It was the weekend I highly anticipated yet also deeply feared. I turned to my wife, “What will they think?” I said. “Who?”, she replied. “My classmates, after all, I wasn’t the class quarterback or valedictorian or even remembered that much.”Don’t expect much, its okay. Just be yourself and let what happens, happen.” I felt I was too quiet at the pre-reunion fundraiser. Now was going to be different.
I decided to stay away on Friday. I was thinking Mitchells was an ice cream place and felt it was an odd place to meet my peers for a pre-reunion party. It was actually a bar. My debut was going to be at the high school for the tour. I just approached each person with confidence and lack of expectation or judgment. Treat each peer the way you want to be treated. Hi, I’m Aaron Kurth and you must be (name of person) I was remembering people. Thank God for Facebook and photographic memory. I was not going to be offended at all if they did or did not remember me. I was loving the fact that reconcilation and “equality” was taking hold. There was no more status for me anymore. I was not a jock or nerd or burnout or snob or yuppie or loser or preppie anymore. I am Aaron Kurth striving to be a father and hard-working husband, yet whatever status life gave these people, one thing is for sure, all these peers I was and am going to call friends of the greatest class I am proud to be with, Lakewood, Ohio High School Class of 1989.
One peer said “Don’t you work for the Indians?” “Yes” I replied. “No offense but they suck.” “You are not telling me nothing I don’t already know this year so no offense taken.” Still not intending to blog about the Tribe, it took a fan from Detroit to inspire me. “Hey, you are that blogger who writes about the Indians.” I said “Yes, I am” She told me that she liked Curtis Granderson and the Tigers but also liked to read my blogs about the Tribe. I haven’t written in forever, yet she liked my blogs.
Now without judgment or expectation, the reunion was very therapeutic because I felt like I was equal to these men and women. Sure there was my first love and my second love there and women I dreamed of asking out at one time or another and the atmosphere was electric, yet I felt great because I did not hold that expectation to these peers lifting me up or putting me down to their expectations. I was equal to them and never felt like I couldn’t say hello and give a smile and a great confidence knowing I was part of their lives as they were mine.
So many times we place judgment on a team or players or each other and esteem is formed as well as a love for a player or team yet in the end, what matters is this, with each person that comes into our lives or player who plays for our favorite team, it is important that we had the opportunity to say “hello.” I am truly thankful to those I had the chance to say “hi” to this weekend or play for my team as in the case of Ryan Garko. I wish I could have seen all of you and talked with you more at the reunion. As for the former Indian, Ryan Garko, best of luck! For the rest of you, remember “Carpe Diem” Never forget the purple and the gold!
As I write this entry, I am headed into New York City to see David Wright and the Mets go up against Tampa Bay and the Rays. I need to take a brief break from the Tribe as I tried to get tickets months ago for the Cubs’ series and found out it was simply SOLD OUT!
That being said, I will get to see David Wright, my sister in-law’s “heartthrob” put his top batting average up against the man Ben Francisco loves to see any time of the season.
This past week, I saw some of the worst bullpen action to date for the Tribe and boy am I frustrated. I cheered so hard these past three games trying to stay positive, yet each time, the team fell short.
Monday I thought back to my childhood and the local softball beer league games where the scores were outrageous and pitching was horrendous. There you would love to see all the runs and hits all night long. However, with the Tribe and two five run leads, giving up all these hits and runs was UNACCEPTABLE! It was like I was watching a campfire and the pitcher poured more gasoline on the mound and now should be charged with two counts of aggravated arson for the performance on Monday.
Tuesday, Jeremy Sowers proved he can only throw five innings tops and with the gasoline induced bullpen that brings more gas to the fire instead of putting fires out this season. Another blown lead and another loss
Wednsday, I went again. The Tribe fell behind early. There was a sarcastic lady near us in the ninth smack talking saying “We swept you” before the game was over. After hearing her, I just kept repeating under my breath, “God, please teach her a lesson” It was amazing how we were able to fight back to a tie. Yet when Ryan Garko drove in the runs that tied it up for us, I was so excited. Yet, just like the season, when we tend to get on a roll, someone significant goes down to an injury. Garko appeared to twist an ankle on the play. UGH! Eventually, we lost—–AGAIN!
Now the two teams whose fans often believe they are the most cursed as of 2009 meet in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Right now, they are in a delay as I write this.
The New York City traffic is busy as normal and its great to be back here. I look forward to seeing a National League team again. I often laugh that I always tend to see the National League during Interleague. Back in 2005, I saw Pittsburgh face Tampa Bay. I now will see the Mets face Tampa Bay and report my experience hopefully over the weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there. I know my father and grandfather have influenced my love for the game. I try to do the same for my son.
