Tribe superfan Adams throws first pitch
Bleacher drummer highlights ALDS pregame festivities
CLEVELAND -- The man's had his own bobblehead night. He memorably unveiled the "455" sign commemorating the Tribe's record-setting string of sellouts. And twice before he had thrown out a ceremonial first pitch at Jacobs Field.
Yet John Adams, whose been famously pounding his bass drum for the last 34 years in Cleveland's bleachers, may never experience a greater honor than he did Thursday night.
Before an ear-splitting sellout crowd on hand to witness the Tribe's first playoff game in six years, Adams represented "The Fans" by tossing out the ritual first pitch.
"This is so special, because it's not about me this time," Adams said. "This is about representing the great fans of Cleveland. That's what means so much to me."
Adams headlined The Jake's elaborate pregame festivities early Thursday night.
The teams were introduced on the field, the Cleveland Orchestra's double string quartet performed the national anthem, and nearly 200 students from Cleveland's city schools unfurled a 150- by 300-foot American flag across the outfield.
But it was the venerable Adams' act that perhaps drew the loudest cheers.
"What an honor," he said.
Adams was stunned when he first received a call from the Indians on Sunday. The Tribe was playing its biggest game since 2001, and they were asking him, a fan, to throw out the first pitch? Weren't such honors reserved for dignitaries, he thought.
But the Indians knew there was nobody better to represent the Tribe's fans than their public face. Adams was their guy.
"I was like, 'Yeah,'" Adams said. "But then I started thinking about it and it's like, 'Whoa.' I've been a nervous wreck ever since."
Adams figured he should practice. Well, sort of. On Wednesday night, he went over to his neighbor's house to play catch with their boy.
"I have the home-run pitch and I have the wild pitch," Adams said with a laugh. "We'll see what happens."
Adams unveiled a third pitch: the strike. Another series of cheers ensued.
"This is phenomenal," Adams said. "I hope they win, and they remember I threw out the first pitch.
"Maybe they'll have me back."
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.