I am not superstitious.
In high school, I refused to wear the same t-shirt at every football practice and during every football game, as did a few of my more aromatic Galion teammates.
I don’t blow on the dice when I’m shooting craps.
I’m not afraid to change seats when I’m watching the Cleveland Cavs, in Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs, down 3 games to 1 in the best of seven series, vs. the once-upon-a-time world champion Golden State Warriors.
On the rare occasion when I actually hit a good drive or an accurate chip or make a really long putt on the golf course, I’m unafraid to change my pre-shot routine. (As if I have one)
Back in the day, when I was pretty good at throwing darts, I was not afraid to walk back to my table and take a long swig of beer between turns.
I used to be an OK basketball player, and I was much better than average shooting foul shots. But even then, I wasn’t afraid to move away from the foul line, or bounce the ball a different number of times, for fear of losing my rhythm.
But I admit, some superstitions are hard to step away from … until reality sets in.
At one time, I believed that if I was traveling, or out to dinner with the family, or on the golf course during a Cleveland Browns game — and they actually beat an opponent — it was because I hadn’t watched that game. So I vowed not to watch another game until they’d lost. I’ve since determined that was just foolishness. The Browns didn’t lose because I was watching, they lost because that was a sorry football franchise.
But then there are the Cleveland Indians.
When I think of Cleveland sports, the first team that comes to mind is the Indians. I remember what a treat it was to go to a Tribe game when I was growing up. Whether going with my parents, or taking the trip to the old stadium with John Miller and his mom and dad, it was always an adventure. I remember going up there with my church and sitting in some great box seats along the third baseline. I remember when my friends and I first got our drivers’ licenses, one of our first road trips was on a Sunday morning to the lakefront to watch the Indians in an old green station wagon with Joe Weis. There were bus trips with the gang from Gala Lanes or a trip on a tour bus I took with my dad the first or second year Jacobs Field opened.
The Indians have always been my favorite Cleveland year.
But in the past 15 or 20 years, I’ve lost some of my passion for the Tribe. The Indians haven’t been a contender for a long, long time. I was sick of the constant losing and I had a feeling Indians’ ownership never really cared if they fielded a winner, that they were more interested in saving a buck.
This summer, things are changing.
All the pieces are coming together. The starting pitching and fielding and hitting are coming together for the Indians.
And as this season goes on, as odds-makers and prognosticators across the nation espouse the talent within the Tribe, even giving them the best chance of any American League team to make the playoffs, I’m starting to get just a little superstitious.
For a month I’ve wanted to write a column about the Tribe, but I was afraid of jinxing my favorite team.
I’ve known since the start of the season that they had one of the best pitching staffs in the majors, the best starting rotation in the big leagues. But I didn’t want to jinx the Indians my mentioning that talent in print.
This summer, the Tribe hierarchy opted to quit going after overpaid, over-the-hill, past-their prime hitters and actually opted to make use of a lot of the talent that has been nurtured in the minor leagues.
And that strategy is working. But I wasn’t going to mention that fact in the paper … for fear of a jinx.
And then, the Indians held a “Major League” movie ceremonyto break catch Jan Gomes out of his hitting slump. The video was quite impressive, if a bit silly.
But one game into the second half of the season, Gomes injured his shoulder on a freak play at first base. He may be done for the year.
That being said, although I’m not superstitious, I’m not going to mention the Tribe in another column, at least for a couple of months.
I’m not going visit Progressive Field.
I’m not buy a new Cleveland Indians cap, or jersey.
I’m not going to dig my Chief Wahoo bobblehead out of storage.
OK, so maybe I’m a little superstitious.
The Cleveland championship hex was broken just a few short weeks ago by the Cavaliers. I’m certainly not going to be the guy who puts an end to the Indians’ run at a pennant.