Tuesday, October 23, 2007

here's a word for the indians, my one and only team, a baseball team from my native city of cleveland, ohio, named originally for a big guy named sockalexis who was apparently one of the better players of the game, in his time, which was maybe the early 1900's. in modern times the name is hopelessly politically incorrect, and the hats even more so; offensive to native americans and to many others who have taken up the cause against such names. nevertheless, baseball loyalty is often intensely geographical, and i am a geographically-oriented person, with less than six months, and no other memories, to attach to the town of my birth. so i have remained loyal to this team for over fifty-three years, in which time they have won the pennant only twice, not counting the year i was born, and the series never. quite a drought. and is this a curse of rocky colavito? or of sockalexis himself? or of just 29-to-1 odds in any given year, further stacked by small television market teams being outspent by large-market teams 5-to-1 or whatever?

at any rate, their ascent into the playoffs was heavenly; their trouncing of the thoroughly-hated yankees beyond heavenly. things were going good, but there were signs that they were off too. i actually watched the first game on the television of a friend, but they were beaten badly, their ace pitcher knocked around, and after that i went home and watched the next three games on the computer, where the pace was interesting, information delivered in word form, and i could get some work done to boot. they won these three games, the second two at home in cleveland. i was euphoric. superstitious as always, i kept doing things that worked- wearing a mariners' hat (i wouldn't be caught dead in a yahoo hat)- watching on the computer, keeping a pure heart, not bragging too much, maintaining to the end that they would win it all, or at least make it to the series (this was still the playoffs, though it is late october). for naught. the red sox came back to win the last three, season over, all is gloom until the next time around.

i think even sockalexis would say, can the hat. can the name too, go for a new look. there are other names cleveland could use- the browns (familiar to football fans, but also familiar as a baseball name), the rams (today's hopeless football st. louis rams actually started in cleveland, long before their l.a. days), or countless others that would be acceptable. it really isn't as big a deal as sports fans in places like champaign would have you believe. if it offends somebody, just apologize and get it out of there. but, as i said, i am loyal to the team for geographical reasons, and, as i move from royals country to cub country to cards country, these teams don't stick to me, i have only one team, to the bitter end. and some day, when they do win, some people will remember and may even think of me and of diehard fans who, regardless of the heartbreak and the drought, will say, hey, they were still playing in october, when the yankees had gone home to play golf, when the cubbies were long gone. but indians fans don't glory in disappointment (as far as i know- there are very few out here to judge by)- don't wallow in it, like cubs fans do, don't sunbathe in the bleachers of dropped balls and televised errors. We may be deeply superstitious (was it the mariners hat? was it the television? or lack thereof? was i not pure of heart? was it even me, or are they jinxed by something else- the city, or the arrogance of wearing such a hat as the yahoo hat?)- but, in any case, i won't say, i told you so. i did not tell you so, i did not tell you anything... but i will tell you this, now. wait 'til next year. and hey, you indians, and indians fans....next year, when they win it all, we loyal fans, way out here where loyal indians fans are few and far between, will still be here for you...indians will win it all. and when they do, that will be a day to tell a story...

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