Friday, April 20, 2012

Waiting for 10:05 Indians games brings back memories

When Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge made a pitching change at 1:20 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday morning, I had a flashback to one of the craziest Indians games of the 2000s.

Wedge was the Tribe's manager when the Indians scored 11 runs in the ninth inning to beat the Royals, 13-7, on Aug. 9, 2005.

Back then, our deadline for the first edition was 11:40 p.m. When an 8:05 game in Kansas City -- or 8:11 in Chicago -- passed the three-hour mark, things got interesting in the newsroom. With Wedge's grinding, patient-at-the-plate approach and Rafael "Molasses" Betancourt in the bullpen, things often got interesting when the Tribe was on Central time.

The Indians started the top of the ninth trailing, 7-2. Thanks to clutch hitting and some un-clutch fielding by the Royals -- they made three errors, including a dropped fly ball by left fielder Chip Ambres in the picture -- they came out leading, 13-7.

While that crazy half inning was unfolding, we had one eye on the clock. Meanwhile, half our staff was at the Geauga Lyric Theater to shoot the cover for that year's high school football preview. It might have seemed late for a photo shoot, but it was a night shoot and we had to wait for the sun to go down.

Between communicating about the football photos, monitoring the Indians and watching the clock, it was getting tense.

According to the box score, Bob Howry pitched the ninth with no pitching changes. But I remember Wedge either made a trip to the mound, or perhaps the camera showed him looking like was going to. At that point, I yelled at the newsroom television, "LEAVE HIM IN! HE'S A PROFESSIONAL!" Somehow, the game ended in time.

I was off Monday night, but I felt for my colleagues when Wedge made his deliberate, grinding, patient walk to the mound at 10:20 p.m. Pacific. But they got the game in Tuesday's print edition.

When we're waiting for these 10:05 p.m. starts to end, I can assure you there is a lot of deliberating and grinding, but not much patience.

- Howard Primer


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