Indians drummer upbeat despite job loss during World Series


CLEVELAND (AP) — In the Cleveland Indians amazing run to the World Series, as the team played hard and gave every ounce until the final, extra-inning out in a seventh-game loss to the Chicago Cubs, one veteran played hurt.

High in the bleachers, John Adams banged his bass drum, the sound Indians fans have come to know for more than four decades as the heartbeat of the home team.

He banged with fervor, as he always has, despite the blow dealt to him earlier in the series. On Oct. 28, when the Indians were in Chicago winning Game 3, Adams lost his day job.

Adams, 65, of Brecksville, had worked for 40 years as a technician at AT&T. He said he’d hoped to work at least another year. “But it’s not my choice,” he said.

He’s doing his best to take it in stride. After he lost his job and then the Tribe lost, “My neighbor said, ‘What are you going to do now? Lose your car?’ I said, ‘No, I’m going to lose a neighbor!’ “

He said he is on the AT&T payroll until Dec. 27.

“If I don’t find another job by then, I guess I’ll just take my retirement,” he said.

Adams isn’t asking anyone to cry for him.

“As bad as this is, I am still blessed.” — Indians drummer John Adams on losing his day job.

“There’s a lot of people in a lot worse shape than I am financially and they got kids still going to school, they got a mortgage payment to make they don’t have money for,” said Adams, who is divorced and doesn’t have children. “I don’t have that situation. As bad as this is, I am still blessed.”

He said he’ll still be there for every Indians home game; the team provides him with season tickets, for himself and his drum, under a sign that reads, “#1 Tribe Fan. John Adams.” The drum is the same 26-inch bass drum from a set he bought upon seeing an ad in the Trading Times for $25 when he was 22. He replaces the top head, the one he bangs, about twice a year. The bottom head is original.

Adams loves the Tribe gig. He’s only missed about 40 games in 43 years. “But that’s not a job,” he said.

He does want to work; he doesn’t want to bang on his drum all day.

In addition to the Tribe games, Adams has worked without pay at Cleveland State University for 38 years, co-teaching a graduate level course for teachers on physical education, specifically aquatics, for students with disabilities. He started that course after he’d worked as a swim instructor at Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland and assisted an arthritic man with water therapy.

Ideally, he’d like to play off of the teaching experience and find work as a trainer of some sort, whether in the corporate world or elsewhere. He’s got a broad base of skills from his AT&T career, too, from website development to setting up computer networks.

“I’ve done everything at the phone company but legal and medical,” he said.

The CSU grad also plans to pursue his master’s in education there, with a concentration in course development.

“I figure I can use that for a lot of things,” said Adams.

He jokes that he’d be happy to take a minimum wage job. Major League minimum. “That’s 600-K a year. One year of that, I’ll be all set. But I can’t hit or throw a curveball. So guess what? I belong where I belong.”

The guys who did belong on the field for the Tribe in 2016 did an incredible job, he said. He was proud to be a fan. And he has no doubt about this: “They did a great job and with only two starting pitchers! Incredible. If we had all our starters, we would have blown the Cubs away. Five games, and that’s it.”

Instead, he’ll be back at it next year, in the bleachers and, he hopes, at work.

There is one non-negotiable demand for any potential job, though. “I would say ‘no’ to second or third shift,” he said.

The reason should be obvious. The Tribe plays at night, and he’s got a drum to beat.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com