These past three weeks have been historic for the Indians. A 22 game winning streak! Breaking last year’s record setting run of 14 straight victories, this team ran off a string of victories that was even more impressive, not just because they had won more games, but because in winning those games they so often were dominating the opposition. There weren’t a lot of one run or even two run victories. Many of the games were flat out slaughters. Seven of them were full out shoutouts. The Indians basically couldn’t not have hit or pitched any better than they did over the last three weeks.
Now, I will never forget this streak for the sheer baseball lover that I am. However, what I will also remember is the way my regular everyday life has run and intersected with this winning streak. Since the Indians last lost a game on August 23rd, I have sat outside in my church parking lot with friends watching a movie projected onto a giant inflatable screen, freezing our butts off due to the unseasonably cold August night as the Tribe won the second game of the streak. I attended the third game of the streak with my parents. As I completed my final day at my old job, the Indians were polishing off their eighth straight win while I tuned in on my small alarm clock office radio. That evening I hung out with one of my best friends, who though not a big sports fan, watched the second game of the double header with me, which was the Tribe’s ninth win in a row. As they polished off win number 12 my parents and I hosted our annual Labor Day cookout for friends and family. The day of the record tying 14th win, was my first full time day at my new position. Win number 16 was spent in the presence of some fine folks from my church who invited me over last minute. For win number 18, one of the rare close one run victories, I hosted a watch party for 10 of my friends at my apartment as the Tribe kept the run going on the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game of the week. The nineteenth win, yet another shutout, was viewed from the home of one of my oldest and dearest friends, as we marveled at how this could be happening!
Win number 20 was enjoyed at home where my roommate joined me in viewing the second half, while number 21, as one of my favorite memories was a day game, that went on during a meeting I had with my boss where we checked the scores periodically on our smartphones. As the game headed to it’s final frames, I was actually doing an assessment with a client, who told me he had no problem with me having my radio on during our discussion, as he too wanted to hear the game!
One thing about life is, as Rick Warren once stated, we often have ‘two trains running side by side. A train of great joy, and a train of great sorrow” The train of joy these past three weeks, by far has been this streak, but in the life of some very dear friends of mine, there has been a train of pretty great sorrow, for which I feel deep sorrow too. During what became the final win of the streak, a thrilling down to the last strike rally to tie and then later win number 22 in a row, I wasn’t watching, I was talking and attempting to bring comfort to a couple of those friends. My mom texted me with the joyous news, and I was thrilled, but also recognized that a person is always more important than a seeing a baseball game.
This streak will forever be embedded in my life as the backdrop to what has been a remarkable personal three weeks in my life. It became a national story, racking up happy headline after happy headline, providing a brief interlude and break in the sad news of the hurricane wreckage and usual political unrest that peppers every news story nowadays. For a magical run that likely will never happen again in the history of the game, a baseball team from Cleveland Ohio played at a level of dominance that truly seemed other worldly, and they did it while maintaining a humbleness that is rarely seen in professional sports.
As the final out was made last night, resulting in the first Indians loss since August 23rd, the fans rose to their feet and cheered. It was an appropriate response to acknowledge the fact that this city understands that we all witnessed something during this run that only one other city in America can ever claim to have witnessed, and that was 101 years ago when the then New York Giants won 26 straight games, though that run featured a tie between wins 12 and 13. The especially cool thing though was that the players all came out of the dugout and took their hats off to the fans, thanking them for coming out and rallying behind them for three weeks! A truly awesome moment between fans and players, who are both excited and ramped up for October playoff baseball, which the Indians officially clinched a place in after win 22, and are looking to clinch the Central Division here before the weekend is out.
What a run! Cleveland is now more fired up and ready for the playoffs, and the team is poised to deliver! We certainly know that once the playoffs begin anything can happen, but boy the Indians look poised for another great run to the World Series!
This time we hope they can finish the deal, and I look forward to the way my life will intersect with the Indians playoff games. There will be watch parties to host, friends to spend time with, and life to be lived. What a great time to be living in Cleveland!