Monday, October 13, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Don't Hate the Drum!

Scene asked me to write a quick article on a person/place/thing that I felt uniquely captured something worthwhile about Northeast Ohio, and I'll admit at first I was stumped. I didn't want to write about something obvious that had been written about 500 times like "Well, we have the Rock Hall, and blah blah blah..." or "Sokolowski's is a place where the real Cleveland eats." Once you knock out the most obvious landmarks, you're left with Applebee's and The Gap just like every other city on the map, aren't you? "The Crocker Park Mall is really great! There's a Sunglass Hut!"

Luckily for me, I went to my last Indians game of the year, froze my ass off, and noticed John Adams was still fired up as Rafael Betancourt s-l-o-w-l-y pitched the Indians 5 run lead away. O.K., it's not completely original. The dude has received plenty of press over the years, but I implore you. It's not like he's Big Dawg on network TV every week in a stupid rubber dog mask. Plus, there's 81 home games in a baseball season. Big Dawg gets all the love, and he only has to put on a rubber mask for 10 games a year (8 regular season + 2 pre season). He probably wouldn't have gotten fat if he would have lugged a giant drum to the upper deck 81 times a year.

I would probably feel differently about John if I had to sit next to him and his drum, but my seats are by the first base line, so I don't.

Here's what I wrote, (and The Scene actually printed)...

When your team is out of it, September baseball seems like a chore. Those tickets you bought last winter with the highest of expectations now loom on the calendar like a dentist's appointment. The other night I was at Progressive Field enduring the back stretch of Indian reliever Rafael Betancourt's season long flame out, and having the game unexpectedly stretch into extra innings. It was cold. The stadium was almost empty. Occasionally a vendor asked me if I wanted a lemon chill. (I didn't.)

As the game moved into the 12th inning and past midnight, I was almost alone in my section. It was when the Indians got a couple base runners on to hopefully put a stop to the madness that I noticed it. Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Well alright…John Adams is still here, and he wants a win!

You know John. John is that guy that brings the drum to every Indians home game and has been banging out the same rally cry rhythm in the bleachers as long as I can remember. There has to be nights where he's thinking, "Shit, these guys are 10.5 games back. Maybe I ought to give the tickets to my brother in law, and stay home and watch Entourage.". But he shrugs it off, picks up the drum and goes to work. (Side note…It's got to be tough to get girls when you're dragging a drum everywhere. "Hey Baby, climb in back. The drum always sits shotgun." )

I don't really "know" John, but I like the idea of John. I can't think of anyone that symbolizes Northeast Ohio better than him. He shows up every day. His loyalty is unwavering. He is almost always disappointed, but he shrugs it off and comes back for more. He's just out there doing his thing. I like to think that his dedication will one day be rewarded with a championship. Even if it isn't, there's a certain dignity in the effort.


At October 14, 2008 at 7:01:00 PM EDT , Blogger Ken Miller said...

I sat directly in front of John Adams and his drum one time. It sucked.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home