Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1- Cleveland Indians

The Ides of March are upon us… and so far mine has started off in the worst way possible.  I’ve always been a huge fan of irony; however, today just seems to be karmic retribution for something I am totally unaware of. When I lost updated y’all my car had broken down the night before I needed to get my girlfriend Angie Kinderman to the airport. Today I learned that my engine is totally dead. This is what I get for not regularly filling it with oil. On top of that I’m dead broke. I literally have $0 to my name. And the kicker? My computer will not start up. Therefore, I am stuck in the library at the University of Oregon in order to work on this post. I suppose the irony is lost on most; that is, until you take a look at what hat I’m wearing.

Of all the days to roll with the Cleveland Indians, I had to choose today. And not just any Indians hat, the 1986-2002 home/game style one. More importantly, the “Major League” hat. This is pretty much where the irony comes into play. A bunch of rag-tag misfits are assembled on the basis that they will be so terrible that their owner, Rachel Phelps (played by Margaret Whitton), can break the lease on the stadium and move the team to Miami. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details of the film as I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen it if you’re reading this. In a nut shell though, that’s how my life feels right now. All of these terrible things are building up in an effort to make me fail, much like the Oakland Athletics of last season. I realize that things WILL get better; however, it’s human instinct to think that the world is out to get you when things start to go sour. The only thing you can do, like in baseball, is to do your damnedest to win one day at a time.

One thing that I should point out is that it was incredibly difficult to find this hat anywhere outside of Ohio. Believe me, I searched everywhere I could on the internet and in shops along the West Coast. A few years after the Indians elected to shrink the size of the logo the only time I ever saw a hat with the larger size logo came in the form of custom style caps; something I am not a particular fan of. One afternoon in October I found myself scoping around on Ebay and ran across this bad boy from a dealer in Cleveland. I let out the biggest Tobias Fünke “Hazah!!!” I could muster. The only problem is that the hat, including shipping, cost $43 at a “Buy it now” price. Seriously!? Aren’t things on Ebay supposed to cost less? I got up and went to Max’s Tavern to mull over my dilemma with a beer. After giving it some careful thought I decided to crush three more beers. With a slight buzz brewing, I stumbled back to my apartment and made my purchase. Grand total: $56 for the hat and four beers including tip ($2 PBRs).

When it arrived I made sure the damn thing fit me. Luckily it was “like a glove” status. Shortly after, I dropped my marks.

#7- I could have gone with real players. #28 should have been a lock as Cory Snyder was one of my favorite players growing up; but that will wait for another post. This hat will forever be iconic to the film “Major League” and I had to treat it as so because, unlike the actual team, the 1989 “Major League” team will never change. They always beat the New York Yankees at the end, and Bob Uecker’s “The Indians win it!!! Oh my God the Indians win it” will always give you chills. So with that, Jake Taylor, the captain and half of the battery, had to be the first mark. And why not? He got the girl (Rene Russo) in the end, he hit the game-winning bunt and he was clearly the inspiration for future Indians star Kenny Lofton (jersey number wise)… or so I assume.  Jake was the broken down veteran representation that well looked up to in our favorite player going into the twilight of their careers. He knew he was broken down, but he loved to play. He rallied the troops and everyone respected his leadership; the kind of rebel-rousing that only Tom Berenger can portray… at least when he’s not armed with a sniper rifle in the jungle with Billy Zane on his six.

#99- I’ve always been a huge punk rock fan, and one of my favorite bands of all-time is the Los Angeles-based surf punk group X. Most people I talk to about this band have no idea who I’m talking about, but in all of those cases about 75-80% of them have seen “Major League.” That’s when I say, “You know the band that plays “Wild Thing” when Charlie Sheen comes out of the pen at the end of the game? That’s X.” The original version was written and sung by The Troggs back in 1966; however, there’s something about X’s version that kicks you in the nuts (in a good way). Go back and listen to it or watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Here…

Charlie Sheen did a damn fine job playing Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. The hair, the attitude, the arm and especially the glasses brought the character to life. So much that fans across baseball try to mimic and pay tribute to it. But not me. I’m too good for that…

Ok, maybe not. It’s just too awesome. Especially when hanging out with long time Indians fan Judy Jones (@jjstatsgirl)

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