The constant drops of rain did not damper the team effort of the Cleveland Indians last night as Ryan Garko, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Kelly Shoppach all had solo shots. In between was added a 2-run homerun by Mark DeRosa. It was nice to hear the roar of the crowd and the BOOM from fireworks four times throughout the night. I was not able to cheer or observe as well as I would like so it was great to be able to rely on such a great crowd, not in terms of size but in terms of great enthusiasm.
Tampa added a solo shot of their own when he hit his 16th homerun as he continued to lead the American League and was only one homerun shy of a tie for the Major League lead in homeruns. For the most part though, Cleveland pitching kept Tampa from getting a rally going as they were held to the 1 run on 6 hits. Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Gabe Gross went a combined 0-11 with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts. There were seven strikeouts in all.
It was wonderful to get a win without sweating it out from the bullpen or relying on some comeback to pull us back from the jaws of defeat. I was thinking it might be a long night due to all the rain and delays. However, it turned out to be an awesome night as I was able to get home at a decent hour. Due to the awesome power-led win, the Indians are now 19-28, 9 GB from being average.
Noteworthy news: What is up with Grady? Well, according to Anthony Castrovince, he may end up having to go on the DL. Stay tuned. Called up as insurance is Trevor Crowe. I surely hope Crowe’s production can pick up if Grady does go on the DL. It will really benefit the team to see Crowe excel his way to the top while he spends time up here. Anytime you can get quality production from utility players, your team becomes that much stronger. I want to see us make a run at this division. We can only do this by winning.
I’ll be down at Progressive Field as a fan tonight. I hope to see Zach Jackson help to continue the winning ways as of late for the Tribe. It will boost our efforts if we can win while others are on the shelf for a while. Speaking of one of those DL players, I saw Anthony Reyes last night. He appeared to remain positive from what I could tell even though the possibility of surgery for him is looming. Best of luck to him and all of the Tribe!
The White Sox series was a start. However, we need to continue. Currently, thanks to Choo who is a triple away from hitting the cycle, the Indians won 11-7 and I will reflect upon it later. Sorry I don’t blog as much as I’d like to. It is hard coming home from being or working at the game after working two jobs at one location and another in security at Progressive Field, and try to balance a family. However I am doing well and look forward to blog some now.
Game 1 of the White Sox series was one I watched in the comfort of my own home. What I saw was a combination of solid hitting by multiple players. (Finally, a team approach) and solid pitching by Carl Pavano. I was glad to see line drive swings rather than “trying to swing for the fences” over and over again. It was great to see a solid win. By this, I mean lots of hits, lots of runs, and solid pitching with few runs given up. Thus, a 9-2 result and a much needed win. As Melissa pointed out on Twitter on Monday, the Indians must win tonight. That is exactly what happened.
Game 2 of the series was the one I worked. I was placed in an area of the ballpark where it is hard to know what is going on in the game unless one is listening close to the call of Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan because the location was away from the action on various monitors in the park. The only thing relaying any sign of the game is a radio speaker in the vicinity. If I was in the fan’s shoes, I would have been down in my seat screaming “Wake up out there. Let’s stop the insanity” Especially against Thome, a former Indian who we should definitely know how to handle, no excuses! Now one can see why Sowers was sent down before the game tonight when Luis Vizcaino was signed. During the game, I had a chance to talk to a co-worker close by me. We shared thoughts about who might be Wedge’s replacement. His opinion was Mike Hargrove. I thought it should be a former manager or coach whose team actually won the World Series.
After the game, I ran into Mark Shapiro. I saw his face all red, as if embarrassed scratching his head as he was walking out yet he remained professional and courteous wishing me a good night after I said “Good night, Mr. Sha-peer-oh, I mean Sha-pie-row” The rest of the way out to my car, I was embarrased for botching up his name. That is not how I wanted to make my first impression upon him. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t we win two in a row, for goodness sake?”
Game three was in the silence of the building management office I work in. It was nice to watch Gameday seeing the Indians doing well behind the power of Martinez and Garko to lead the offense and the superb pitching by Cliff Lee to help win the series over the White Sox. A series win for only the second time all year is great. We need to keep this up. It was also nice to see the rain hold off until the game was over on Weather Education Day sponsored by WKYC Channel 3.
When the Red Sox play us, it is intense. Tonight, expecting to sit in the upper deck, my sister-in law surprised me by saying tonight’s plans had changed, we were going to sit right behind home plate. It was very intense and I was into it from the first pitch.
I was trying to get her camera to work at the right time. After a while I trusted her to get all the right shots which I will share soon. With the Red Sox, our team had to earn it. Here are some personal observations.
