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Okay to Cry

July 10th, 2009 No comments

I just went down to Ingenuity to check out Mike Geither’s work-in-progress about the misfortunes of Cleveland sports: baseball in particular.ok-league-park-1891

The place at 1220 Huron was packed, which was great, and there was a constant flow of people in and out–hey, it’s a good-sized space that’s cool (temperature wise) and it’s where the restrooms are! But that wasn’t the reason for the crowd–or, if it was, Mike sure got them to stay around for a bit. The play was funny and engaging. Mike always manages to capture something mysterious that causes me great envy. There is something about theater that is mystical and it has to do with 1) engaging that sense of “let’s pretend” from when we were all children: the imagination; but it also has to do with engaging all the senses visual, aural, etc. And Mike manages to do that through his character Chris.

Wearing a white shirt which reads “Ketchup Cheats” in red lettering, Chris begins his discussion of Cleveland’s down-beat sports history with a story of his unfortunate arrest in the Lakewood Public Library for certain inappropriate acts in the bathroom and the stacks. He’s been on the Lakewood police blotter three times and has some unusual behaviors that are problematic when unexplained–and even somewhat problematic when explained. His brother’s death leads to some cemetery discussions which leads to Ray “Chappie” Chapman, the shortstop for the Cleveland Indians who was killed by a Carl Mays pitch (New York Yankees) in 1919. The hatred for New York and Boston teams is thus introduced with some vitriol and expanded with charts, quotes, and stats on payroll, ticker tape parades, and much more. Per usual, Geither does an excellent job of blending character psychology with quirky behavior in the face of monolithic forces that surround and dominate our lives: in this case, history and the events of baseball.

If you’re down at Ingenuity this weekend, I highly recommend seeing this Personal History of Cleveland Baseball.

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