On the eve of the 112th World Series, one in which my favorite team growing up is playing in, I'm filled with the usual excitement such an opportunity brings. It also reminds me of my Dad, who passed away in July of 2015.
Since his death, Cleveland, which hadn't won a professional sports title in over 50 years, has had a small renaissance of success. This past June, the Cavaliers won their first NBA trophy, and now the Indians are looking to claim their first championship since 1948, having won the American League Pennant just last week.
I can't help but think of my father and how I wish I could share in the happiness of these moments. But I'm pretty sure he's noticing nonetheless.
Dad played an instrumental part of developing my love of sports. He encouraged me to play all different sports, all the time. He drove me to practices, games and sporting events during my entire childhood.
I spent my summer nights listening to Herb Score call Indian games, and when winter rolled in, it was time to listen to Joe Tait and his "Slams It Home!" calls for the Cavs. Any games seen on TV were must see affairs.
In the mid 1990's, I was off to college, and the Indians had moved into a new stadium, while at the same time becoming a consistent winner. In 1995, the Tribe won 100 and lost only 44, and made their first trip to the Series since losing four straight games to Willie Mays and the New York Giants in 1954. Indian games were hot ticket items back then and for a few consecutive Christmases, Dad was able to score games to Jacobs Field each summer. The Indians returned to the World Series in 1997. Going to games and watching us win were unforgettable experiences.
Sports were always easy entries to conversations with Dad. Listening to baseball games on the radio served as his only hobby. We connected, even if we disagreed with the specifics of the Indians' success or failures. Sports, especially the Tribe, were opportunities to laugh, or rant depending on the current team and situation.
If the Indians are fortunate enough to win four games before the Chicago Cubs do, there is no doubt I will be overjoyed. My only sadness will be that I won't be able to call my Dad and share it with him.
In the meantime, Let's Go Tribe!