In honor of playoff baseball returning- I wrote this in 2016 after the Indians lost to the Cubs in the World Series. I felt it was appropriate to share now with the Indians beginning another playoff run…
On October 3, 1995 the Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-4 at Jacobs Field to open up the ALDS. The Indians went on to sweep Boston in that series.
Also on October 3, 1995 a baby was born at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. That little baby was me. Cleveland sports were a part of my first breath, my first cry, and the first moments of my life.
From the time my sister was 2 years old she could list off the entire Indians lineup. Stories like that are not uncommon when you are from Cleveland. Many of us can pull out old pictures from when we were just babies and our parents had us decked out in Indians gear. Many of us have memories of getting a large group of friends and family together to head out to the ballpark on a beautiful day in June.
I was recently discussing with a good friend of mine what it means to be born a Cleveland fan. I watch many girls root for whatever team their boyfriend cheers for. I watch people across the country suddenly decide to cheer for a really good team that they haven’t rooted for in the past, or as most people call it, bandwagon fans. When you are born a true Cleveland fan, it does not matter if the team is successful or not. Although I am overjoyed with the recent success of the Cavs and the Indians, it wasn’t always this glamorous. Being a Cleveland fan is still having some hope when you see that the Browns are up 20-7 at the half even though they are now 0-8 on the season. Being a Cleveland fan is crying when LeBron James left for Miami and screaming when he decides to return because that’s how much you want to see something good happen to this city. Being a Cleveland fan is watching “Wahoo What a Finish: 12 Magical Moments at Jacobs Field” on VHS many times during your childhood while your parents made you pancakes on a Sunday morning. Being a Cleveland fan is working hard for what you have because nothing is given, everything is earned.
After experiencing a roller coaster of a game 7, I took to social media to see the reaction of other fans in hopes of calming my emotions. There was nothing but LOVE from Cleveland fans towards their team. The positivity and the support everyone showed after the loss just reminded me why I believe Cleveland fans are the greatest fans on Earth. Win or lose we love our teams and we will love them till the day we die. So everyone can continue with their “Indians blew a 3-1 lead” jokes, but they won’t bother us. We all know what our team was able to accomplish this year, and nobody can take away the love we have for our team. Today I proudly walked around campus at Ohio State with my tribe hat on. My expectations were confirmed as other fellow Cleveland fans passed me with a smile on their face and with the nod of their head said, “Roll Tribe.” You wouldn’t have thought we lost the World Series yesterday.
If you didn’t already know, the Tribe was missing it’s number 2 and 3 pitchers for the postseason and it’s top hitter, Michael Brantley for almost the entire season. Nobody believed we would get past Boston in the ALDS. Nobody believed we would get past Toronto in the ALCS. And not a single soul would’ve thought we would push the 103 win Cubs to extra innings in a game 7 in the World Series, but we did exactly that. This is also why the “Indians blew a 3-1 lead” jokes are irrelevant. We weren’t supposed to be there, but we were.
I think yesterday was exactly what professional baseball needed. About a year ago, I was listening to a radio talk show about how nobody was interested in the MLB anymore and that it had lost its’ spark. The thought of baseball losing this spark didn’t sit well with me. Baseball has incredibly deep roots in this country. It is a mentally complicated and sometimes frustrating game, and I still believe that hitting a major league baseball is the absolute hardest thing to do in sports. It upset me that these players and these teams with such a deep history weren’t getting the attention they deserved. I am so excited for all of baseball because I believe this postseason reminded people why they love the sport so much.
So yes, I may discuss sports an unreasonable amount (shout out to all my good friends for putting up with it!!). I might get a little too crazy during an intense game or a heated debate about why Cleveland is the best, but this is because my passion cannot be turned on and off. Cleveland sports are a part of my family. Countless memories, good and bad, have been made with my parents, siblings, cousins, and friends. Good memories like my friend Rachel taking me to a Cavs game with her where we sat courtside when we were just 14 years old. Bad memories like my dad deciding we should head out early from the Tribe game to beat the traffic minutes before Travis Hafner hit a walk off grand slam in 2011. This is a bad memory because we realized what we had just missed while listening on the car radio! Sorry dad, I don’t think I can forgive you for that one!
So thank you Cleveland for making not just 2016, but every year so incredible. We already know why our city is so great, but now the rest of the world knows it too. And as always- Roll Tribe!!!!!!