Where Will You Be Tonight?
Laurel Wilder | On 25, Sep 2013
Tonight is the last regular season home game for the Cleveland Indians.
Where will you be at 7:05 pm?
You know where you should be – down at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, cheering on your Cleveland Indians for the last time during the regular season. Yes, they may be back next week for the wild card and playoff games, but what if they aren’t? What if this is it?
Where do you want to say that you were? Even if the Tribe does make it into the post season, don’t you want to say you were there to watch the last home game of that regular season? Don’t you want to be part of that Tribe Town atmosphere?
Yes, there will be the old excuses – ticket prices, other obligations, a general disinterest in Cleveland baseball. Maybe you’ve been to a good number of games this season and think that you’ve done your duty as a baseball fan. Maybe you haven’t been to any games this season, so you think, why start now? They’ve done fine without me for this long.
But that’s just it – they’ve been doing fine. Suddenly now, however, the team is doing more than fine. They’re playing at a level about fine, a level they need to stay at as the season comes to close. They hold a single game lead in the AL Wild Card race above the Rangers, meaning every game right now counts. Nothing can be taken for granted or viewed as just another game.
This is a truly meaningful part of the season, and Cleveland has a chance to watch the Indians make a push for what would be their first play-off appearance since 2007. That’s quite a bit of time. And this is your last surefire chance to watch them play in person for that contention.
It’s better late than never. This is the one last guaranteed chance Clevelanders have to fill the stadium and prove that we do actually care about our Tribe. Once they get on the road, it is not absolute that they will return to Cleveland to play another game. For everyone who’s said, “I’ll make it to the stadium eventually, I’ll go to a game before the season is over,” your time is now. This is the day you’ve been referencing all season. So, where are you?
This season has not been a letdown. This season has been a demonstration of things a baseball game can – and should – do right. They have played meaningful baseball and given fans a reason to come down and watch. Other Cleveland sports teams do not play nearly as well and still, at times, have more fans in the audience than your playoff contending Cleveland Indians. The Indians reflect this city. We should support them in that.
Cleveland is a city that was once a top destination for people, whether visitors, people looking to move, or businesses. However, the city suffered disparities that hit in more ways than one. The economy took a turn, the natural resources of the city started on fire, and people started leaving. Recent years, though, have shown an upwards rise in the city of Cleveland and has it slowly becoming a city on the mend. The same goes for your Cleveland Indians.
They’ve struggled. They’ve been through the ringer. But yet, they’ve survived. As have we as Clevelanders. It’s like Terry Francona says in those commercials during the games – “Being a Cleveland sports fan takes resilience.”
It does. It’s not easy to stick by the teams in this city. Yet, we make it happen. Even when teams leave us, we welcome them when they come back.
But the Indians never left. They’ve always been here. Through the good and the bad of Cleveland, the Tribe has been a consistent staple of Cleveland, Ohio. Sadly, our reciprocation has been a seemingly empty stadium. Our staple? Inattendance.
So this is it, Cleveland, your last chance and your call to action. The Indians have given and are giving you every reason to come to a baseball game – promotions, decent ticket prices, food and beverage deals, attractive merchandise, a nice stadium, entertainment, and, above all, a team with heart that is playing better baseball than this city has seen in a long time.
Against the White Sox, the Indians average 7.5 runs and have batted .318 during 12 straight wins, which is the franchise’s longest win streak in the history of the series. They play well against Chicago, with Ryan Raburn batting .381 with four home runs and 18 RBI in the series and Nick Swisher posting five home runs and 12 RBI. Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera each have 11 RBI against the White Sox. Carlos Santana bats .362 in the series and Yan Gomes .378.
It’s a game that will likely have fans engaged and excited. Tonight, you even get the opportunity to watch the young pitcher Danny Salazar make his last guaranteed start at home. Remember how exciting it was when he made his first start? Bring this excitement back for what may be his last this season. Show him the support he has earned as a young rookie pitcher this season. Make him excited to return to this position next season.
You can still get good deals on tickets, too, including mezzanine seats for $20. For one night, you can shell out a few extra dollars.
Next season. Who knows where we’ll all be at that time? The future is up in the air, as are the playoffs. Our only guarantee as Clevelanders is that we can unite, tonight, at Progressive Field to cheer on the Tribe one last time during the regular season.
Because, soon, playoffs or not, the lights will turn off at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. We will walk by the stadium as snow blows around us and look up at the field and wish we were inside. We will celebrate Cleveland sports by tailgating while bundled in scarves and coats and mittens and wishing for the warmth and the season that comes with baseball and the Indians. We will find ourselves wishing it was baseball season again, longing for a dollar dog and a fireworks night and ballpark mustard. We will want the crack of the bat and thrill of a foul ball. You’re already feeling nostalgic, aren’t you?
Well, we can have all these things and more one last time this season – tonight, at 7:05. Fill the stadium, support your team, breath it all in once more before it’s over for the season.
If the playoff games come home, you can always come back and do it again. But why bank on something uncertain if you can have it for sure tonight?
The Indians have played for and performed for us all season. Tonight, let’s return the favor and come out in full force and perform for them. We can give them that much.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images