These are the days when I miss Pete Franklin.
If you're 40 or older, you might remember Franklin for his sharp commentary and inimitable style as the host of "Sportsline," a radio talk show on what was formerly "WWWE" in Cleveland. The late Franklin was among the first sports talkers in the country, and no one in the Cleveland market has come close to equaling his talents in the 23 years since he left town.
Franklin was entertaining on several levels, but he was at his best when angered by the poor performance of one of the city's sports teams. Since the Browns were usually competitive during his time on the air, Franklin was at his cantankerous best when ripping another pathetic Indians team.
It was usually sometime in June when Franklin would conduct what seemed like an annual funeral ceremony to officially bury another baseball season. With organ music accompanying Franklin's commentary, you could almost smell the flowers and hear the anguish of longtime fans that had turned the page to another football season.
Now that the Indians are double figures in the games-back column and talk of trading pitcher Fausto Carmona has surfaced, the 2010 season is finished. There aren't enough dollar-hot dog nights, bobblehead giveaways or Stephen Strasburg appearances to entice more than a small gathering of friends to the remaining home games.
It's the 1970s and '80s all over again. Tickets for good seats can be purchased as a walk-up shortly before the first pitch. No long lines for beverages and food. All that's missing are the Carling Black Label beer commercials featuring bar maid Mabel.
It kind of makes me feel nostalgic for the days when the Indians called Municipal Stadium home. The best time to arrive for a 7 p.m. start was 6:55. Without a Science Center or Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to take up space, cars could be parked near the east-end gates.
You didn't care what section, row and seat were printed on your ticket. You picked a spot in one of many nearly-empty sections, kicked up your feet and watched Carl Yastrzemski go deep or Jim Palmer pitch a gem. There weren't many highlights for the Indians, unless you count Gomer Hodge's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning that resulted in a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox in the 1971 home opener.
There was actually a large crowd in the big, gray stadium that day, mainly because many high school students, like me, skipped school to take in the opener. Once the opener was off the schedule, crowds settled in at a cozy 7,000 to 10,000 on a good night.
There weren't nearly as many special promotions then as there are now. Maybe bat day, ball day and cap day. Halter-top night was once a promotion, which, combined with beer night, may have led to a population explosion nine months later.
When the Indians enjoyed good times in the second half of the 1990s and a portion of the last decade, there was no need for promotions almost every game. All that was needed to fill up then Jacobs Field was the announcement of the batting order - Lofton, Vizquel, Baerga, Belle, Thome, Murray, Sorrento, Ramirez and Alomar.
You could pencil in 95 to 100 wins, another American League Central Division title and the dreams of perhaps a World Series championship and a parade down Euclid Avenue. Franklin might have been tongue-tied if he had been doing his gig during that run of seasons.
He would have had no trouble entertaining listeners today. My guess is that calling hours would have been any day now.
Considering the way things have gone this season, bring an extra box of tissues.