CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Day 22 of the Cleveland Indians’ American League record win streak was unlike any in the three weeks prior to it.
There was actual intrigue, a competitive game and the first walk-off win of the historic run.
Win no. 22 also had something else: Curses.
With the American League record already in hand, Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Mike Chernoff had a seeming death-wish for the streak as both sailed into the winds of two storms of bad luck.
Days before the record-clinching win, Francona had noted a friend that had garnered the nickname, ‘the gray cloud,’ for his ability to cast negativity and sadness into any situation.
“I got one really good buddy, one of my best friends, but he’s notoriously bad luck,” Francona said. “He knows who he is and you talk about superstitions, I will not talk to him. He is a text only. Oh, yeah. He knows. It cost me one job, he’s not getting away again.”
Prior to the Indians’ attempt at 22 straight, Francona revealed the identity of the gray cloud, Bill “Tubby” Kinneberg – a former teammate at the University of Arizona and the current head coach at Utah. The manager overseeing the longest win streak in the junior circuit’s history also revealed that he had called Kinneberg, risking it all.
“I called him and he sent me to voicemail. And then he texted me, and then I called him and he picked up and said, ‘You sure you want to do this?’” Francona said. “Like, man I haven’t talked to you in three weeks. If we lose tonight, there is more to this thing. This guy is superhuman, man, it’s unbelievable.”
Sure enough, the team prevailed, albeit it in gut-wrenching fashion.
“The curse of Tubby is over,” Francona proclaimed post-game with a smile.
Tito joked on Friday that Kinneberg told him Francona’s words cost the Utah coach three recruits during a recruiting visit to Canada.
But there was another bit of trouble afoot as Chernoff went on air with notorious ‘tank mush’ expert Mike Francesa at CBS’s New York affiliate, WFAN. Chernoff’s father, Mark, is the program director at WFAN and the man who essentially allowed sports radio to take off.
Francesa, one of the iconic figures in sports radio, denies being any sort of jinx, but fans have brought the receipts.
Chernoff had already in a bit of hot water on the radio following his son Brody’s stint on air in Spring Training, where the six-year old revealed a potential Francisco Lindor contract offer.
Even under the gray cloud and the weight of the jinx of Francesa, the team prevailed, proving that anything is truly possible.