Posted on: October 23, 2009 7:30 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2009 7:31 pm
I thank you for taking the time to read my words, as I have read so many of yours in the past that it is a great honor if they grace your eyes. I've been reading your work since I was a little kid, and I've finally felt the need to write to you myself and tell you how your writing has affected my life.
I was born in Akron , but my parents moved to Central Pennsylvania when I was seven. I still retain most of my family from that area, including my grandfather Roger Farr, who was a starting fullback on the Ohio University Sun Bowl team. Both my parents are Akron graduates, and my mother received her masters from Ohio State , so I have deep roots in the area, despite spending most of my life away from it.
I had a rough childhood, and some of the good memories I have are of the sports I saw and reading your books, specifically "The Curse of Rocky Colavito ", which I recently just re-read and made a lot more sense now that I'm not ten years old. I was fortunate enough to be at Game 5 of the 1995 World Series , when Greg Maddux faced off against Orel Hershiser , and the Indians won an outdueling contest between the two and sent the series back to Georgia. I was also lucky enough to have sixth row seats to the following year's All-Star Game in Philadelphia , and made it to several more games throughout the late 90s. The problem is, I wasn't old enough to appreciate it.
Now that I'm an adult and much more into sports and truly comprehensive of Cleveland's history of tradition, respect, and unfortunately misery, it really brings that much more of a sentiment to your daily columns and your books that I've read. Reading your stories of being young in the 60's at the old stadium make me nostalgic for that naitivity of youth where I didn't understand not only that the Indians hadn't been in the World Series in 40 years, but also that it wasn't an everyday thing to have the privlidge of attending. The last Tribe game I saw live before this year, Richie Sexson hit two home runs as a rookie. I finally got a chance to see them live when I just happened to be in Minneapolis during their last trip there, and despite being well out of the pennant race, it brought that amazing feeling back. I just couldn't enjoy it with my hometown people, because it was an away game.
I experienced my first (and only to this date) Cleveland Browns game during a good year, 2007. I've never felt such an aura of hope, pride, and solidarity, given where I live, it's Eagles and Steelers. I'm usually the lone Brady Quinn jersey at the end... and the recipient of plenty of pity because they've been so terrible recently that it's not even worth teasing. I still wear all my teams and all the jerseys every game day, Ohio State included. I never thought at the age of 24, the only championship I'd know was the 2002 Buckeyes National title. The only success of the Browns I know is that 2007 year, but still I watch every single game, even if it's just on Game Tracker. I have such a passion for Cleveland sports that it insults me that my mother has become a Phillies fan. She doesn't understand why it upsets me so much. She kinda drifted to that loyalty several years ago from being out here, and now likes to rub it in my face that they got a championship and are now headed for another Series, and with one of my favorites, Cliff Lee who played here in Harrisburg before the Colon trade, headlining the pitching staff, it's just salt in the wound. How is it fair that a lifetime of loyalty has brought nothing but close calls and epic meltdowns, yet she jumps ship and gets rewarded with a championship a few years later? She doesn't seem to get it, but I'm sure someone of longtime Cleveland loyalty can relate.
The Cavs are really the hope we've got for a long time, aren't they? I have a bad feeling this is the last shot , as we know how Cleveland luck goes. Can't take the chance that LeBron will stay, it has to be this year. I'm just such a diehard fan from a distance and I'm craving a championship so much, and unfortunately being around people I have no sports teams in common with, I don't get the companionship of being surrounded by likeminded people to cheer on and be let down with. Your column connects me to that, and I read it every time there's a new post. It seems really lame I know, but the words you write have been my connection to the world distant from me since I was old enough to understand sports. Now that I'm trying to become a writer myself, I felt the need to tell you how much your work has meant to me over the years, and how much of an inspiration you have been to do it myself. I've written several books, but I don't have the courage or know-how to get them published. I'm confident in what I've written and I'm sure once I figure out how to do it, I'll be able to, but that time is not now, unfortunately.
I don't know if you'll ever read this, but I had to take the chance that you would. Your words, your writing, your books, your columns have meant a great deal to me and have connected me to a world that's hours away but always on my television or computer. Thank you, Mr. Pluto, for everything.
Posted on: April 14, 2009 11:18 pm
The Indians last won a World Series in 1948. In 1954, they set the AL record for wins with 111, in a 154 game season, and got swept in the World Series. They didn't get to another one until 1995, where they won 100 games in a strike shortened season, but were up against the Braves who won their only World Series in their glory years against us, all but one were one run games. In 1997, Jose Mesa got paid off to blow the Game 7 save situation and they lost in the 12th inning. In 2005 they came back from 16 games down in August and got beat on the last day to get eliminated. In 2007, they were up 3 games to 1 on Boston in the ALCS, then got blown out three straight games.
The Browns last won a championship in 1964, before there was a Super Bowl. That was right after the story of the Express happened, and Jim Brown retired to become a movie star. In 1980, they were driving in the last minute "Red Right 88", and they intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to lose the game in the playoffs. "The Drive"... John Elway drives from the 2 yard line with less than two minutes to go in 1985 to tie the game and send it to overtime and win to go to the Super Bowl. "The Fumble" the next year against the same team to go to the Super Bowl, the Browns are on a comeback, and Earnest Byner fumbles on the 3-yard line as he's about to run it in for a gamewinning touchdown. A few years later, they move the team to Baltimore, give us an inferior replacement, and they finally don't suck in 2007, where they go 10-6, the same record as the team that won the Super Bowl, but weren't in the playoffs because of a tiebreaker.
The Cavs have never won a championship. They've been close twice. The Shot, which Michael Jordan shot over Craig Ehlo in the most famous basketball clip of all time to go to the Finals. They made their first Finals in, ironically, 2007, and they got swept by the Spurs.
Ohio State football is the only team for which I've cheered that has won anything. In 2002, they won the national championship on a controversial but correct call. In 2006 they went undefeated and were beaten 41-14 in the NC. In 2007 they went 11-1 and were beaten 38-24 in the NC game. This past year they had a chance to not embarrass themselves and scored a touchdown to go ahead 21-17 with less than a minute to go, and Texas drives to score a touchdown in 45 seconds to win 24-21.
Ohio State basketball sucked until the late 90's, where they got to the Final Four as an 8 seed, lost by two points to the number one seed in the semi-final. In, ironically again, 2007, they were the number 1 team, went like 33-2 or something, got the whole way to the championship, and lost to Florida, the same team that had beaten them for the national championship two months earlier in football.
I swear, if the Cavs don't win at all, I don't know if I can take more of this. They're 66-15, got home court advantage throughout the playoffs, and if they win tomorrow, tie the record for all time greatest home record of 40-1. If that team can't bring a title to Cleveland, no one can.
Since I live in central Pennsylvania, all I could do was laugh when all the Phillies fans were ecstatic because their city hadn't won a title "since 1980".
Please, LeBron... Please? One professional title for a team I watch? Please? Is it really that much to ask? Please? The Indians just gave up a grand slam in the 8th inning and are well on their way to outdoing their sucktitude of last year. It's gonna be a long summer until the Browns and Buckeyes depress me in the fall and you come back... One title, just one. Just one, please LeBron?