Hope springs eternal once a year…and for the past 64 years if you’re an Indians fan. That’s how long it’s been since the Indians last won the World Series. We came close in ’95 and again in ’97 and I had the opportunity to see it happen when my cousin Donnie and I traveled to Miami to see games six and seven.
I was a season ticket holder back then and managing the Cleveland Athletic Club. I’d met someone from the National League’s office who was in town for the Series and needed a place to work out. We’d been talking after one of the games when I mentioned how I’d love to be in Miami to see the Indians win the Series.
“I can get you tickets if you can get there,” she offered.
I called the airlines to check the price and Donnie to see if he was in. “Hell yes,” was his reaction.
We boarded a plane out of Akron/Canton where I’d found a flight for about $400. It had all happened so quickly, that I’d arranged for a hotel room for two nights, but little else. We didn’t know where it was or how we’d be getting there, and we surely didn’t know how we’d be getting to the games. And then fate intervened.
“You guys going to the game?” a man on the plane asked. I was wearing an Indians cap, but little else to indicate my plans.
“Go Tribe,” I responded.
“Where you stayin’?” he asked. I explained our situation and how we’d come to be on the flight.
“I’m in charge of security for the team and I’ve got a limo at the airport waiting for us. Want to hitch a ride?” he asked.
Tough decision. We jumped at the opportunity and were thrilled to find a limo parked outside flying Indians flags on the hood with a driver ready to take our bags. He delivered us to the hotel but not before the Security Chief asked if we’d like a ride to the game later that night.
“Umm…HELL YEAH!” I said.
And so there we were…pulling into the Marlin’s stadium parking lot in a stretch limo flying Indians pennants and loaded down with booze and food. There were half a dozen people in the car, whooping it up as we pulled through the crowd moving towards the gates. They were wearing goofy Marlin hats and ugly turquoise Marlin paraphernalia and banging on the limo as we passed. They looked nerdy and they probably knew it. We were deposited in front of the main entrance and exited the vehicle like rock stars…decked out in our Indians outfits and swaggering like millionaires. We won the game that day, but as befitting all things Tribe, would lose the deciding seventh game the next night, having had the lead with one out in the ninth, only to lose it…and the game…in extra innings. As we headed for the exit at the conclusion of the game, Donnie made a surprising statement.
“You know…I came here for one reason only. I wanted to see how you’d react when the Indians won.” And, believe me, I wish he’d been able to.
Well…its Spring Training again, Donnie, but it doesn’t look too good for the coming season. Still…we can dream and hope…and maybe some day before I die, we’ll get to see them raise the World Series pennant over the stadium to signify we’ve finally done it.
As the catchers and pitchers were reporting, I was running on trails in pretty decent shape. I was wearing only a t-shirt and shorts and if the weather held, could be riding outside tomorrow. I pushed it to an hour…I’m beginning to lay the foundation for the birthday triathlon…and everything went well. And…as always…Go Tribe, Donnie…see you in the fall.
Calories burned during workout: 1020.