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JIMMY'S TAKE: Jim Donovan says Cleveland baseball superfan John Adams was part of 'what makes sports beautiful'

Adams, who banged his iconic drum at Indians games for more than 40 years, died Monday at the age of 71.

CLEVELAND — Baseball in Cleveland went out of rhythm today. John Adams, the Indians' drummer — the man who gave the ballpark a constant heartbeat — died today at 71.

He made himself a fixture at Indians games since back in August of 1973 by bringing his drum, taking his spot out there in the bleachers, and loving the game. He loved the Indians, he loved baseball, he was always there.

"Baseball is a lot of history," Adams told 3News back in the early 1990s. "When you go to a ballpark, it's always things that are handed down from generation to generation."

You know, when the Indians opened up their sparkling new stadium — Jacobs Field — back in 1994, it was the place to be in Cleveland. John Adams was there, of course, but remember: John Adams was also there at the old stadium, when that was the place nobody wanted to be.

An old rickety stadium, a struggling team, yet there's that drummer out there trying to will the Indians to just score a couple of runs.

How many games did John  Adams and his drum attend? Probably over 3,700, they say. A COVID season then a string of serious health problems kept him away from the place he called "Heaven": his bleacher seat in left field.

"To be able to meet all those people and to have people now praying for me — which really helps, it really does — and that connection even now when I'm not down there, because of the folks down there, I feel I'm there," Adams said in an interview with WKYC's Nick Camino this past September.

Realize this: When the Indians became contenders in the early years of Jacobs Field, they were famous for rallying in the bottom of the ninth inning and winning games. But no rallies started without the beat of John Adams' drum.

The most famous rally game in Game 7, the 2016 World Series with the Cubs. The Indians were down to a precious few outs, but the beat of that drum echoed around the park.

And it built, and then it reached the loudest roar ever, when Rajai Davis homered to tie the game.

John Adams is what makes sports beautiful. Win or lose, first place or last, John Adams was always there. When they took roll call, he pounded that drum.

Spring will come, and the Guardians will be back at Progressive Field. John Adams won't, but I bet if you're at the park some night, just close your eyes and listen, and you'll hear John Adams on his drum, putting baseball back in rhythm in Cleveland.

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