This season, baseball historian Bill Savage has been contributing a Chicago Cubs fan's perspective from his seats at Wrigley Field in a column called The View From Section 416. For the World Series, Cleveland Indians fan and baseball writer Susan Petrone has joined the party and will write The View From The 216 -- aka Cleveland's area code.
What do you do when you have two tickets to Game 1 of the World Series and three people in your immediate family? This is not a simple math problem. This is the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. Like true love, this doesn't happen every day.
Our family consists of me, my husband and our 10-year-old daughter. The night I met my husband, he said two things that won me over. The first was: "You interest me," which was a whole lot more intriguing than the standard, "You're so pretty." The second was: "Do you like baseball? I have season tickets." Bring on Cupid's arrows, baby, because yes, I do like baseball.
I was around 9 or 10 when I fell in love with baseball. Most of my childhood summer memories revolve around playing Wiffle ball all day with my brother and some of the neighbors and watching the Indians on the local UHF channel every night. In most families, baseball love and lore is passed down from father to son. For me, it was brother to sister. My father was a music teacher and my mother a writer. We saw lots of live music and theater but not much in-person baseball. My father took us to one game when I was a kid. One. It was the first time I got to see my hero, Andre Thornton, in person. The old Cleveland Municipal Stadium was of Colosseum-like proportions. We were too far away for me to make out Thornton's face, but I recognized his sizable presence at first base and his swing at the plate.
One baseball game was enough to know that I wanted more. At age 19, I spent a summer hawking beer and hot dogs at the stadium so I could see the games for free. When the Indians finally made it to the World Series in 1995, I was in graduate school and couldn't afford tickets. After an evening class, a classmate and I double-parked outside Jacobs Field and took turns waiting by the car while the other one peered through the gates of the ballpark to catch a glimpse of a World Series game in person. When Cleveland returned to the Series in 1997, I was getting a divorce. No tickets, just me home alone with my two dogs, crying after a blown Game 7.
Now I'm a grown-up, with a keeper-of-a-husband and child and a love for the game that hasn't quit. My daughter has always known that "Mom loves baseball." When I worked for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), she spent the odd day off from school at my office. She knows I blog about the Indians at ItsPronouncedLajaway.com. She's watched me play ball in a wood bat pickup league the past several summers and at Progressive Field during a one-day fantasy camp. She knows my first novel was about baseball. I'd taken her to a handful of games over the years, but she was little. The ballpark was more about eating Dippin' Dots and watching the Hot Dog Derby than the actual game. Watching at home meant she'd ask to change the channel or wander off after half an inning. That changed this summer.
Maybe it's her age -- 10 is a great time to fall in love with baseball. We went to a half-dozen games together this season, and I had the privilege of watching her fall in love. Her understanding of the game has grown. She still asks for Dippin' Dots, but will also ask, "Why did they move over when [Carlos] Santana is batting?" She's learning the game. As the Indians' season progressed, she grew more and more excited -- along with the rest of the city. In June, when the Cavs gave Cleveland its first major sports championship in 52 years, the city went berserk. The anticipation around the Indians is little more hushed, a bit more steeped in baseball superstition: Don't say anything that could jinx the outcome. At the same time, there's a certain level of confidence. You can say, "Sure, Cleveland can win the World Series," and no one thinks you're being ironic. This is Believeland, and we have good reason to believe.
Which brings us back to those World Series tickets. We managed to get two for Game 1. There are three of us. An hour after I bought them, my husband emailed: "You know, those are already going for $1,000 apiece online."
"I'm not selling them," I replied.
Game 1 is on a school night. It will be a late-night madhouse of people and media and craziness around the ballpark. Would it make sense for the two adults in the family to go (assuming we could find a baby sitter on a Tuesday night)? My husband is older than I am --- he's been waiting longer for a Cleveland World Series title. I suggested he and his best friend go. I even considered selling them after all (it would pay off the season ticket deposit for next year). What would be fair?
Early in the morning, the day after I bought the tickets, my husband said, "E. [our daughter] wants to go."
"I know. She told me, too."
"I would have loved to have seen a World Series game when I was 10. Why not let her go? You take her."
"What about you?"
"I went in 1997. I've been to a World Series game. You haven't."
And thus a decision was made. I'm taking my daughter to the World Series.
This is true love. This is the World Series. None of this happens every day.