CLEVELAND – Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor watches it earlier than each house recreation on the JumboTron in left subject at Progressive Discipline.
“We see Sandy’s moment every day on the scoreboard,” Lindor mentioned at All-Star Sport media day on Monday. “They play it over and over every day, and it looks pretty special. I can’t wait now to see what it’s going to be like tomorrow.”
That second -when catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. hit a two-run homer within the seventh inning to provide the American League a 3-1 victory at then-called Jacobs Discipline within the 1997 All-Star Sport- might be replayed once more to loud ovations earlier than Tuesday’s All-Star recreation.
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Cleveland nonetheless relishes that second. A lengthy line of followers waited simply to fulfill and greet Alomar Jr. at Play Ball Park on Monday afternoon. Followers greeted Jim Thome, his teammate at that All-Star Sport, with one other spherical of applause earlier than he threw out the primary pitch to Lindor on the Residence Run Derby on Monday.
Thome additionally coached the American League crew on the Futures Sport on Sunday, and he used that second in his pre-game speech.
“That was kind of the message to these guys,” Thome mentioned. “Everywhere you get moments in life. You get moments in life where you can rise up where you can show the world, ‘We’re here.’ We were fortunate to have some of those moments with our teams in the ’90s. That was one of those moments. It’s the best part of baseball.”
These moments are occurring much more in Cleveland lately, and there’s extra the place that got here from.
Cleveland native Drew Carey, host of “The Price is Right,” was requested earlier than the Celeb Softball Sport what “Cleveland vs. The World” meant to him.
“It’s just a slogan on a shirt,” Carey mentioned, accompanied by his trademark snicker, as he held up a baseball glove he admitted he had not touched in years.
Carey then interrupted the subsequent query.
“Well, I take that back because I’ve been stepped on my whole life. It’s been a joke,” Carey mentioned earlier than warming up. “All I’ve ever heard is Cleveland jokes. It was truly one of the reasons I set my show in Cleveland. You get a chip on your shoulder when you grow up here, and there’s a part of you there that never leaves.”
Should you endear your self to the Cleveland followers, you at all times keep. That was evident in that movie star recreation. J.R. Smith, a guard on the 2016 Cavaliers NBA Finals championship crew, stripped his shirt off earlier than an at-bat then posed with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. It is the proper image for the native Cleveland sports activities bar wall.
Kenny Lofton, who was traded to Atlanta in 1997 earlier than returning the next season, hit a house run. Lofton put that mentality into perspective from an athlete’s standpoint. James, Lofton, Kosar and Thome all left, and Smith may very well be subsequent, however you by no means actually go away.
“Everyone against Cleveland, because we – I can say that because I’m not a Clevelander but I feel that way – we feel like it’s always us against everyone else,” Lofton mentioned. “We always felt like the team that should be on that higher market level, but we weren’t.”
Indians supervisor Terry Francona grew up in New Brighton, Pa., however he speaks in the identical phrases as Lofton when requested concerning the All-Star Sport shining a light-weight on Cleveland.
“I’m from an hour-and-a-half away, but I’ve been here long enough to care,” Francona mentioned. “I’ve seen when LeBron (James) came back what it did for the Downtown restaurants and bars. A weekend like this, Cleveland is a destination. I know what it was like during the NBA Finals and World Series. This is another time where I think Cleveland gets to show that it’s a pretty cool place.”
James delivered the Cavaliers’ first professional sports activities championship since 1964 with an exhilarating comeback from a 3-1 deficit towards the Golden State Warriors. That erased a curse that included numerous heartbreaks each on and off the sector. The Indians misplaced two World Sequence. The Browns relocated to Baltimore.
James left for Los Angeles after the 2017-18 season, however the momentum has not stopped in Cleveland since. The Indians are within the combine for a fourth straight playoff berth and had been one recreation away from successful the 2016 World Sequence. The Browns have flipped a 0-16 roster to a crew led by No. 1 choose Baker Mayfield and offseason pickup Odell Beckham Jr. That is include a motto: “Super Bowl, Super Browns.” Former Browns deal with Joe Thomas – who by no means performed in a playoff recreation in a 11-season profession that may land him within the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame – additionally performed within the Celeb Softball Sport and was joyful to elaborate on that notion.
“You have to be excited about the Browns’ season,” Thomas mentioned. “Not only the personalities they have, but the collection of talent they have put together. I don’t know what their record is going to be, but they’re going to be exciting as a team.”
Cleveland, very similar to it did when Jacobs Discipline was the place to be within the 1990s, has a revitalized metropolis on the upswing.
“The Downtown is a lot more exciting than it has been in a long time, which makes me really happy,” Carey mentioned. “In every city, I think the Downtown is the most-important part. You’re seeing that in Cleveland again.”
With that come big-time occasions. The 2020 NFL Draft. The 2022 NBA All-Star Sport. The 2024 Girls’s Last 4. All of that’s coming to Cleveland.
It’s the cool place to be once more, similar to 1997.
Carey was requested if he remembered the place he was throughout the 1997 All-Star Sport.
“Uh, no,” he mentioned earlier than that snicker broke out once more.
He’s within the minority. Most Cleveland followers know the place they had been when Alomar belted a two-run homer that preempted the second World Sequence run. Thome watched the Cavaliers win the NBA Finals together with his son and has paid consideration to the hype across the Browns’ upcoming season.
However the Corridor of Famer’s thoughts nonetheless turns again to greeting Alomar within the dugout.
“That’s kind of what you dream of,” Thome mentioned. “For me, because I have so much respect for Sandy to have him have that big moment was incredible. As a teammate, that’s what you want. The crowd how they were excited for him. Looking back, ’97 seems like a long time ago, but what’s cool now is we get to turn the page and hopefully have those great memories for Cleveland again.”
Thome’s crew tied within the Futures Sport and Cleveland. The World beat Cleveland 21-16 within the Celeb Softball Sport, and Carlos Santana was knocked out of the Residence Run Derby.
Lindor, Santana, Shane Bieber and Brad Hand will take part for the Indians in tonight’s All-Star Sport, nonetheless, and given the momentum in Cleveland it is OK to imagine one other second is coming.
Maybe will probably be one which performs on the JumboTron day-after-day.
“Everything is how it’s supposed to be,” Lindor mentioned. “We’re showing out right now. Cleveland is showing out. I’m so happy for it because I want to show every other team that Cleveland is a great city.”