DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman is a contingent of Cleveland Indians fans in the midst of a Chicago Cubs crazy area, understandable because many of the present Cubbies got their start with the team’s minor league affiliate once located at our own Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
So why are we pulling for the Tribe?
1) Jason Beverlin, our Head Baseball Coach and three-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of The Year, pitched for the Indians.
2) Cleveland Rocks! (All due respect to Wrigleyville, though.)
The Indians gave Beverlin his first day in the show on July 29, 2002 at Oakland against the Athletics – the team that took him in the fourth round of the 1994 draft. His stat line: one earned run, two hits and three strikeouts in two-and-a-third innings of middle relief in the Indians’ 8-6 victory.
Stat lines took a back seat that day. Beverlin, who was traded to the New Yankees along with Ruben Sierra for Danny Tartabull in 1995, had toiled in the Yankees, Angels and Indians farm systems for eight years before getting the call.
“It was outstanding,” Beverlin said of his Major League debut. “It took so long to get there, so I was going to enjoy every moment and take it all in.”
Beverlin saw two late inning relief appearances during the Indians’ following series at Seattle, then made his lone Progressive Field (It was called Jacobs Field back then.) appearance on August 11, 2002 against the Texas Rangers, where he gave up two runs in an 11-5 loss.
“The team was underachieving, but there was still a great atmosphere and the support Cleveland had for their team even back then was impressive,” Beverlin said. “The Indians organization was great … quality people from top to bottom. They took an interest in you as a person more than a player. You really weren’t just a number.”
Beverlin finished the 2002 season with the Detroit Tigers, dropping three September starts. He’d go on to play three seasons in Japan and then gave it one more shot in the states with the Indians’ AAA Buffalo affiliate in 2007 before entering the coaching ranks.
Loyalty to the Indians aside, Beverlin’s enjoying this World Series because of both teams’ pitching staffs.
“Cubs starters from 1-4 even 5, are amazing, you’re going to have a hard time scoring runs,” Beverlin said. “With the Indians, minus [Corey] Kluber, who’s unbelievable, the job is to get to the fifth inning and get ball to [Andrew] Miller and the rest of the bullpen.
“This World Series is great for baseball,” Beverlin adds. “Two class organizations with great fan bases. It’s outstanding either way it turns out.”
Beverlin’s Wildcats are currently in fall practice and will open their 2017 season in February.
Courtesy B-CU Media