CLEVELAND — During the course of our coverage at PLAY BALL Park during the All-Star Game festivities, I chatted with David Gilbert, the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
He looked like a man who was in the middle of running a marathon. A little winded, but determined and focused. That's the spirit that seemed to permeate through Cleveland during the last five days.
It's not easy to put an event like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game together. Four separate entities are involved in the process: Gilbert's Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the city of Cleveland, the Indians, and of course, Major League Baseball.
Thousands of volunteers are needed. Countless hours are put in.
From Friday through Tuesday night, we saw the end result. It was a wonderfully organized, brilliantly executed success.
Here's one thing to keep in mind that Jim Donovan reminded me of during Wednesday's show: As great as an event like the All-Star Game is, having your team earn the right to host a playoff game is that much better. It makes one look forward to the second half of the baseball season with the Indians in a pennant race, and perhaps a playoff run by the Browns and Baker Mayfield.
Smooth, Cookie, and Biebs
So much about Tuesday's All-Star Game was special because Cleveland was impacted in so many ways, beyond the fact that the game was played at Progressive Field.
There was Michael Brantley, who was making his return to Cleveland after the Tribe elected to not re-sign him in the offseason as part of their payroll deduction. He wasn't too sure leading up to Tuesday what kind of reception that the fans would give him when he was introduced, but was no doubt touched by the ovation that he received.
Then Dr. Smooth did what he always does, lining an opposite field double to left to put the American League up 1-0. It was vintage Brantley.
Shane Bieber found out that he was going to be an American League All-Star on Friday. The 24-year-old started this season as the fifth starter in the Tribe rotation, but due to a rash of injuries, he has become the staff ace this year. I'd argue he and Oscar Mercado were the team MVPs of the first half.
Tuesday night, Bieber showed the nation what he could do, striking out the side with authority to earn the game's Most Valuable Player award. And you have to love Terry Francona's reaction to the final strikeout.
Then there was Carlos Carrasco and the moment that brought all of us to tears. The Tribe right-hander, battling a form of leukemia, was saluted by his Indians All-Star teammates and manager Terry Francona during the Stand Up To Cancer tribute.
That moment felt like all of baseball and all of Cleveland gave a collective hug to the man known as 'Cookie.' It was powerful and heartfelt.
The Indians say Carrasco he has been cleared for strength and conditioning programs, as well as throwing activity. Cookie believes that he has the condition "under control."
When the Tribe first disclosed that Carrasco was unable to pitch because of a 'blood condition,' Jimmy told me he was afraid that the 32-year-old might have leukemia. Because, of course, Jimmy fought the disease himself a few years ago.
If the circumstances allow it, Jimmy told me during the show that he hopes that he'll have a chance to speak with Carrasco. Not on camera in an interview necesssarily, but as a fellow leukemia patient who might be able to provide some advice and support if it's needed.
In the meantime, I stand for Cookie...but I also stand for Jimmy
Watch The Donovan Live Postgame Show in the player below