When I lived down in Winter Haven, Florida back in 2007 as the Indians Spring Training Marketing Coordinator, I had the chance to swing by Universal Studios with my girlfriend to enjoy some amusement park fun. We were standing in line for one of the rides, I believe the “Twister” ride–if you want to call it a ride, and there was a woman eating a giant chicken leg!
It was probably the funniest thing I had ever witnessed while people watching. She was just standing in line with the big drumstick, gnawing on it like a lion gnaws on a baby gazelle. Can you picture that? She didn’t care that the sauce from the giant drumstick was smeared all over her face because she was on vacation and she was enjoying herself. Standing next to her in line, I felt like my arteries were getting clogged! To me, that was a whole lot of chicken…
The Cleveland Indians recently partnered with Tyson Foods and Lift Up America for a food drive. Tyson Foods donated over 31,000 pounds of meat (mostly chicken) to help feed local food agencies. With help from The Cleveland Food Bank, 28 food agencies swung by Progressive Field and picked up their portion of meat. Prior to the pick up, a press conference was held on Gateway Plaza to announce the news. Volunteers from the Baldwin-Wallace football team, Cleveland Metro School District as well as Indians outfielder Trevor Crowe, Pitcher Josh Tomlin and 2nd baseman Cord Phelps were on hand to help load the trucks with food.
31,000 pounds…now THAT is a whole lot of chicken!
Part of my job here at the Cleveland Indians, nay, the majority of my job here is to coordinate different events that involve numerous volunteers. It is a very rewarding job because I know that at the end of the day, events that I have planned and coordinated, ended up helping someone or some non-profit organization. It’s also great because every one of my volunteers, whether they know it or not, don’t need to be paid! It’s free help! Anyone can work to get paid, but it takes a real man (and woman) to work for a hearty handshake and a warm smile…and free Indians tickets.
The Indians in partnership with Business Volunteers Unlimited continued the Indians Volunteer Challenge during the 2011 season. The Challenge is an opportunity for area families, citizens and baseball fans to give back to their communities and receive Tribe game tickets. To make life even more exciting (and to back up our reasoning for calling it a volunteer “challenge”), we thought we would reward the person with the most volunteer hours logged the opportunity to throw out a first pitch before an Indians home game.
We actually had two winners this year. Richard Schapel of Parma and Brian Dietrich of Avon each logged over 160 hours of community service and were named the Cleveland Indians Volunteers of the Year. They were honored during a pregame presentation last night and Richard Schapel threw out the ceremonial first pitch. I’m sure we’ll have the challenge next year, so keep an eye out on Indians.com for how to sign up!
To all of my avid followers, you’ll remember a while ago I wrote an entry called “Bic It, Masterson” (keep scrolling down through the entries and you’ll find it). I spoke of how Cleveland Indians Charities and the Wives Association held an auction where the players’ wives/girlfriends donated something of their husband/boyfriend that was a little different from normal auction items. Chris Perez and his wife donated a 30 minute pitching lesson, the LaPorta’s donated a breakfast at a restaurant with them and the Masterson’s offered up the opportunity to have Justin Masterson shave someone’s head!
Getting to know Justin a little bit more this year, I’ve come to understand how perfect this auction item fits him. The guy loves people’s heads! He’ll just go up to them during meet and greets and rub their head. There was one kid at an event who had a nice afro and Justin–while holding his baby daughter–walked up to the kid and had his daughter poke and rub the hair. The rest of the day, as soon as she would get close to the hair she would reach for it and want to play with it. For a guy who shaves his head, he definitely loves playing with hair.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t even his idea to have this as the auction item. The idea came from his wife, Meryl, asking Facebook fans what the item should be and the head shaving idea won…leading to the main purpose behind today’s blog. Our winner, after a few months of waiting, was finally ready to have his head shaved.
The shaving took place in the Indians dugout prior to the team taking batting practice. Justin was ready with clippers, towels, shaving cream and a few razors. He took his time and enjoyed it making sure it was a nice, smooth shave. Although we were all waiting for it, no skin was cut during the shave. Justin cleaned off the freshly shaved scalp with water, put on some aftershave and stood back to smile at his work.