The Birth of a Cleveland Indians Fan; Part 1

Born in a blowout.

ottoneu creator Niv Shah wasn’t always a Cleveland Indians fan. In fact, he once cared little for baseball, instead focusing on basketball, football and video games when he had a free moment. Then one day in 1999 a friend gave him some free tickets to the game. Niv called friend Chad Young (currently blogging about being a member of the FanGraphs Experts League).

Any birth is uncomfortable at best, and this one had its ups and downs. I asked the pair about the experience so that we can learn a little more about how a fan is born. Perhaps in a bid to promote ottoneu, it looks like Mr. Shah forsook the capital letter. Poetic license!

Eno Sarris: So what happened that day? You, who are currently trying to make a living running a fantasy baseball game, you weren’t a baseball fan? You lived in Cleveland and weren’t an Indians fan?

Niv Shah: i was a tribe fan. just moved to cleveland in 97, but didn’t have a baseball team in my city before, so i wasn’t like a hard core tribe fan, but i was around when they went to the world series and eventually lost in a new-to-me-but-not-new-to-anyone-else-in-cleveland way

and you know, whatever, let’s follow the tribe. i wasn’t that into baseball at that point to be honest.

i think this is what happened:

sinead somehow had tickets but wasn’t in town. she gave them to me. 4 seats. i had no one to go with except chad. so i started with “eh lets not go” to him arguing that we had to go because it was the tribe so me saying “ok fine you take the tickets” and him being like “stop being ridiculous why would i go to the tribe game alone let’s just eat two tickets and still go” and me finally saying “ok fine”

Eno Sarris: He had to make you go?

Niv Shah: chad liked baseball and liked the tribe a lot. and told me basically 1) i had to go see the jake because i’d never been 2) the indians are a tough ticket and you can’t just give away those seats (this is amidst the huge sell out streak) and 3) BASEBALL NIV, BASEBALL

Eno Sarris
: So who was pitching that day? Who was the opponent? How was the weather?

Niv Shah: doc gooden
stupid new devil rays

absolutely 0 part of the draw or interest

gooden was signed and it was kind of a big deal in a celebrity kind of way

he wasn’t very good though if i remember right

it was a gorgeous night, clear and warm and awesome
there’s obviously no way in the world i don’t remember that night as anything but spectacular now
but i remember it just being a great cleveland summer night

Chad Young:
i remember it being a really nice day…which is odd cause it was a 7 pm start. but i remember it being sunny and clear and warm and that we spent much of the early going wandering the concourses – visiting the home run porch in left, getting dogs with grilled onions from the only stand in the stadium at the time that had grilled onions (behind the visitors pen in right).

Eno Sarris: How did the game start out?

Chad Young: Honestly, the game was bad from the start and I THINK we showed up late. By the end of the third the tribe was down and we decided the stadium deserved more attention than the product on the field.

Niv Shah: i don’t think we even sat and watched at the end to be honest

there are great sightlines everywhere

we’d just walk around
and see the game from random different spots

Chad Young
: One of my favorite things about the Jake – you can stand almost anywhere in the stadium and see EVERYTHING. The club seats are kind of in the way if you are on the first baseline on the lower deck, but go out further to right, anywhere on the left field line, definitely anywhere in the OF…seats are just totally unnecessary.

[Part 2 will run tomorrow in this same time slot]

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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This is pretty much unreadable.