Run of late-inning losses results in bad flashback for longtime Tribe fan

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Nothing can torment the soul of a baseball fan more than seeing their team go down to defeat in a last-inning loss.

As a diehard Cleveland Indians fan dating back to the 1973 season I’ve experienced my share of tough-to-swallow, walk-off losses, as they are now called. None made one gag more than that Game Seven walk-off, extra-inning loss to the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series.

Watching those losses take place can be slow torture but listening on the radio to a lead wither away and die in a sudden loss is the absolute worst, I’ve found. It goes back to my youth when I’d listen to Indians games on a small transistor radio and would follow strict superstitions where I would not move from my position on the bed if the Indians were winning. All too often those teams made up names like Rick Manning, Buddy Bell, Duane Kuiper and George Hendrick would not cooperate and a 3-1 lead would become a 4-3 loss after someone like the Yankees’ Thurman Munson won the game with a walk-off single. I can still hear Herb Score’s dejected voice in my head. It can be so maddening listening to the “wheels come off.” That’s what the announcers call it when things start to go wrong and your team’s pitcher can’t throw a strike.

More vividly I can recall listening to a game in 1994 when Mike Hargrove’s bullpen gave up a big lead in a walk off loss in Detroit as I sat and listened in a parking lot on the campus of The Ohio State University.

The thought of those hard to stomach losses came to mind after last week when the 2016 incarnation of the Indians lost four games in walk-off fashion, two against the Twins and two against the Phillies. Is there anything sadder than hearing the heartbreak in Avon Lake resident Tom Hamilton’s voice as he describes a gut wrenching loss on the road to Minnesota or Philadelphia?

It may be early, but the Indians didn’t end the month of April well and as of May 1 are two games below .500 and already six games behind the first-place White Sox. As WTAM talk show host Nick Camino said, and I’m paraphrasing: They say you can’t lose the division in April. But you can sure hurt your chances for winning it.

The draft

Here is hoping that Corey Coleman, the receiver from Baylor the Browns took No. 1 overall can become another Joey Galloway, the Ohio State wide out who went on to several all-pro seasons with Seattle.

He’s a little undersized at 5-feet-11 and 194 pounds, but is supposed to possess rocket-like speed and scored 20 touchdowns his senior year.

In total the Browns added 14 players to the roster, including Emmanuel Ogbah, who is expected to be a force on the defensive line.

Drafting quarterback Cody Kessler out of USC when Connor Cook (Michigan State via Walsh Jesuit) and Cardale Jones (OSU via Glenville) were still on the board, was a bit of a head scratcher, but I’ll go with the Money Ball guys.

The Browns are set up for next year with a ton of draft picks including a boatload coming in the early rounds.

Playoffs continue

Bring on the Atlanta Hawks for the semis. The two franchises have met twice in the playoffs in their history and the Cavs have swept the Hawks in both series, including last year when the No. 2-seeded Cavs broomed No. 1-seeded Atlanta 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kyrie Irving was fantastic in the first-round sweep of Detroit as he averaged 27.5 points per game, while Kevin Love was a double-double machine and LeBron was his great all-around self.

J.R. Smith, the sleepy-eyed sharpshooter, provided a nice boost against Detroit with some hot shooting and if he can reproduce that effort against Atlanta that will help. One can’t help but think the Hawks are out for some blood. The Cavs embarrassed them a year ago in the finals and there was a lot of talk that Cavs’ back up point guard Matt Dellavedova may have gone over a line when he injured Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver when he dove at his Korver’s knees while Korver was shooting a 3-pointer.

That should just add a little bit of spice to what should be a competitive series.

Atlanta has some nice pieces, as they say on the sports talk radio, with point guard Jeff Teague, power forward Paul Millsap and center Al Horford. It will be Millsap joined by Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha who will be tasked with slowing down LeBron.

One thing to note about the Hawks, they are coming off a win in series over the Boston Celtics, something the Hawks franchise had failed to do in nine previous series dating back to 1958.

Prediction: Cavs in five.

My favorite Hawks of all-time

Pete Maravich

John Drew

Armond Hill

Tree Rollins

Dominique Wilkins

 

Fitzbits Cleveland Sports Media power rankings

  1. Ken Carman, 92.3 The Fan
  2. Tom Hamilton, WTAM
  3. Terry Pluto, Plain Dealer
  4. Andre Knott, STO
  5. WFNY and Anthony Lima, 92.3 The Fan

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