As I was making preparations to leave for my newspaper internship at the Cape Cod Times this summer, I got an e-mail from Paul, the managing editor.
“Your temporary Red Sox Nation awaits.”
Basking in World Series championship glory, those New Englanders love their Sox. I made sure to pack my Indians hat.
In “Red Sox Nation,” where baseball ruled the land, people used their home teams as a sense of identity – even if they were from the ever-hated New York.
At the beginning of the summer, people rolled their eyes at my Indians gear. Whatever, they thought, the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world was no threat to their almighty Sox.
Good news, Ohio: Massachusetts is threatened by us. And though I’ve grimfully traded the Atlantic back in for Lake Erie, I’m still in contact with all sorts of Red Sox fans who are suddenly on the defensive.
It all started when I won a bet against my New England boyfriend. Indians were facing the Sox. Close game, ninth inning, we were behind. Three walked and Travis Haftner made a grand slam. I won the bet, and the Sox reliever took a trip down to the minors.
Nothing was better than walking into work the next day in my Indians hat, watching the Red Sox fans hang their heads in shame.
“So what,” PJ told me, still disappointed by his team’s embarrassing loss. “We still have a World Championship ring. What do you guys have . . . Major League?”
Major League II, where the Indians come from a from a pathetic last place record to win the American League championship. One of my favorite scenes shows how pathetic the Indians used to be.
Jake Taylor: “I play for the Indians.”
Old Lady at the party: “Here in Cleveland? I didn’t know they still had a team.”
When the Indians are losing, they’re hardly acknowledged. But when we’re winning, Jacob’s Field is swamped with diehards.
And lookie lookie, the team New England once dubbed a threat to them is now selling playoffs tickets. We’re not there yet. But I’m hopeful. We just have to keep winning and pray the Yankees fall.
The Cleveland Indians have a history of come-from-behind victories. And a reputation for them too – thanks to Major League II.
And it appears we’ve done it again. Mid-summer we were something like 13 games behind the White Sox, our rivals in Hollywood and real life. As of yesterday afternoon, we rested at second place in the American League Central Division, 3.5 games behind.
Boston has a reason to be nervous. They have Manny Ramirez, who took us to the playoffs in 1995 (where we clobbered Boston). But they’re holding their first place lead in the Eastern Division by half a game.
Looking at the wildcard race, it becomes even more intense. Cleveland holds the lead, a half-game ahead of the Yankees.
So the Yankees have been contained. And everyone in New England is rooting for us. After all, there’s a slogan there: “I support two teams. The Red Sox and anyone who beats the Yankees.”
Thanks for your support, New England. But our time is due. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Jessica Alaimo is a senior newspaper journalism major and the city editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]