Saturday, November 24, 2007


The Cleveland Indians came within one game of going to the World Series this past season. It was an exciting season that ended in heartbreak for some of the best sports fans in the world who certainly are deserving of a better fate.
Still, the team has amassed a number of post season awards that give much credit and recognition to an organization that truly competed in valiant style, waging war armed with a small to mid-market payroll against the talent-laden Yankees and Red Sox.
Grady Sizemore received a Golden Glove.
Eric Wedge was voted American League Manager of the Year.
C.C. Sabathia earned the Cy Young Award.
General Manager Mark Shapiro was elected Executive of the Year.
These are great accomplishments for the Indians and a true indicator that they are pointed in the right direction.
However, I can’t help but think there is still an award yet to be bestowed, one for someone who represents the fans of this team in a most positive and optimistic way.
I am talking about bleacher drummer, John Adams.
This man is an incredible fan. John Adams has been lugging his over sized bass drum to Indians games for 34 years. The most amazing part of this is that he has only missed 34 games in as many years. Is that possible? How many home games have there been in that time? Well, John started going to the games with bass drum in tow on August 24th, 1973 and he continues to beat out his rally rudiments through the 2007 season. By my count, there have been 2693 games played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and Jacobs Field in that time span. That means that he has missed only 1.3% of those games. And that is just home games. We are not even considering out of town games, or in the case of this past season, out of town “home” games.
Why so incredible? This guy, who generally pays for a ticket for himself and one for the drum, has maintained an attendance record that rivals many of the game’s hallowed and revered records. In comparison, the average fan, holding down a job has got to do a great deal of juggling just to catch most of the games on television. I went to about 30 games in 2007 and watched all but 1 or 2 of the remaining 131 games on T.V. (but I was able to listen to those 1 or 2 games on the radio). Was it difficult? You bet! But I have had great practice over the years with a transistor radio in my pocket with an earphone hidden in my sleeve, cupped by my hand over an ear. I did get nailed once in 1964 at the Cleveland Playhouse during a high school field trip to “Henry the IV” (BARF!) when the earphone accidentally unplugged during a Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner home run. Even the actors on stage paused to scowl at me.
But John Adams gets to the games!
Cal Ripken Jr. played in 2632 consecutive games, a tremendous feat and accomplishment. But he worked there…it was his job!
The Indians have honored John Adams with being the only fan to have a bobble head modeled after him and given away on “John Adams Bobble-Head Night" at Jacobs Field.

He has also thrown out the first pitch, most recently for the first playoff game vs. the Yankees this past season.

John Adams does not receive a salary for banging out rhythmic rallies. John Adams holds down a job while pursuing his baseball fantasy and passion.
I s there a way to further honor the Cleveland Indians #1 fan who more than represents us all?
The Cleveland Indians have always been a class organization and you can bet they will continue to honor this incredibly dedicated fan!
Thinking of John Adams brings to mind other memorable characters, some of whom work the concessions at Jacobs Field. Anyone who has ever been to the Jake has been amused by the beer salesman who is a dead ringer for a former Tribe star. As he enters the area, he promptly announced, “Who wants to buy a beer from Julio Franco?”
Another beer man can not only be heard across the stadium, but on television and radio as well. As he peddles his beer, he booms out a tremendous chorus of something that startles most people and is impossible to understand. Ringing through the stands and over the airwaves is something that sounds like, “HYPA-HYPA-HEP-HO!”
Then there is the raspy voiced peanut vendor who will throw the bag of peanuts to his customers who become instant stars as he critiques each catch. Most times he will force out a grating “Nice one-handed catch, sir!”
Last but not least is the somewhat meek looking beer man who proudly totes his beer case to the top of the aisle, takes in a deep breath, and bellows, “Here’s your beer man!” Jacobs Field is truly a one of a kind place and John Adams is the defining figure there, providing the heart beat of the Cleveland Indians.
Spring Training begins in less than 90 days!
Opening day is only 126 days away!
I can hear the faint Boom-Boom-Boom-Boom of John Adam’s drum getting closer again.

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