I am the tech dude and web developer of the product known as Bob Harris.
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Juggling way too many things, so slow blogging for a bit. And I’ll get WhoHatesWhom.com fleshed out when I get to it. Still trying to make that soon. I’m about a month behind there so far. Yeesh. My bad.
Not that I’m so deluded to think anyone loses sleep over my posting frequency. But there are about a thousand of you who seem to check in regularly. I like to make it worth your while.
To the exciting, it looks like I’ll be part of the USA contingent in the European Quizzing Championships next month in England, I may be working on something fun in Tanzania early next year, and starting in November, I should be in Mexico City fairly often for the next few months. Y ahora necesito aprender español más rapido que nunca. Obviously, I’ll post pictures etc. from every stop.
Si este blog tiene alguna visitantes desde México con ideos para algunas cosas a ver, estaré encantado a oír de usted. ¡Gracias!
I’m glad to see my favorite baseball team nearing the World Series. I’ve watched every inning of the playoffs, and damn near every pitch. I can spout for hours, if you wish, about the stunning emergence of reliable middle relief. I can praise Fausto Carmona’s transformation into a second ace, Kelly Shoppach’s reliable backup backstopping, and Asdrubal Cabrera’s underappreciated season for days.
But I also wish I could be even happier about it.
I grew up watching every game I could, even during the darkest horrors of 1970s Cleveland baseball. You think your favorite team has its rough spots? Ask me how many homers Duane Kuiper ever hit, or who ended Ray Fosse’s career, or which pitcher got hit by a chair during the Beer Night Riot.
Ask me all about Sudden Sam, the Hawk, Eck, Dirty Kurt, No-Neck, the Booger, the Dybber, the Grubber, the Hammer — all of them, losing year after horrible year, with Herb Score’s voice on WERE 1300 and then WWWE 1100 (listened to for years on the tinny two-inch speaker of a lemon yellow Panasonic spherical novelty radio) patiently imploring us to muster up hope yet again.
Which, dammit, we always did.
The one thing I could never feel good about, however: Chief Wahoo, the bug-eyed hook-nosed red-skinned explicitly racist mascot more akin to Der Ewige Jude than corporate sports marketing.
Still, I always figured he’d go away eventually. I was wrong.
So now, in 2007, I turn on the international TV broadcast, night after night, and what do I see, from a hometown that apparently still doesn’t mind?
Forgive me, but despite nearly 40 years as one of the Indians’ more passionate fans, it’s just really hard to cheer for the same team as these guys — not to mention the other 500 people in their section, and 500,000 fellow residents of the community, who apparently aren’t shaming them into removing the redface. (AP photo.)
That this behavior is apparently still considered acceptable — and even presentable for television, an image that many Clevelanders are apparently OK with broadcasting to the world — speaks for itself.
Cleveland, the rest of the 21st century is watching right now. Do you truly have no idea how this looks?
I’ll probably get a stack of angry emails now from hyperdefensive Clevelanders repeating crap rationalizations rather than simply admitting just how goddam appalling this really is. Don’t waste your breath. Just, I mean, come on, for the love of god, just look at that picture for one more minute, and pretend you’re from anywhere else in the civilized world, or that the makeup portrays Africans, Asians, Latinos, or any other ethnic group. And no, the team was not named to "honor" Louis Sockalexis or anybody in 1915; newspaper archives make it clear that the name was simply meant to evoke popular images of savagery, as the Boston Braves had while winning the pennant the year before. (Even the Indians’ own official history no longer makes the Sockalexis claim, although their conspicuously confusing wording around the key point might mislead a casual reader.)
The Cleveland Indians were named in the racial climate of 1915, the same year D.W. Griffith’s pro-Klan Birth of a Nation was released. That film’s crude, thuggish racism is no longer considered acceptable — at least not toward blacks. Too bad that regarding slightly redder shades of skin, at least some Cleveland fans are still living one century ago, if not two.
I understand this may come off as holier than thou, and if so, my bad. Truth be told, I’ll still probably keep cheering for the team I grew up loving, despite it all. I can’t help myself. I still remember Buddy Bell hitting a triple in the All-Star game in his rookie year, sliding headfirst into third with a big grin on his face. I still remember listening to Frank Robinson’s opening day home run against the Yankees in 1975, thanks to a music teacher who let us all listen to the game on his radio that one day. I remember Len Barker’s perfect game, Joe Charbonneau’s one terrific season, and every heartbreak of the near-misses of 1995 and 1997.
So of course I’d like to yell "Go Cleveland!" this week as they attempt to reach the World Series, and at times I surely will.
But I’ll never be able to yell it with full voice — not until this shameful Red Sambo show finally ends.