The Cleveland Indians are down and almost out to the Detroit Tigers. And inside every Twins fan is a pinch of disappointment. As the pennant race closes in, every game matters. Now is the time where the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" applies. But cheering for a team that's normally hated upon is tough. Time to suck it up, Minnesota.
Thankfully, this author spent six months undercover in Cleveland and learned how to cheer for the Tribe under the steady tom-tom drum of John Adams. What follows are thoughts that will help you do the same:
2. It's Cleveland, the Paris of the Rust Belt. The city that never wins, even with LeBron James, and before him, Bernie Kosar. As God loving Lutherans the people of Minnesota should cheer for the underdogs to succeed. The extra, late season mojo the Twins exude could help prevent the Tribe from throwing in the towel and complaining that it all went downhill when Thome left...
3. Grady Sizemore. The gold-gloved center fielder is smooth, mature and a ballplayer who approaches the game like a Minnesota Twin. He plays hard, keeps up a attitude and is pure silk in the outfield. It's not a coincidence that at a bar in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland you'll run across a guy walking his dog, named after the incredible man. To put it simply: Grady is Cleveland's Joe Mauer.
4. Cleveland fans are the ying to Twins fans yang. Every organism needs balance. And the modest, keep emotions internal and family appropriate nature of Twins fans could not be fully appreciated without the external, keep the curse words loud and full of epitaphs nature of the Indians fans. Hell, Cleveland fans are so intense they fight themselves, even in the presence of BoSox fans wearing pink hats. The passion is incredible. And without the boorish behavior of men whose bipolar disorder ebbs and flows with the success of the Tribe, our steady as a diesel engine cheering section would vanish.**
5. Chief Wahoo. Some consider it one the most offensive mascots of professional athletics, second only to the native american on the helmets of the Washington Redskins. But the current Wahoo is far more modest than the last Wahoo. And in Cleveland, race isn't something you talk about only inside the safe confines of small college academia (Looking at you, Carleton College). Race is blunt and what liberals call "racism" is everywhere. In Cleveland, black people avoid Italians, Italians avoid the Polish and the Irish arrest everyone. But they all live with one another and unite around sports. The least of their worries is a cartoon caricature of an Indian. In Cleveland, it's a symbol of peace and bonding. ***
* This really only applies to girls in Cleveland. Minnesotan girls are too motherly to commit such acts, and deep down, they know their men are superior. No need to prove it in the stands.
** Of course, this is hyperbolic. And much of the relaxed nature is due to the lack of oxygen inside the Metrodome.
*** Proof: this author once went into the Little Italy neighborhood and got complimented on the camouflage Chieft Wahoo cap. Then on his walk home to East Cleveland, another kid complimented the cap.
Update: Detroit is up 8-1 in the 5th inning as I type this post for Thursday morning. The series is looking bad. Now, more than ever, is the time to cheer for the tribe.