It was an emotional night at Progressive Field last night. My cousin invited me to the game and in typical Irish fashion, we drank quite a bit of alcohol beforehand and were running very late to the game.
It was an awful game, the Indians, a playoff contending team, versus the worst team in baseball, the Chicago White Sox. We were there more for the alcohol than the baseball, per usual.
It was in the top of the 8th inning, and that was the only part of the game that was worth watching. A man came running out of the bullpen, with “Summer of 69” playing in the background, and the strongest man maybe in the history of the Cleveland Indians, running down the steps, Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco.
Cookie was diagnosed with leukemia a couple of months ago, and even though the prognosis was good for him, it was still a scary time for Cookie and the entire city of Cleveland. One of our beloved own, was diagnosed with cancer.
And although he gave up four runs in one inning pitched and we lost to the fucking White Sox, Cookie’s comeback last night was bigger than sports. When he walked down the stairs out of the bullpen, and onto the field, it got me a little emotional. Cookie could have given up, he could have played the victim, he could have made excuses, he could have hid behind his cancer, he could have died, but here is is now, back pitching for the Cleveland Indians.
Wherever it leaves us in the playoff race really does not matter. Cookie coming back last night was bigger than baseball, it was bigger than sports. He beat cancer, he came back, he never gave up, he never gave in.
When the PA announcer said, “now pitching for the Tribe, NUMBER 59, CARLOS CARRASCO!” It sent chills down my spine that I can’t truly describe with words. It was a moment that is indescribable, that you were meant to be there, right there, in that moment, experiencing that with everyone in the stadium.
And in the city where everything is earned and nothing is given, Cookie more than earned that standing ovation last night.
“I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me.” -Carlos Carrasco