No new-school drummer boy
Adams has been banging up support for Tribe since 1973
John Adams sits in the highest bleacher seat in left-center field at Jacobs Field and pounds away at his bass drum like an over-caffeinated garage rocker.A close game, a blowout, Opening Day, a World Series or a meaningless September game against the Devil Rays, Adams, 53, is almost always at Jacobs Field. He brought his bass drum to old Cleveland Municipal Stadium on Aug. 24, 1973, and banged on it all night. The Indians won that ballgame against the Rangers, 11-5, behind a complete game from the immortal Tom Timmerman. That otherwise inconsequential win was the beginning of a Cleveland tradition. For 33 years now, Adams has lugged his drum to the ballpark. His total of games attended stands at more than 2,000 and counting. "I was sitting out in the bleachers, and there was no seats to bang out there," Adams says of his first nights. "They were just bleacher seats. So, having played drums and helped lead cheers, I thought I'd get a drum and use that. And I came to a couple games and banged on it, like we did with the seats and clapping." Adams was a young man then, not quite 22. He didn't have the Fu Manchu mustache that he sports today, and his hair was black, not the salt-and-pepper it is now. But he has continued to bring his drum for all three decades now, despite the inconvenience and the cost that comes with having to buy a season ticket for the drum. "I'm the only person in Cleveland with a season ticket for an inanimate object," he says with a laugh. In the 33 seasons of often mediocre baseball, Adams has been bringing his drum to Indians games, and the Tribe has rewarded him with just six playoff appearances. And, of course, Adams has no World Series championships to celebrate. "It's still baseball," he says. "Anything can happen. I sat here, I saw a perfect game. How many people can ever say they saw a perfect game? How many people can say that? Not many. "Though it's amazing how there's more and more people who were there [when you ask now]." The perfect game was Len Barker's, which came on May 15, 1981. It remains one of Adams' favorite memories. It came in old Municipal Stadium, a park so universally derided that it long ago was dubbed "The Mistake by the Lake." But Adams rejects that nickname with a surprising passion. "Every seat in that ballpark faced second base," he says. "You didn't have to cringe or turn or anything. The sight lines in that ballpark were such that any seat you sat in, you saw the entire field and all the fly balls. "That ballpark was a fabulous ballpark, absolutely fabulous. Everybody complains about the poles. Well, if you're hollering and screaming that nobody was there, and [you] had to sit behind a pole, then you were an idiot. If no one's there, and no one's sitting behind a pole, you're an idiot."
: : : This Edition: July 19, 2006 : : :
Andrew Bare is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.