Root for Tribe the way you first started
Here we go again, Cleveland.
That saying used to have an entirely different meaning for Cleveland sports fans. Nowadays, instead of another jaw-dropping, heartbreaking defeat, teams are finding unthinkable ways to win. (Well, except for the Browns. They’re still, well, the Browns.)
While the Indians were making an improbable run to the World Series, people were still re-watching Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers’ title was as improbable as the Indians postseason tear, but this one has a different feel.
This is the Indians, a team generations of kids grew up watching. Regardless of age or ethnicity, most fans probably sat on the couch with dad or mom, grandpa or grandma and watched — or listened to — the Tribe. It was a tradition for most baseball fans, no matter how good or bad the team was at that point.
“I remember going to my grandfather’s house and watching him listen to it on the radio, with Joe Tait doing the broadcasting,” said Champion High School baseball coach and longtime Indians fan Rick Yauger. “A lot of times I prefer to listen to the game on the radio. It reminds of that (time) and that feel. And Tom Hamilton is so good.”
He sure is. Not many announcers can get the hairs on the back of your neck standing like Hamiilton, someone most of this generation listened to as kids. And don’t stop listening now. For one, FOX announcer Joe Buck probably has a 2-foot Cubs tattoo stamped on his chest, with his constant adulation for the “Lovable Losers,” and secondly, this isn’t a time to break tradition.
Whether you’re listening to Hamilton or painfully enduring Buck, enjoy the game with the right people.
Yauger’s story sounds like so many others, and he has the right idea now that the Indians are on the brink of making history. A lot of people are wondering how to take in the Series: Where to go, what to do, who to watch it with, and the answer is simple. Do it the way you always have.
Yauger, a 51-year-old father of three, was able to create similar memories from his own childhood.
He was in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with his son, also named Rick, for Game 1 of the World Series. His son Rick is part of the Army’s Airborne Unit, so these chances don’t come around too often.
“It’s a special thing,” he said. “(The World Series) is an amazing experience, and especially locally, with us — we’re from the school of hard knocks, so we’re getting our little day in the sunshine here.”
Ain’t that the truth. A city that’s been dumped on by national media, social media, superstars, politicians, heck, I think even Sesame Street got a few digs in (the background for Oscar the Grouch sure looked a lot like Cleveland), is finally receiving some praise. Everyone wants to soak it in and celebrate the good times, but do yourself a favor and do it the right way.
I mean, what good is celebrating a championship if you can’t remember it? Instead of drinking and tipping over cars, give dad or mom a high-five, chest-bump grandpa (lightly, if possible) or scream and yell with your sister or aunt and uncle or best friend.
You never know how many chances you’ll get to do that.
“I have an uncle who was a huge Indians fan and he since has passed away,” Yauger said. “He had colon cancer, so he’s not going to get to see this, and he would have just been thrilled, so you can’t take it for granted. It’s a great experience.”
Not many people know how sports can bring a family together better than Sean Price.
The Howland High School baseball coach also is a father of three. He and his wife, Jane, played baseball and softball, respectively, in college, and all three of their kids played sports (some in both high school and college) as well. They can hardly run into someone without them mentioning how strong of an arm their kid must have, considering their pedigree.
“It’s rooted deep in us, that’s for sure,” Sean Price said. “Sports have definitely been a big part of our lives.”
Championship opportunities are rare, so take advantage of them the right way. Family and friends are why most of us started watching them and why not enjoy the biggest moments the same way.
“I remember sitting with my dad watching Len Barker’s perfect game,” said Sean, recalling the former Indians pitcher’s momentous day in May of 1981. “I’ve always liked the Indians. We just didn’t have too many winning seasons (back then). But I think I can still tell you the starting lineup for the ’95 (World Series) team and the ’97 team. I still remember Jose Mesa giving up the hit to …”
Eh, this is a family story, let’s not cause everyone to run back to the bar.