Earlier today, I was listening to a familiar voice that I respected lament about how Baseballreference.com and the internet have dampened this time of year when we were still pouring over things like the Bill James Handbook, the Stats Inc. Sourcebook, and the Big Bad Baseball Annual (the Deadly Accuracy Boys were not around yet). About halfway through the tirade the voice stopped because I realized it was my own, and I was being nostalgic for a past that wasn’t better than the present, another sure sign that I am aging.
The last time my mind played that little voice trick on me was Game One of the 1995 ALDS Cleveland versus Boston. Despite going 100-44, the Indians were trailing the inferior Red Sox 4-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning. A rational baseball fan would have not been reeling in desperation; after all, it was just the first game of the series. To a Cleveland fan on that cold, windy night, it was Red Right 88, the Drive, and the Fumble lurking menacingly in the shadows. Disaster was imminent; our souls were about to be crushed by DARKNESS. Over the wind, I could hear a small boy weeping, and I soon realized that boy was me. Then Sir Albert Belle crushed one into the left field bleachers, and Darkness was vanquished, and the little boy, along with the rest of the city, cheered. Of course, Baseballreference.com tells us that Hansel and Gretel didn’t make it out of the woods safely that year, but #### Baseballreference.com; 1995 was the year Albert Belle hit that homerun that, for a while, pushed Darkness back.
My father, who lives somewhat near Washington DC, informed me today on the phone that he is a Redskins’ fan now.
Me: You can’t do that, Quisling.
Old Man Bads: Do what?
Me: Just pick a new team that is doing well and decide they are your team.
OMB: Why not? I don’t live in Cleveland anymore.
Me: It doesn’t go away.
OMB: It does if I want it to.
Me: Look, you inflicted your sons with this curse; you can’t just walk away from us. Red Right 88, Byner, Jose Mesa, Tony Fernandez—-
OMB: What the hell is wrong with you?