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Indians Indians Archive View from the Porch: VftP Guide to Being a Cleveland Indians Fan Edition
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

Indians fever is spreading around Cleveland like wildfire on the Cuyahoga River. Going to the ballpark has always been special for me, but it definitely holds aHRPorchView different level of significance when the tenant is a winning team. In the 90s, I rarely went to games, because my father is not a big fan of going to sporting events. He would rather sit on the couch, avoiding large masses of people, and watch. Not me. I want to be in the atmosphere, whether it’s 40,000 screaming Featherheads or my fiancé and I taking in the game with 4400 of our closest friends. I am of the frame of mind that I do not want to be one of those guys who has to rely on lying about witnessing a special moment live.

Lenny Barker’s 30th anniversary of his perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays just passed last weekend. Because of the rain delays, he did his share of interviews for the Indians Radio Network and talked about how the 7200 or so crowd has ballooned to over 75,000 since he pitched perfection. I want to be one of those 7200. Not one of those people who fraudulently says they were there. The beauty of baseball is that every game is an opportunity to see history. But more on that later.


Coming off the news that Saturday’s Indians game is the first non-Opening Day sellout in two years and 51 weeks, this week’s theme for View from the Porch immediately lit up my mind like Clark Griswold’s house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Over the past couple of weeks, I have made my feelings very clear about bandwagon fans and why I find the Porch to be the best spot in the ballpark to watch a game. I warned you. This column would be about the only true op/ed piece on

So, while cutting my shin-high grass during our once-a-week day without rain, I began to formulate my column. I thought about talking about how the magic is back at Progressive Field (it gave me chills when I heard Hammy’s call of Hafner’s HR when I got back to my truck after the game). I pondered examining the best games I’ve seen from the Home Run Porch. And then that’s what kick-started what I am about to write: The View from the Porch Guide to Being a Cleveland Indians Fan.

I would never expect somebody to match my fandom. There are some people who go above and beyond the call of duty to be a fan. I feel that I am one of them, but I also firmly believe that there are others out there who surpass even my love of Cleveland Indians baseball. One of them bangs a drum (and let’s be honest,07OpenerSnow his wife is a saint for going to all those games right alongside him). I like to think that if I cut myself deeply enough, the blood would drip down on to the surface below in the shape of Chief Wahoo’s smiling face. I know there are others. Kudos to you. One day, when we’re all partying in the streets of downtown Cleveland, it will be the greatest sense of relief imaginable.

By no means do I besmirch any of you who casually observe the Indians or consider yourself a hardcore, but not diehard, fan. There are different levels of being a fan. Some people are supporters. To me, there are some simple rules/obligations that every good fan should follow. If you cover most, if not all, of these, I salute you. You are a fan.

View from the Porch Guide to Being a Cleveland Indians Fan

1. Dedication: The most basic form of being a fan is to be dedicated to your team. You are not one to waver back and forth on your “favorite” team based on who has the better record. Having a second favorite team, preferably from the National League, is acceptable, so long as you never place them in front of the Tribe.

I went back and forth on using ‘devotion’ instead of dedication. Devotion is defined as profound dedication or earnest attachment. Dedication is defined as to devote wholly and earnestly. Either way, dedication is the simplest form of fandom. Loyalty would also be synonymous with this point.

2. Sacrifice: Sacrificing in terms of being a fan can mean many things. Paying hard earned money to buy tickets, paying for parking or buying concessions or souvenirs, or lately, sacrificing my blood pressure. It can also mean sacrificing your time to watch a game. Personally, I watch every game live, in its entirety. (ah, the beauty of DVR for the other shows!). The ultimate sacrifice of time comes after a loss. Wins always validate the time spent watching a game. Watching a 13-inning game only to watch the team lose by a blown save makes the fan feel like spending four and a half hours of their day was in vain. There are good days and bad as a fan. This is just how it is. Coming to terms with that is essential for any fan.

Then, there are other forms of sacrifice. In my case, this summer of baseball will be quite a sacrifice. Because of my fiancé’s job working at a summer daycare program, she will be on her feet for almost the entire day. This limits her desire to stand on the Porch. I, as I have made pretty clear, am not a fan of sitting anywhere in the ballpark compared to standing on the Porch. Despite this, I will never turn down the opportunity to go to a Tribe game. This point comes up again further down the column.


3. A knowledge and understanding of this year’s team: This one, to me, is crucial. It shows a willingness to show some effort to know who you are supporting.Very few things piss me off more than when somebody asks “Who’s playing third?” First of all, it was announced during the lineups, assuming you were here early enough to hear them. Second, unless the regular guy is getting a day off, it’s the same guy who has played damn near every day so far. Third, Jack Hannahan might not be a household name, but even the smallest amount of attention paid toward the telecast, radio broadcast, newspaper coverage, or would make the answer to “Who’s playing third?” very clear.

