About the eighth inning, I noticed that one of our readers in the game thread was wondering about the guy who sits high atop the center field bleachers here banging a drum. No matter what the score, how bad the hometown Indians are, or how sparse the crowds may be. That’s dedication. Anyhow, our reader was wondering whether the Indians let the guy store the drum here. Or, whether he has to carry it in and out each time.
The M’s were in the process of getting throttled today, the game was dragging, so I decided to go and get the reader’s question answered. I hustled down from the pressbox and made it all the ay to the bleachers just as the bottom of the eighth was beginning.
First off, the drummer’s name is John Adams, 58, who works for At&T during the day, but has season’s tickets and brings the drum in with him. He’s been doing this for 37 years, so, no, as you’ll hear in the video above, the security people don’t bug him about it anymore.
Actually, he did have to buy tickets for the drum, since it’s so big and takes up a seat. But the ballclub did give him his own bobblehead doll a few years back. He’s been to more than 2,000 games and Aug. 24 will be his 37th anniversary of doing this.
So, that was our diversion from the game and the total collapse by Felix Hernandez and the Mariners in a 9-1 defeat. The game was actually scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning, believe it or not.
But then, an error by Chone Figgins on a two-out grounder prolonged the seventh. Two singles, a double, an intentional walk and a Travis Hafner grand slam later, it was a 6-0 game and Hernandez was done.
“I should have made the play, man,” Figgins said. “It took a hop on me, but I should have made the play.”
And Hernandez needed to make some better pitches. Espeically to Hafner. Hernandez was very upset with himself after the game and the reason was the 2-1 sinker thrown to Hafner that never got down.
Hernandez knew the moment he threw it that the pitch was a meatball. And it was crushed. Hernandez never even looked back after the pitch. He knew what was coming next.
I asked Hernandez what he tried telling himself after the Figgins error.
“To make good pitches,” he said.
And he felt he did that, for the most part. Until the double by Asdrubal Cabrera on another pitch up in the zone. That made it 2-0. The game was done moments later.
“It was weird, huh?” Hernandez said. “I mean, I felt good today. I felt strong, I was making good pitches. But in that inning, my fastball stayed a little bit up.”
One thing not going up is Hernandez’s ERA, now down to 2.62. He’s almost caught Cliff Lee and his 2.58. You also have Clay Bucholtz at 2.49 and Trevor Cahill at 2.50. But Hernandez is getting down there amongst the best in the AL.
And he’s got an 8-10 record. What a year.
Bang the drum slowly, John.