The Magic Number used to be a regular visitor to Jacobs Field back in the mid-1990s. We were regular countdown pros back then, as good as Dick Clark on New Year's Eve. But we haven't seen much of Magic Number lately. In 2001 the Indians won their division and enjoyed a visit from Magic Number, but since then it's been nothing but tragic numbers. Magic Number did make a cameo in 2005 but didn't make it to Jacobs Field for the final week of the season.
Now, the Magic Number is back for an extended stay. Entering tonight's game the Indians hold a 5½-game lead on the Tigers and have a Magic Number of seven. Wins tonight and tomorrow reduce that to three, with the possibility of clinching the division title by the weekend.
God Hates Cleveland Sports was fortunate enough to hook up with Magic Number to see how he enjoys life on the road and what he thinks about his return to Cleveland.
GOD HATES CLEVELAND SPORTS: Magic Number, good to see you back in town. Looks like you'll be here til the end of the week. We have to ask, where the hell have you been?
MAGIC NUMBER: Well, I do quite a bit of traveling. As you know I'm based in New York City -- season tickets at Yankee Stadium and quite a bit of time spent at Shea as well. But last couple years I've spent time in St. Louis, Boston, out on the West Coast in L.A., San Diego, and Oakland. Used to go to Atlanta all the time, but not so much anymore. Nice to be back in Cleveland, I plan on visiting The Flats this week.
GHCS: You might want to try East 4th Street, Magic Number, The Flats are over! It has been awhile since we've seen you, hasn't it?
MN: What happened to The Flats? I used to love that place The Basement. I used to hang out there with the Baseball Tonight guys all the time. Remember when Gary Miller peed out the window? Wouldn't have happened if I hadn't come to town.
GHCS: Will you be at the ballpark tonight, Magic Number?
MN: I almost didn't make it last night. I forgot how to get to The Jake. By the time I got there the ticket booths were closed. Even the scalpers were gone. I finally found an old lady who claimed she was one of Bob Feller's groupies back in the day. She was selling a ticket for bus fare back to Parma, so I got in just in time. That'll teach me to come down Euclid Avenue. Who knows what will happen tonight.
GHCS: How do people usually react when they see you?
MN: Man, it's crazy? Ever been over to that Rock Hall of yours? You know, they got The Beatles in there. It's kinda like that with me, when The Beatles first came to America. There's usually girls fainting and peeing themselves (around here they're all wearing these pink Mrs. Sizemore shirts), and guys like to come up and give you a chest bump or fist knock. Sometimes they ask for pictures. I'm always keeping myself in shape to look good for the cameras.
GHCS: Wow, you're a real rock star. Any great Cleveland memories?
MN: I really liked 1995. I mean, there I was counting myself down throughout most of August. By September 8 it was all over. Most people barely even knew I was in town. Albert Belle kept threatening to stomp me, but I could have taken him. This year is much more relaxed. If I get that pie in my face I'm gonna be really pissed off.
GHCS: I think a lot of people are still pretty upset with you for standing us up in 2005.
MN: Hey, I was here, all right. I even went to Kansas City before I came here for the final week. But when I was out there I got sun poisoning, and then when we got back to Cleveland they were like, "We'll call you when we need you." I figured I'd be down at Jacobs Field all week, but I only made it once. When Ozzie Guillen made that choke sign, I hopped on a plane and flew back home to New York.
GHCS: What do you do in the offseason?
MN: I'm always counting down the days til the next season. I'll watch a little football, but not that much. Sometimes I'll pop up during the basketball season, but since almost everyone's in the playoffs they don't need my services that much. So usually I'm just hanging out by the pool reading a book.
GHCS: Any predictions for the Tribe this week?
MN: Let me ask my brother, Magic 8-Ball. Uh, oh, you're not going to like this answer ... you did say this site's called God Hates Cleveland Sports, right? Looks like I might be needed in Detroit next week.
GHCS: How can you say that? I heard you have reservations at the Renaissance through the weekend.
MN: Plans change, kid. I've got the airlines on speed dial, know what I mean? Just think about what's going on in Chicago and Milwaukee. Thank goodness I can drive back and forth between those places.
GHCS: OK, Magic Number, good to have you in town. Thanks for stopping by!
MN: My pleasure, see you at the game tonite -- MAYBE!!