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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

While Talkin’ Tribe, area’s fans are impressive

The other night, I learned that Shelley Duncan isn’t an actress with a glass eye who once starred on “The Hogan Family.”

No, that’s actually Sandy Duncan, a 66-year-old, petite woman who for a long time flew through the air while playing “Peter Pan” on Broadway.

Shelley Duncan is a 32-year-old guy — though also blond, so you can see some of my confusion — who started Opening Day in left field for the Indians.

Oh, how far I’ve fallen in the many years since I was such a fan of the Indians that I scored games in a notebook while listening to Joe Tait and Herb Score on a transistor radio in my bedroom.

Back then, Duane Kuiper was at second base and Rick Manning was in center field, and that was all I needed to know to understand the world was OK.

Today, I just need to know that by the time you’re reading this on Saturday, April 7, that the season isn’t a total loss and that we’re not already waiting for next year.

I’ve had enough of that in my lifetime in Cleveland.

So have you.

I’ve decided all we need is a little optimism. And a few victories.

That’s some analysis right there, huh? No one will ever mistake me for a color commentator on any sports broadcast.

No, I’ll leave that to the folks who entertained me Tuesday night in The News-Herald’s cafeteria.

That night, Indians beat writer Jim Ingraham held court with about 30 baseball fans, discussing all things Indians from this year, past years and the future.

It was hard not to be impressed with the level of knowledge among the fans who spent about 75 minutes peppering Ingraham with questions relating to the team’s lackluster offseason, its just-concluded spring training and what they should expect as the season kicks off.

Ingraham didn’t hold back.

If criticism was due, he gave it. If it was time to praise, he dished that out, too.

Looking on from the sidelines, it was fascinating to watch those who attended.

Some arrived in their fan gear — sweatshirts, jerseys and T-shirts. One man wore a Tribe hat that still had the Major League Baseball logo card attached. I almost asked him if he was going to return it if the Tribe didn’t start the season well.

There was a good mix of men and women in the audience. Just as thrilling was that so many of the ladies were asking questions.

And their questions were thought-provoking — about mindsets of the Indians front office, pitching matchups and even about Ingraham’s thoughts on Ubaldo Jimenez, who days before seemingly had intentionally struck a Colorado Rockies batter with a pitch.

Many of the fans expressed the same frustration that I led off with, wondering when the Indians will make the moves that all of us fans believe would help them win.

Ingraham reminded them that those transactions require money, and that the pockets of the Indians’ brass don’t really jingle when they walk.

If you want to check out the discussion, go to You also can check out your neighbors who attended the event in our slideshow at

I wish more fans would have had the chance to join us for this first-of-its-kind event here at the paper. That you didn’t means I had to eat far too many peanuts and far too much popcorn on “game day.”

I won’t hold it against you.

You’ll be able to make it up to me later on April 25, when we invite you to join us for a discussion about the Browns and the NFL Draft with beat writer Jeff Schudel.

To sign up for Browns Draft Talk with Jeff Schudel, call 440-207-0630 and leave a message with your name and the number of guests who’ll be attending, send that same information to News-Herald Sports Editor Mark Podolski at, or RSVP to the event on our Facebook page.

I expect big crowds and questions that will dazzle me just as much.

I’ll try really hard not to ask anything about the good old days with Bernie Kosar, Dick Ambrose and Hanford Dixon.

If I do, just tell me to shut up and eat some peanuts.

There’ll be plenty.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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