Last night was perfect weather for a ball game. Clear skies, sunshine poking through early on and a first place team – PERFECT.
But in reality, it wasn’t perfect. Only 17,568 fans showed up to witness the Tribe win. That’s 38.9% full, according to ESPN. What’s the excuse? In April it was too cold. May had days that were both too cold and too hot. Now we’re in June with a first place team and we can’t get more than 17K to show up? Who are we, the freakin’ Mud Hens? (Exaggerating – 17K for a Mud Hens game would probably make their management go bonkers. Yep. Bonkers.).
Some might point to the weather predictions. A stormy night had been forecasted all through the week and I imagine it scared some fans away. But Indians fans are probably also aware that we get more false alarms than whoever “the boy who cried wolf” was messing with. Here’s what my plan was. Feel free to steal it in the future.
I met up with my buddy and his lady friend over at Great Lakes in Ohio City (free parking on side streets!). The plan was to get a couple drinks, eat some grub and head on over to the game via The Fatty Wagon. Don’t know about The Fatty Wagon? Neither did I. Tony, our esteemed driver, explained that the shuttle runs on oils from the restaurant. Now that’s some eco-friendly shit that would give Al Gore a boner. A “Gore-ner,” if you will.
We saw the shuttle pass by a few times before finally deciding to pay our bill and get ready to head out. Tony had just passed yet again, so we decided to grab one more beer each. Of course the shuttle showed up again just as we grabbed our beers. The game had already started, so I ran over to ask him how long he’d be until he spun around again. “I’m ready whenever you guys are,” he said. “I’ll go park around the corner.”
How’s that for some service?
Not wanting to make Tony wait too long, we threw down our beers like college frat brahs and hopped on the shuttle. The ride’s a quick one over the Detroit-Superior bridge, down Huron before turning onto Carnegie. He dropped us off across the street from the Jake (yes, the “Jake,” dammit!) on Carnegie and Eagle.
And with that, we picked up some cheap tickets and did what anyone else would do with the cheapest tickets and empty seats up close. We moved up! While it was admittedly pretty awesome to pay eight bucks and be able to move up front, it was pretty sad looking around and seeing the empty seats. “Really?” I thought to myself. “Is there pierogi eating contest I don’t know about?”
We all know how the game went, so I won’t bother recapping what Indians.com and ESPN writers get paid to do. But the unfortunate highlight of the game for me was how few came out on this perfect night to witness the first place Tribe win another one.
In years past, people would point to the struggling economy. Fair enough, but I’m not exactly rolling in it myself, but Itry to show up to at least one game per home series. I know that’s a lot and I don’t at all expect anyone to come close to matching it, season ticket holders aside. But my Lord, I shouldn’t have to be asking people to go to a ball game on a night with perfect weather to watch their first place, hometown team! It’s not like I’m asking people to go watch Avatar (I can’t get over how much I hate that flick).
We’re the city that set a record (at the time) for consecutive sell outs. The economy wasn’t exactly crapping rainbows back then, but we made it happen! So why not now? There’s simply no better way to spend three hours than being with your fellow Clevelanders, cheering on the Tribe. I know people are busy, have lives, yada yada… But again, we made it happen before. 455 times. Was Cleveland that much richer with less to do back in the ’90′s?
And if money really is the issue, I’ll give you eight bucks. Seriously. Email me, Tweet me or send me an invoice with carrier pigeon. I’ll spend the extra eight bucks to fill at least one more seat. With the summer solstice approaching, the Tribe still in first place and my offer to buy your damn ticket – Indians fans are running out of excuses.