Friday, March 14, 2008

"No, I Am Sorry To Say We Will Not Be Ready In Time!"

With the most welcome approach to our Cleveland Indians’ 2008 Opening Day, there is much hand-wringing and apprehension that we could face another snow-out on March 31st. Why the schedule makers would arrange to play a game at the end of March on the north coast of the United States is beyond comprehension. Looking outside today, the lakes and ponds are frozen and a thick blanket of snow covers any hope of spring. Just this morning, a picture (top of page) of the Progressive Field ground crew appeared in the paper showing them taking the tarp off of the pitcher’s mound with the rest of the field fully covered with the white stuff.
But wait…We can still have our opening day! We did it before, why can’t we do it again?
Years ago, Head Groundskeeper Harold Bossard would come on the local news about 10 days before the home opener. In the background at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium would be mountains of dirt waiting to be spread on the frozen, snow covered field. Bossard, puffing a cigar and feverishly working on the field while barking orders to his crew, would get interrupted by the local news reporter who would shove a microphone towards him. The reporter would always ask, “Will the field be ready in time for the opener?” Bossard would wipe the sweat (or snow) from his brow and take a well crafted pause with a deep look of despair on his face and then answer, “No, I am sorry to say we will not be ready in time!” Then he would grab a rake or snow shovel and get back to work as the reporter would wrap the story with his own despair.
This happened every year! It would send children of all ages into a panic! Parents, hearing the report, would shake their heads and say, “There has been just too much bad weather.” This was far more than a young fan could take! No opening day?! It was the end of the world…life was ceasing to exist!
But, soon the grey clouds parted, the sun peaked through, and the temperatures rose. By opening day, the field was in magnificent shape…every year!
So, channels 3, 5, 8, 19, and 43...come on, grab your cameras and get to the Pro. get that interview with head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke. Get the quote! He already was quoted in the morning paper as saying, "Mother Nature will need to cooperate in order to get the frozen field ready for the opening pitch." Isn't that pretty close to, "I am sorry to say we will not be ready in time?"
Yeah!...Play Ball!

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