ball might come my way. I like to cheer the good guys and boo the bad guys. Whether I am drawing out Juuuuuuuuuuuuuulioooooooo or Choooooooooooooooo, I smile every time.
Sure I want to shoot the bullpen. I want strangle Garko or Peralta when they do something dumb. I get irritated by the stupidness of a grown man in a Ketchup costume or clueless fans that never shut up during a game. I want to win, believe me I want to win so bad that I get tears every time I watch the end of Major League.
But I love baseball. And I like watching it every day even if I know mostly likely at the end they are going to frustrate the hell out of me. Maybe these feelings are drawn out by the anger out pouring from all corners this week from all the people that jumped back on board after Lee's almost no-hitter. I have an everyday relationship with this team. I get you don't. I understand you are mad. I feel a little mad too.
So if you want to turn off the Tribe go ahead. If it ever gets better, I am sure you will be back. If you want to put Shapiro on your dart board in the privacy of your own home, go ahead. If you want to go to bars, get drunk and tell everyone how dumb Eric Wedge is after every play because you played the game and you know-- go ahead -- just stay at the other end away from me. But these gasps of organized revolt that want the fans to rise up and force to Dolans to act or sell because the people of Cleveland deserve better, just go away. Concentrate on taking care of your family. Put your energy into saving your neighborhood.
It is a game and a distraction. And I wish there was one on right now.