Last night was better. Obviously the onfield action wasn’t a high point, but the situation in the stands was much improved from the Disaster That Was Game Three. Texas Gal and I got what we expected as visiting fans, what we wanted all along–the right to root, root, root for the Red Sox without being cursed at, harassed, and treated like we’d committed some unforgivable, anti-Ohio sin like saying Drew Carey isn’t funny or that Bob Evans gives us diarrhea.
That said, I would like to thank everyone who let us just be Sox fans, who let us cheer and let us mourn without criticizing us for either one. Thank you to every Indians supporter who did nothing more than shout loudly for their team, a strong team that played another great game in what has been a magical season. That’s what we tried to do too.
On Monday evening, Texy and I met at Panini’s, a bar within walking distance of Jacobs Field. We took some good natured ribbing from the Indians’ fans there, but nothing that wasn’t said with a smile. “How much did you pay for that t-shirt?”, one guy asked, gesturing to my Dice-K: Gun From the Rising Sun tee. “About 15 bucks,” I replied. He laughed, ordered another Labatt’s and said “Well, just another $49,999,985 until you break even on that investment.” I laughed back (quite possibly because I was drinking) and felt good about the night, about the Sox’ chances, and about being in Cleveland (most definitely because I was drinking).
I’d never had a bad experience cheering for the Sox on the road, not even on that October night in 2004 when the Sox took home the World Series trophy for the first time since our flag had 48 stars. Hell, the fans in St. Louis were more concerned that I was going to vote for John Kerry than they were about my Johnny Damon jersey, two things that seemed like much better ideas at the time.
Texy and I headed to the Jake to watch the Sox take batting practice and share that unmatched feeling of happiness that, for me, seems to be triggered by stadium lights and bullpens and wind sprints (and sometimes by buying 18 pounds of gummy peaches on the internet). As we walked to our seats, we were blissfully oblivious to how horribly wrong the evening would end, like two counselors at Camp Crystal Lake unrolling their sleeping bags and marveling at how peaceful the water looked.
We picked the seats at random…the location was excellent (right behind home plate), reasonably priced, and covered by an overhang, in case of locusts or boils or whatever other plagues traveled from the pages of Exodus to the banks of Lake Erie. We were the only Sox fans in the section, but we weren’t worried. The youngest of the Indians fans appeared to be about 55, and one man was wearing a Levitra hat. I’m not sure if he was announcing that he’d overcome his erectile dysfunction problems or warning us that he could pop a four hour erection at any time.
1st Inning: Scoreless and uneventful, saved for the gentleman beside me yelling “HIT IT TO PALOOKAVILLE!” every time Cleveland stepped to the plate. His wife asked if we’d gotten the seats from the season ticket holders. When I told her that we’d purchased them on the internet, she looked confused, either because this couple had sold their playoff tickets or because she was unsure what this “internet” was.
2nd Inning: Another poor outing from the Sox bats. Dice K looks timid, giving up a single to Ryan Garko. “C’mon Dice K!”, I yell, because I’m clever. “Shut up!”, I hear from the row behind me. I turn around and see a white haired, white bearded man staring at me. “Shut up!” he says again, because he is clever too. I turn back around in time to see original Jamestown settler Kenny Lofton send one over the wall. Boom, 2-0 Indians and we realize that the fans aren’t being pro-Cleveland as much as they are anti-Boston, which doesn’t seem fair to their team; “Suck it, Boston!” probably isn’t what Kenny wanted to hear as he crossed home plate, assuming he still can hear.
We again stand and clap for Dice K and immediately White Beard yells “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”. We look at him and he pops his windbreaker, like Carmelo Anthony circa 2004, and says “SHUT UP! THIS IS FUCKING CLEVELAND!”. I wanted to tell him that I knew that from the smell but said nothing. Good times already.
3rd Inning: Lugo, Pedroia, and Youk go down faster than I can even spell Palookaville. We still yell “Luuuuugo” and “Yooooouk”, but the Indians fans are too busy turning on one of their own. A guy in a Sizemore shirt is trying to get everyone around him to get on their feet, to stand up and yell for Jake Westbrook, but they’re having none of it. Everyone yells at him to sit down. He doesn’t. They have a colorful exchange that ends when security is called and actually makes this man take a seat. Our section claps louder than they did for Lofton’s homer. I feel the unmistakeable pop of a white towel being snapped against the back of my head. Sigh. It’s Tribe Time now.
