Saturday, September 20, 2008

Goodbye Cleveland!

Here's a fitting image for my day, seeing as how I saw a bunch of Stones stuff at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then went to another Indians game. I thunk up this visual portmanteau about ten years ago, and emailed my idea to the editor of the (defunct?) baseball/rock zine, ChinMusic!. Kevin did the artwork (myself, I wouldn't have distorted the Stones logo, but otherwise it looks good), and then he made it into buttons, which you can buy here.

No pictures allowed at the rock hall, so none here. Anyway, I was skeptical going in (no enshrined Stooges!?), but the museum has so many amazing, unexpected artifacts that I couldn't help but be impressed. Some of my favorites: Chrissie Hynde's jacket from the cover of Pretenders, Handsome Dick Manitoba's jacket and boots from the cover of Go Girl Crazy!, ZZ Top's Eliminator, and issue one of Bruce Pavitt's Subterranean Pop zine (part of a larger Seattle grunge display). Keeping current, there was even Feist's blue jumpsuit from her 1234 video. The most awesome item though was Paul Simonon's splintered bass from the cover of London Calling.

A cool temporary exhibit, Baseball Rocks, featured sheet music and discs of various baseball-related tunes. Mostly they were regional 45s, issued to support local teams, similar to (but not including) Go, Go, You Pilots!. Also missing was Elton John's Dodgers uniform, and nary a trace of the best-ever rock/baseball project, the Baseball Project. (Hopefully I'll post my review of their debut CD before the season ends.)

Also during the day I walked around downtown, dining at Dunky in Terminal Tower (a killer 1930s skyscraper/office/transit/shopping complex), and visiting Browns Stadium and the Cavaliers' home venue (whose name is so stupid I can't bring myself to repeat it).

Then I drove around town for a spell, past the VA hospital where Harvey Pekar worked, and to the site of League Park, former home of the Indians, among other teams. Playing for the Cleveland Spiders, Cy Young (named on the button above), threw the stadium's first pitch in 1891. It was closed in 1946 and demolished in '51, and now it's a city park (still called League Park). Part of an exterior wall still stands, as does the ticket office on the lot's southwest corner (above). A young local guy named Jerome was checking it out too. Having previously working at the park, he knew all about the place and its history, and was kind enough to give me a little tour. Most interesting was the dugout steps and underground tunnel that once ran from the first base dugout to the clubhouse; now it's essentially a narrow trench, partially covered with plywood and filled with trash. Jerome stands in front of it here:

On a semi-related note -- does anyone know how ballclubs decide whether to use the first or third base dugouts at home? Is it a strategic thing, or based on the quality of the respective clubhouses, or because of a preferred view, or something else? I've been wondering why it varies by stadium.

Okay, back for a second Indians game, where it occurred to me that Hang On Sloopy is the totem Indians rock song, a la Seattle's "Louie, Louie," Boston's "Sweet Caroline, etc... Despite what I said yesterday, I took home a Chief Wahoo cap anyhow, only because it was Cap Night... The drum guy was there, pounding his bass whenever an Indian was in scoring position.

For the record, the Tribe prevailed, 6-3. Thus far on my rust belt road trip, the home teams have gone 5-0.

All the little chicks with the crimson lips go "Cleveland rocks, Cleveland rocks."

Tomorrow I'm motoring to the Motor City.


At 2:27 PM, October 15, 2008 , Blogger Steve Boone said...

Hey buddy, Nice blog. I enjoyed the various posts. I am a huge Indians fan, and it was nice to see you made it to Cleveland a few times. I just wanted to make a quick comment about how teams choose what side of the field will be the home dugout. My experience is that it has everything to do with the direction the ballpark is sitting. The sun set's in the west, so depending on which direction the stadium is facing, teams will usually choose to not sit facing the sun. The majority of the games are played at 7:05pm, when that blinding sun is radiating into the dugout.

Not sure how factual it is, but that is what I have always heard. Seem's to hold true for a majority of the stadiums I have visited too!

Steve Boone


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