Mike Chernoff and the Meaning of Playing Catch

The tradition of playing catch is one that dates back to many years ago. After all, it was likely that tradition that sparked the idea behind the game of baseball. Children would play catch with one another in the street, at a local park, or virtually anywhere they had room to do it. Furthermore, children and their parents might even be found playing catch at any one of those locales.

However, for Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff, the meaning of playing catch is totally different. You see, Chernoff started a long-standing tradition of playing catch with his father over 30 years ago. Zack Meisel who covers the Cleveland Indians for The Athletic wrote all about it here.

For Mike Chernoff and his father, setting aside time every month to play catch is critical. In the piece, Meisel includes a quote from Chernoff to describe how impactful these catching sessions are. “It’s just casual conversation and it’s the best time ever with my dad,” Mike said. “We talk about everything or we talk about nothing.”

Long-Standing Tradition in the Chernoff Family

Just like catching has a long-standing history, so does the tradition between Mike and his father.

The article goes onto state, “Their streak dates back to 1987 when a 6-year-old Mike agreed to his dad’s proposal to commit to at least one casual game of catch per month, even during the snowy and sun-deprived New Jersey winters.”

Furthermore, like the United States Postal Service (USPS) it doesn’t matter what type of weather it might be like outside. Mike Chernoff and his father will play catcher in any sort of element.

“If they didn’t play catch on their street, they would head to a local field. In the winter, they cleared snow off the basketball court or they used the baseball diamond, even though the frozen infield was as hard as concrete.”

In addition, Meisel adds “They have played catch in sunshine, in rain, during the depths of winter and in a parking alcove for mail trucks behind Grand Central Station in Manhattan before dawn in several feet of snow with one of them battling a stomach virus and with temperatures struggling to escape single digits.”

Background on Mike and Mark Chernoff

Mike Chernoff originally started working for the Cleveland Indians front office as an intern in 2003. At the time, he was a young professional looking to get his start in the industry. As a graduate of Princeton University, Chernoff has used his education to grow into his current role as General Manager – a role that he has been in for five years now.

Recently, it was reported that Chernoff was one of the candidates interviewing with the New York Mets. However, that report was later debunked by new Mets owner Steve Cohen on Twitter. Therefore, it cannot be concluded whether Chernoff wasn’t on the list of candidates or if he ultimately turned down an offer to interview to stay with the Indians.

Mike Chernoff has become a well-respected executive in the baseball industry. His father Mark Chernoff has built up the same legacy in radio. Mark is the man in charge at WFAN a local radio station in New York. He has held the role of Program Director at the station since 1993.

Throughout his career, Mark has helped to shape the brand of the station which has employed well-regarded radio personalities including Mike Francesca, Christopher Russo, and the late great Don Imus. To read more about Mark, click here for a transcript of a recent interview from this past February.

Final Thoughts

Playing catch is a memory that many children have well into their adulthood from their childhood years. However, sometimes those memories engrain the love of baseball into someone and that’s exactly what has happened for Mike Chernoff. The bond that he and his father Mark have established over the years is unbreakable.

Going back to the piece by Zack Meisel of The Athletic, the quote that sums that up the best is the one at the very end. “That half-hour of time is worth an entire day of travel,” Mike said, “if that’s what it takes.”

No matter the distance, the amount of travel, or what type of weather, nothing stops Mike and Mark Chernoff from having a monthly catching session.

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