4th Inning: Papi leads off the inning with a double and, predictably, our cheers are drowned out by the entire row behind us. “GO BACK TO BOSTON”, they shout at us. “GET YOUR ASSES BACK TO BOSTON!” Apparently, they’re as surprised to see Red Sox fans outside of Fenway as we are to see Cleveland fans outside of Wal-Mart. In one of the more bizarre plays, Manny’s grounder hits Papi who’s running from second to third. Papi’s automatically out and the delightful “MANNY SUCKS! MANNY SUCKS!” chants start again.
My left ear has taken a racehorse-like whipping from a white towel. I turn around to see a flannel-clad woman with a mullet and the beginnings of her own playoff beard. “WHAT?” she grunts. “If you hit me with that towel again…” I say. “What? What are you gonna do about it?” I turn back around in time to get a shot on the other ear from her life partner. “We’re cheering for our team, bitch. It’s our right as fans”. They hit me in unison, happier than they’ve been since Summer Clearance Day at Eddie Bauer.
5th Inning: Varitek, Crisp, and Lugo do nothing. I’m now not only getting whipped with the towels after every out, but now Eddie & Bauer are complaining to the entire row in their grating Ohio-y accents “We’d LIKE to cheer, but the BOSTON fans said we CAN’T. You believe that? Can’t even CHEER now.” And we’ve made a new friend in the row in front of us. With every out, he turns and points at us, laughing. “How do you like that? Huh? HAHAHAHA! How do you like that? HAHAHAHA! You suuuuuuuuuuck!”.
Texy’s getting tapped on the shoulder with every Boston failure. Strike one taptaptap on the shoulder. Strike two taptaptaptap. Strike three taptaptaptap. We try to harness our powers of telekinesis. Carrie made it look so damn easy.
Believe it or not, here’s where it gets worse. Casey Blake sends one to left field, just short of Palookaville. We’re still cheering for Dice K, ignoring the shut up‘s, fuck you‘s, and we’re definitely not going back to Boston since neither of us live there. My ears are numb from the towels and I wonder how long I’m going to have to use a lint roller on my scalp.
Dice K walks Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera drives in a run. Travis Hafner singles and Sizemore scores. 4-0 Indians and Dice K is done. Our new best friends are thrilled, but again, not for the Indians. “BYE BYE RICE K!” shouts White Hair. “RICE K SUCKS!”. What followed was an entire row of fans using some of the most racially offensive comments heard since the Great War ended. One man was tugging at the corner of his eyes, making a horribly crude gesture and the others continued with the racism. I was incredibly upset and angry. “Now YOU SHUT UP”, I said back to them, which helped about zero percent.
Dane Cook shows up on the Jumbotron, reminding us that there’s only ONE OCTOBER. True. And there are 58 people in this section ruining it for us.
6th Inning: See 4th Inning.
7th Inning: One out, one on and oh Captain, my Captain, Jason Varitek sends one over the wall, raising his post-season average to a stellar .100. Boston’s on the board with 2 runs and we’re ecstatic. For one glorious moment, we don’t hear anything except our own voices. “YEAH TEK!!!” we yell, before hearing that Tek sucks, Boston sucks, and we need to fucking sit down.
The Laughing Guy (I know, he needs a real name and if you recognize him under the LOLDouche script, please email it to us) is shouting at us, pointing, laughing, baiting us. “Bye bye, Boston! HAHAHAHAHA!”. He waves his finger in our faces. “HAHAHAHA FUCK YOU, BOSTON! HAHAHA!”.
“Just. SHUT. UP!” I yell. Tired, defeated, ready to leave.
“HAHAHAHA! FUCK YOU BOSTON! HAHAHA! FUCK YOU, BITCH! FUCK YOU, SKINNY BITCH!”
I’m furious. I hate this ma—wait. He thinks I’m skinny? He thinks I’m skinny! I love this man!
The last innings were a blur. There was more yelling. I yelled back. I cursed back, using words and phrases I learned on the back of the school bus. You can only take so much. The second that Jason Varitek popped out for the last out, we headed for the exit. And then the bottle hit us.
My GOD. What would make these people torment us? We don’t pull the “But we’re GIIIIIRLS!” card out, but we are. Smart, cute, Sox-loving, awesome girls who did NOT deserve to be treated this way. Not by anyone, especially grown men who were cursing, shouting, and humiliating us to the delight of other cursing men (and two towel-waving creatures that may or may not have been women). We paid for our seats just like they did–probably paid more than they did–and we didn’t enjoy a damn second of it.
It didn’t end on the field. The walk to the car was a veritable gauntlet of abuse, using the same magnetic poetry kit of charming phrases that were hurled at us for nine long, miserable innings. We were physically shoved by two men who shouted “BOSTON SUCKS” right in our faces.
No it doesn’t. What sucks is that we have to write this article.
Congratulations, Cleveland…we’re never coming back. You don’t deserve us.