Baseball Without Grandpa

The Indians are in a slump right now, after Kerry Wood’s five-run ninth inning cameo last night and as I type this the Tribe dropped yet another game to the Kansas City Royals today, losing 9-3.

All this losing is wearing on me. I’ve been a baseball fan for most of my life now, and being a youngster in the 1990’s, I grew used to the winning ways of the Tribe. It was easy to be a fan back then, but one of the reasons I am still a fan now, after a decade of mostly losing, is because of my Grandfather, who died today. Grandpa, like me, loved Cleveland sports and like me, loved the Indians the most. He and my grandmother would always at least have the game on, but usually could be found in their respective chairs watching every game. He was around for the 1948 championship, endured all those years of losing, and this year’s losing was wearing on him as well. To be honest, my grandpa was probably extra tired from his fight with cancer, and thus whenever Jhonny Peralta half-assed a play it just ruffled his feathers even more. We both agreed about Peralta, but there were many baseball things that we just didn’t see eye-to-eye on, mostly because I took a more sabermetric approach to the game.

This season’s losing has seemed especially bleak to me, because my grandpa has been so sick. It’s cast a pall over the season to me. He’d ask me questions like, “Are the Indians ever going to be good again?” And I’d rattle off names like “Smooth” Santana, TJ House, Alex White and Josh Judy, and how in a couple years we should be able to contend again. He’d just shake his head and say, “I hope you’re right.” The names I mentioned were meaningless to him, he knew he most likely would not be around to see these players, but he’d take my word for it that things would be OK.

I found out he died in the middle of the 7th inning of today’s game. The game wasn’t as enjoyable to watch. Granted, the Indians’ bullpen was doing what it does best: giving up free runs. So it wasn’t an enjoyable game to begin with, but it wasn’t as funny to me anymore. My grandfather was integral to my love of baseball, and now, he’s gone.

I’ve been preaching hope since day one with both this Indians team and Cleveland sports in general. One of the reasons I do is because of my grandfather, because no matter how bad the team lost the game before, he was always there to watch the next one. And I thank him for that, because I’m much the same way. I’m supposed to go to the game on Sunday, and it will be hard to fight back tears at times, knowing that my grandpa won’t be watching.

But I’m glad he did watch, because that’s one of the reasons I watch. He’s one of the reasons I run this blog. And for that I owe him this.

So thank you, Grandpa. We may have not agreed on everything, but I loved you just the same. Rest in peace.

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