Dustin Pedroia- One can see how he earned the MVP. He is like Mighty Mouse coming to save the day and really an intense competitor for such a small guy.
Kevin Youkilis- He has such quick bat speed.He is very intense. I noticed that the fans of Red Sox Nation throughout the park tonight liked to get him motivated by telling him how bad he is, so I tried the reverse one inning which I cannot recall and told him how he was this year’s MVP so far and he promptly struck out swinging.
Big Papi- He will not get cheated. His outs are LOUD and his hits are louder.
When we down 5-1, I saw a reversal of fortune with error #1 from Mike Lowell. Thank you Mike! It was really special to know that your effort helped us continue the inning.
Also, error #2 was special to see to keep our inning alive. God’s grace was allowing luck to happen again for us.
Now breaking away from the errors, I kept telling the bullpen to trust their stuff and their team defense and we were able to get out of jams in each inning.
Also I told Louis Ben Francisco to earn some respect from these “self proclaimed World Champions of 2009.” At least that was the impression their fans gave as they relentlessly said “Let’s go Red Sox” as though they were already too awesome to ever lose again.
On the next pitch, Louis, in my personal doghouse, nailed it deep of the the left field foul pole to tie up this war of atrition making the score 7-7.
When the Red Sox thanks to Lugo’s key hit helped Bay score and make the score 8-7, I just told the players not to lose their focus and trust their stuff. They got out of another tough jam.
I told DeRosa to do his best to get a hit and he launched one of the very tough Takishi Saito. What a shot! I just thought this was very special.
Still with Boston, one can never feel too relaxed as a fan of Cleveland. The job Kerry Wood did to get out of the ninth inning was awesome. I really was impressed. I hope this can continue tomorrow.
I just kept asking God to help this team win this night for the community, the city and put Boston FINALLY on a losing streak, even if just for a night. Sure enough, in the most unforeseen play so far this season, it looked like such a routine play and when the third error occurred, I knew that my prayer was answered. It took everything in my power to look up and point to the sky with a big smile and bigger exhale knowing I was emotionally spent saying “Thank you God for this big break!” Call it luck for the Tribe, call it carelessness on Lopez. I believe it was an answer to a prayer that led to an eighth win and an opportunity to WIN a series against a VERY tough team that has a nation of fans.
Thank you God for this wonderful blessing. Hopefully it can stir a spark that will lead to a big series win tomorrow. I can only HOPE in God and the Tribe as I will have to stay more neutral and less CRAZY as a fan.
A note about the eighth inning: I kept thinking about “Sweet Caroline.” We have our “Hang on Sloopy” where we cay O-H-I-O and perform the gestures. Well I was trying to inspire the team at the time and say “just O-W-I-N guys” The next inning, call it what you will, we were allowed to do just that, thanks be to God!
Here is another crazy analogy about Tribe history I found ironic that I was thinking about in the ninth that give you that six degrees of separation type of game. As you know Terry Francona’s father Tito played for the Tribe and so did Terry. Pitching coach Farrell played for the Tribe and was one of our key player development personnel before joining the Sox. Now in the ninth, in comes Javier Lopez, former Twin and Angel. His number is 48, the year the Indians last won it all. His name Lopez, which reminds me of Al Lopez, one of the top managers who managed the 1954 Indians. Just a crazy way that helped me believe this was fate and God’s Will for this night.
Here are some pictures I had my sister-in-law took of the Tribe players at bat on base and after the game:
Here are my pictures from the Indians game and practice as promised!
Goodyear Ballpark 2009
This team is unified so far!
Let’s run boys!
Time to practice tag ups!
Proof I was there
If you build it, Ohio will come.
Warming up for fun is my daughter
Mr. Dolan appears before the local Cleveland media to talk about the team.
Its a fun time down here. I encourage all from Ohio and throughout the USA that are Indians fans to venture down to this wonderful town to have a wonderful time.
Friday night, the Indians went out to make the best out of this 2008 season. They had just had Boston celebrating days earlier their opportunity to repeat as Major League Baseball’s World Champions. Going into the Chicago series, I felt confident that we could finish strong, perhaps even over .500. This was pretty impressive seeing that we were at one time the cellar dwellars of the division and the possibility of 100 losses was very real to me.
Friday night, the scoring started off with a bang as “San Ben” Francisco hit a high drive that entered into the first row of the bleachers. The score was 1-0. The scoring continued with a key hit by Josh Barfield scoring Franklin Gutierrez. That made the score 2-0. Homeruns and errors in the bottom of the second inning brought the Pale Hose back however and made the score 4-2 in favor of the White Sox.
The theme of the homerun picked up again for the Tribe as Ryan “I just scored a lot of runs by switching to Garko” hit a solo shot and cut the deficit to 1 making the score 4-3.
