I know, I know. It’s very early Spring Training. Most of the big names aren’t in the lineup. But watching anyone in a legit Cleveland Indians uniform play the (s)C(r)ubs is very therapeutic on a chilly February day.
Especially for me. Since February 6, I’ve been recuperating from a major surgery. I even have the Tribe to thank for forcing me to confront my health issue after ignoring it for too long. I knew that for the past few years, I was having issues with hip pain. My day-to-day routine at an office job was no problem. But standing or walking for any length of time brought considerable pain, and it was affecting my quality of life.
Then came the 2016 ALCS. My son Seth proudly announced that he got us tickets for Game 1 against the Blue Jays. Those tickets turned out to be standing room at the Corner Bar. As much as I loved being at Progressive Field for that win, I paid dearly for standing on that concrete concourse for more than four hours.
The hip and foot pain that ensued led me to get a diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic on November 1. Turns out, at the ripe old age of 59, I have pretty severe arthritis in both hips.
So I had the right hip replaced by the expert team at Cleveland Clinic on February 6. While the surgery and recovery have been the best possible, I’ve still spent considerable time since the procedure scouring books, Netflix and Amazon Video between rehab stints each day. It was getting old, fast.
Then came the first Spring Training game on February 25. What a joy to see the Tribe on TV again! Watching them rack up runs against the Reds during that first game. Then watching the Tribe play against at least the same uniforms that they faced in a fabulous 7-game plus extra inning World Series. Such a joy to see Tyler Naquin leg out a double and later score in that inning. Such a pleasure to watch Danny Salazar pitch quite well for two innings, gaining three punch-outs along the way.
Sure, these are just warm-up calisthenics featuring a lot of hopefuls for the coming season’s quest to earn a return to the World Series. But for me, the first two Spring Training games were a healing balm at a time when I could really use it.
The left hip gets replaced on April 10. By then, the regular season will be underway and the games will count. I’ll miss being at the home opener on April 11 for the first time in many years. But I’ll be able to watch any day games while recuperating for the second time in less than three months.
Thanks for the therapy, Tribe. Go get ’em in 2017!