This is especially irritating when somebody feels the need to bitch and complain when they are attending their first of two games all season and Grady Sizemore isn’t in the lineup. “Why isn’t Grady playing?” (insert four-year-old’s temper tantrum here) This question usually comes up when Grady has been placed on the disabled list in the last couple days, after being injured for three days prior. Again, a simple showing of effort to read a game recap or watch the pre-game show could head off this issue.

I don’t expect all “fans” to know who Alex White is, where he came from, where he went to college, what pitches he throws, or necessarily recognize him on the mound by his jersey number (though, luckily, nobody has called him Aaron Laffey; and again, if he is pitching, his name will have been announced during the starting lineups). But, I think it’s fair to expect people to know who is on the roster.

Luckily, just in time for this column, I got to hear two gems behind me at the game Friday. Both came from an older man, probably in his late 60s, early 70s. The first of which asking why Kearns was playing in left field instead of Hafner. It would truly be something to watch Travis Hafner attempt to patrol the outfield. I could have turned around and explained that Hafner doesn't even play first because his arm is too shot for the minimal throwing that position takes or the simple fact that one look at Hafner explains how impossible left field would be for him. Instead, I hung my head and died a little inside.

baseball4dummies4. A general understanding of the game of baseball, its rules, terminology and methodology: Baseball is a beautiful game, dependent on individual skill and ability. The rules are so very basic that there should be little room for doubt. Yet, sure as the sun rises, every couple of games or so, I hear a girl ask her boyfriend when intermission is. Or, as I’ve mentioned before, someone is sure to say that we need to score more points.

Another baseball pet peeve of mine is when fans boo incessantly because the opposing team’s catcher and pitcher cannot get on the same page in a big spot so the catcher visits the mound or when a hitter calls for time. This is part of the game. I would expect that our players do the same in tight spots. Baseball strategy, like any other sport, is a thinking man’s game. The wheels are spinning in every player’s head on each individual pitch. The second baseman and shortstop need to pay attention to the location of the pitch so they can shade to the side that they expect the hitter to hit the ball to. Sometimes, these things need to be discussed. If your time is so incredibly valuable that the 45 seconds of a mound visit is going to raise your blood pressure, rethink your priorities.

I never would expect people to stand like I did for the Tampa Bay walk-off walk game and piss off Brian McPeek by guessing pitches and hit-and-runs along with the hitters. But, I would expect people to have some sort of idea why a guy swung and missed at a fastball because he was expecting a change-up. Not just immediately assuming he sucks because he missed a pitch down the middle. (Almost) Everybody in the Major Leagues can drive a fastball if they know that it is coming. Almost everybody attending a game should know what’s going on.

Oh, by the way, the second of these gems was asking his buddy “What if Kearns had slid out of bounds?” on his diving catch in the opener against the Reds. It's ok. Two feet were down in bounds and the ball was secure.

5. Never turn down the opportunity to go to a game: Clearly, this point comes with an exception. If you are offered tickets and cannot go for whatever reason, this is a forgivable offense. But, if you just “don’t feel like going”, this is inexcusable. Like I said, baseball is awesome in the sense that every game gives you an opportunity to see something historic. I didn’t walk through the gates at Jacobs Field on May 12, 2008 expecting to see history. But, I did. I saw, at that time, the 14th unassisted triple play in MLB history.


On May 25, 2009, I never anticipated the Indians erasing a 10-run deficit to have a seven-run ninth inning to shock Tampa Bay on the strength of Victor Martinez’s two-run walk-off single.

So far, I have not seen a cycle, a no hitter, a four-homer game, or some of the other rare occurrences of the game. But, every time I take that right curve at Ontario or East 9th, visions of seeing history go through my mind. Knowing that if I ever turned down going to a game, I might regret seeing something special, I’d rather not have that happen.

Given what is going on at Jacobs Field this year, this point deserves more emphasis.

6. Support is year-round: I realize that we have other sports interests in the NE Ohio area. Many of us are big Cleveland Browns and Ohio State fans. Our personal décor consists of brown and orange, scarlet and grey, and the occasional wine and gold from October to April. That said, just because it is baseball’s offseason doesn’t mean that the Indians apparel hides in the back mothball-filled corner of a dank closet or buried at the bottom of a dresser drawer.

The baseball season is year-round, in my opinion. Player evaluation is ongoing, contract negotiations and free agent signings are discussed, and the players are working out in offseason programs or playing in winter leagues. I always say after the last day of the season, that next season begins today. As such, an Indians shirt is never far away and my Indians hat is on my head daily.

Hell, worse comes to worse, putting on the block C or Chief Wahoo is a reminder that the snow eventually stops and for a good five or six months, you don’t have to scrape the windshield of your car.

I’m sure that I could go on and on, but I think I got my point across. I have trained myself to shake off losses shortly after they happen and embrace a victory for the rest of the day/night until the next game day. Baseball is a game with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. Not everybody needs to be the same kind of fan. I think these are very basic principles that are easy for anyone to follow.

Apologies for no discussion of the Indians’ past week of play or the transactions that transpired this week. In order to get those, read any of the other Indians columns on or page through that newspaper we have around here before you line the dog’s cage with it.

This public service announcement has been brought to you from the View from the Porch.

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