Cleveland gets sadder
The world is a sadder place.
Cleveland sports fans have lost a true icon and beloved figure.
Lou Brown, the greatest manager in Cleveland Indians history has passed away.
Naturally I understand that Lou Brown wasn’t real. He was just a character played to perfection by James Gammon.
Gammon, who passed away on Friday at age 70, played mostly cowboys and cankerous sheriffs plus he was Nash Bridges’ dad but he will always be Lou Brown to me.
As someone born in the city of Cleveland in the early 70’s, most of my childhood was spent watching losing baseball. I believe I attended a dozen games before I saw my first win in person.
The powerhouse teams that would arrive during the Jacobs Field era were completely beyond my imagination.
To me the Indians were what they would always be — a losing baseball team. Sure every April hope would spring eternal but by Memorial Day the harsh reality of baseball by the lake would return.
I admit it the room always seems to get a bit dusty during the finals scenes of Major League. The Indians only make the playoffs in a fictional world but they beat the Yankees. I can live to 100 and beating the Yankees in cinema, a video game or in real life will never get old to me.
I have another attachment to that movie as I made my big screen debut in the film. I just finished my freshman year of high school and my mother said I had to get a job to help out with the bills. The thought of working during summer vacation sounded not cool so I suggested somehow working for the Indians.
Two days later I was standing in a huge herd of people being ushered in to work as vendors. I sold peanuts that first night and it just happened to be the night they filmed the crowd scenes for the movie Major League.
So no you can’t specifically make me out in the overheard shot of Municipal Stadium but I am down there somewhere.
Lou Brown was the perfect manager for the city of Cleveland. He stood up to prima donna ball players and protected his players from idiot ownership. He didn’t make excuses for poor facilities. He taught fundamentals, he held his plays accountable and rather than blindly following the book, he went with his gut.
“I’m not much for giving inspirational addresses, but I’d just like to point out that every newspaper in the country has picked us to finish last. The local press seems to think that we’d save everyone the time and trouble if we just went out and shot ourselves. Me, I’m for wasting sportswriters’ time. So I figured we ought to hang around for a while and see if we can give ‘em all a nice big shitburger to eat!”
That’s a manager I would run through a wall for.
Rest in Peace Lou Brown. A city turns its lonely eyes to you.