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Home town call!

[Hapless Cleveland fan (1981)]

Early in the 2001 season, a bunch of us trundled off to see a day game at Yankee Stadium, where the Bombers were taking on the racially-insensitive Cleveland Indians. The seats were vertiginous, the outcome predictible, but for once, the local color was not provided by drunk Yankees fans cursing like sailors on shore leave but rather by this weird fella sitting behind us we quickly named “Dr. Baseball.” He was taking in the game solo, and was entirely late 30s nondescript but for Chief Wahoo on his cap. He would yell out, in this wheedling tinny voice, the most obvious of exhortations to his Indians: “Hit a double!” or “Strike him out!” or other such stunningly obvious advice that we figured he must have coached in the Bigs, hence “Dr. Baseball.” The best of all, however, was on strikes called on Indians where the hitter took no swing, Dr Baseball would sing out “Home Town Call!” – a whining little singsong with rising pitch on the first two words, and then bringing it back downstairs on “call.” Whenever the conversation lags, or the topic of conversation is some imbecile somewhere, we honor Dr. Baseball with an homage to true fandom and baseball accumen.

Brent Cox (May 20, 2002)

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