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Calling Pete Franklin

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The e-mails are asking where I have been and why haven’t I posted on the Indians’ win last night.  Of course I was watching!  From room 409 in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado –worried that even a 7-run 11th wouldn’t be enough to get the Tribe to Cleveland 1-and-1 in the ALCS. 

Yesterday I drove Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road, but snow overnight closed it and other parts of the park, so the Fetching Mrs. Hewitt and I headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming to remedy our joint failure to visit Wyoming over our combined past century.  (Here’s the transcript of my interview with Lynne Cheney last week where I admit to never having been to the Cowboy State.)

On the return trip we paused in Boulder to visit with some young friends, and then she caught a plane to California and I checked into an airport hotel to wait for the morning’s flight.  To Ohio.

I am heading to Cleveland in the AM for Game 3.  I’ll be broadcasting from Pickwick & Frolic on 4rth from about 4 PM until game time at 7 PM.  I’ll be chatting with the Buckeye faithful and America’s finest sportswriter, the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto, will join me for a look inside an Ohio’s sportswriter’s life.  (Michael Barone will also join me via phone to discuss the politics of Ohio in 2008.)

I’ve been to playoff games before, including the Angels’ 7th game win in the 2002 Series.

But never to see the Indians in post-season.  I have always hesitated, fearing the worst.

You may not know the name Pete Franklin, but he was a radio genius.  I spent hundreds of hours listening to Pete talk Indians, Browns and Cavs in my youth, and his deeply pessimistic view of Cleveland sports still colors the judgment of millions of Ohio fans, including mine, long after he went to his reward.

Pete, and his audience,  just assumed Cleveland would lose, and not only lose, but lose in the most heart-rending ways.  The Drive. The Fumble. Jordan.  Jose Mesa.

The year past has confirmed the wisdom of our default position.  OSU played for the NCAA national championship in both football and basketball.  And lost both times.

The Cavs got to the NBA finals–and lost.

Now the Tribe has beaten the Yankees and is 1-and-1 with the club with world’s most arrogant fans. 

This is a set-up. This is Lucy with the football.

I should stay in California and practice resignation.  There hasn’t been a championship in Cleveland since the 1964 Browns.

But this may be the year.  It is a no-name club with some throw-back guys.  There are other signs as well:  The Browns picked up a left tackle for the next 15 years and the Might Quinn isn’t being rushed into action.  LeBron messed up with the cap, but he’s still the dominant player in the NBA.

And did I mention that OSU is back in the #1 spot in college football?

Pete, wherever you are, I think this is the year.


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