The Cleveland Indians announcing during this year’s Tribe Fest the unveiling date for the Jim Thome statue at Progressive Field sparked quite an emotionally charged conversation among fans. Saturday, August 2nd the Indians will honor the former Tribe slugger and reveal the statue. Judging by people’s responses online, the statue faces at least a few critics. This raises the question: “Jim Thome statue, brilliant or a shame?”
A core argument against the statue revolves around Jim Thome leaving Cleveland via free agency following the 2002 season. Strong reactions came from disgruntled fans in this article, Thome Humbled to be Getting a Statue. One person wrote “Embarrassing. A Jim Thome statue. A monument to the fact that no matter how great, beloved, well-paid, or publicly devoted to staying in Cleveland, nobody stays.”
Another reader stated “What a crock of do do. Thome took the money and ran. Thome played for Thome. There are far better Cleveland players that deserve a statue.”
In fairness, other Clevelanders demonstrate excitement over the statue. One fan tweeted, “I refuse to be anywhere but the Jake on August 2nd for the Jim Thome statue unveiling #ChildHoodHero @Indians.”
Are fans more pro-Thome or anti-Thome?
Thinking back to Jim Thome’s brief 2011 return to the Indians, I’m guessing most people hold a pro-Thome attitude. After all, once the team announced acquiring Thome, fans sold out the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. Waving placards that read “Welcome Thome,” Cleveland gave the Tribe’s all-time home run leader an incredible homecoming.
Personally I hope the response from two-and-a-half years ago symbolizes how most Clevelanders feel today towards good old number 25. Twelve years later, to those remaining upset over Jim Thome’s departure, I can only preach forgiveness. Harboring grudges equates to a shame, not building the statue.
Forgive and forget may be the order of the day.
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Zach is a native Clevelander and full-time writer. He is the author of the inspiring, Off Balanced, called "tremendous" and "a rare book" by critics.
Zach identifies writing as both "a career and his life's calling." To see more from Zach, check out his blog, Off Balanced, where he is "putting the 'cerebral' in cerebral palsy."