Crowe’s Release the Last Squawk of His Indians Career
By Christian Petrila
Call it strange, call it cliché, call it whatever you will, but when the Indians released Trevor Crowe on Monday, I could feel a part of my childhood leave with him.
Allow me to explain.
As passionate an Indians fan as I am, it took me the longest time to go to a professional baseball game. My parents tried to take me to an Indians game in 1997. I was four-years old and it was a Sunday afternoon game against the Cubs. I remember the clear blue sky and the beautiful field. I also remember the loud noise of the crowd that made the game unbearable at that age, so we left after maybe two innings. (I know. I’m ashamed of myself in retrospect).
I grew up the only baseball fan in my family. Being a first-generation American, nobody else in my family found the same grace, simplicity and entertainment in America’s pastime as me. Being outnumbered, going to an Indians game – or any type of baseball game – was usually out of the question.
Finally, one late-August day in 2005, my dad came home with tickets to a Lake County Captains game. He got them from work or something along those lines. I still have my ticket: Sunday, August 14, 2005. Lake County Captains vs. Hickory Crawdads, 2:05 p.m. Section 104, Row J, Seat 1.
I remember going to the game as excited as humanly possible. I had a gray and blue Indians cap I excitedly wore. I also made extra sure to bring a Sharpie in case I could get some autographs. By my standards, I made out like a bandit. Being only 12, I had absolutely no idea who these guys signing my hat were, but I soaked in every second. One was even willing to pose for a picture. As I look back, that mystery photo player was Chris Gimenez, who has since become my favorite player. But I digress.
One of the signatures on the hat turned out to be that year’s first-round pick. I remembered Trevor Crowe as the guy who had the “E” at the end of his last name and who had the sound effect of the crow squawking every time he stepped up to bat. Crowe turned out to be one of my fondest memories of my first true baseball game.
Fast forward a few weeks. It’s now September 4, 2005 and my parents and I are about to take in our first Akron Aeros game. We showed up close to first-pitch time, so no autographs this time around. Once again, I had absolutely no idea who was who in Akron, but I was having a great time from the instant we set foot inside Canal Park. We took our seats right as the starting lineups were announced. It turns out that Crowe was promoted in the few weeks after the Captains game. A huge smile came across my face when I heard that crow squawking. I excitedly told my parents that, “That’s the same guy we saw at the Captains game a few weeks ago! Remember? Mom, remember? Dad, remember?”
I probably gave them a massive migraine rambling on about how we saw Trevor Crowe again. For the rest of the day, the only thing I wanted to talk about was Trevor Crowe.
I sent the ticket stub to Crowe a few years later through the mail. I wrote a long, sincere letter recapping those two Sunday afternoons and how I would love to get his autograph on that ticket. It took all season, but one October day, the ticket found its way back home adorned with the signature of Trevor Crowe. I still have that ticket, and I still cherish it to this day.
I wouldn’t see Crowe in action again until an Indians game in 2009. It was a game against the Texas Rangers almost four years to the date when I saw Crowe in action for the first time in Lake County. My mom went to the game with me, and we took in the sights and sounds. The Indians had just traded Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez and had entered full-on rebuilding mode. During the pregame lineups, I heard that familiar crow squawking. That same smile that came across my face in Lake County was back again, only now it was in Cleveland.
So as Trevor Crowe’s Indians days are now in the rearview mirror, so is one of my most fond memories from my first professional baseball game. It’s almost like I grew up following Crowe’s career.
Now, there’s nothing left to say but good luck to Trevor, and thanks for the memories.
Keep that bird squawking.