Then came the fifth.
The hit parade showed up with singles by Sizemore, Cabrera and “Choooo” with a walk in between to “San Ben” The score was now 5-4. The scoring didn’t stop there for the Tribe as after a base on balls to Jhonny Peralta, Ryan “I just scored a lot of runs by switching to Garko” did just that by hitting a grand slam to center field. It was now 9-4 and things were ooking very well for the Tribe.
One unwritten rule that I learned as a fan was when having the lead, never let the other team score right away after taking the lead in fear of giving the lead right back to the other team. When you have one down, don’t let them back up to pounce on you.
Yet these were the White Sox whose play had given them an opportunity to win the AL Central. Surely, they were not going to give up that easily. Jermaine Dye went deep and hit a two run shot making the softball score Cleveland’s East 9th Street Pub 9 and Chicago’s South Side Tavern 6. It didn’t stop there.
Walks and wild pitches increased Cleveland’s lead to 10-6 after 6 innings. More singles and wild pitches made the score 11-6. If this was what the Pale Hose has to offer for the playoffs in October and I was a Sox fan, then I would buy a broom and be a front-runner for Tampa.
Still, Chicago pride would not let the score stay that way as the White Sox as key hits would help score single runs in the 7th and 8th innings for the Sox making the score 11-8. Finally we brought in our stopper and put an end to the comeback. The final score was 11-8.
So Twins win the division, right? No, not yet! They lost too to the Royals 8-1. Ouch!
What would happen Saturday? Deja vu!
The Twins played before the Pale Hose and lost 4-2 to the Royals. Inside, I wanted the Indians to win. However, I thought the Sox would find a way. I’m glad I was wrong. The Indians picked up where they left off the night before. “CHOOOO” like “San Ben” the night before led off with a homer making the score 1-0. The chess match was matched by the Sox with a homer of their own by Dye making the score 1-1.
Then came the fifth, again.
Like the night before, the Indians had scored six runs. They did it with a series of hits that made me think we would have won at least two more against Boston had we had the key hits that we did this inning. The Indians were in the driver’s seat, 7-1. What made this even nicer was the fact that we didn’t allow them to make a quick comeback in the bottom of the 5th. It was 7-1 and was looking good!
Paul Konerko added a homer in the bottom of the 7th. However, it was a solo shot and really didn’t threaten the Tribe’s efforts for a win making the score 7-2.
The Tribe continued to score when Ryan Garko continued to live up to the nickname I gave him by padding the Indians’ lead with an RBI making the score 8-2
Then the bullpen almost imploded. Mark Shapiro has always said the bullpen needs to be rebuilt. An inning like the bottom of the 8th shows why. With two out and tone on and one run already scored, R. Perez one of the most consistent pitchers gave up a single driving in another run. Bringing in the closer, he too gave up a homer to Paul Konerko om the first pitch scoring himself and J. Thome. It was now 8-6 and looking rather uncomfortable after 8 innings.
The ninth was a special inning for the Tribe as a series of hits from the hit parade added the 4 runs right back to the Indians making the score 12-6. What made it extra special was the Tribe did not give up any more runs. The final 12-6 made the Sox lose again!
Now I really thought it was really going to be tough to sweep. What are the chances of the two teams that are tring to win the AL Central would both be swept? Not likely! However, if the Twins lost, I surely did not want to have to sit through the possibility of causing the Sox to be closer to winning the AL Central.
The Twins won 6-0 and finally helped themselves. So the Twins were 1 game in the lead. Chicago, however also answered the call and won handily 5-1. However, the game started out like the previous two games with a homer from Peralta making the score 1-0. Chigago, this day would not be denied, espicially since Lee was not going to start. Had he started, I believe the Twins, right now would be going to Tampa as AL Central Champs. Chicago scored 3 runs on a homer by Konerko and a series of hits to make the score 3-1. Unlike the previous two days, we never struck back. To make matters worse, the Tribe gave up two more runs on a series of hits making the score 5-1.
Interestingly enough, it was today’s starter that gave up a ton of runs way back on Opening Day. Now when the White Sox needed a win, they got it through Buerhle. Ironically, our starter that day won also today 3-1 leading the Brewers also to a playoff berth in one CC Sabathia.
So, will you all become Tiger fans for one day and cheer against the Pale Hose or want the Twins and Sox to battle it out in a one-game playoff? Either way, the prayers said to God tonight will have to bring out the effort tomorrow and beyond for the Sox and Twins.
God, may the best team truly win the AL Central Division for 2008.
It was truly nice to see the Indians battle their way back to 81-81. It could have been much worse but expected to be much better.