Results tagged ‘ Justin Masterson ’

The Seven Year Itch

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I go bowling maybe twice a year. That stretches to three times if I’m looking for a cheap way to take my wife out on a date. In other words, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a pro. I mean, I’ve had my fair share of strikes (I once started out a game with 5 in a row), but those are just fleeting moments here and there. What I can call myself is a competitive person. I’m not a fan of losing. I actually can’t wait to have kids so that I can destroy them in sports–teaching them the valuable lesson of not always being able to win, of course. To lose in a bowling competition seven years in a row was more frustrating than trying to get a cow to walk down steps (they won’t do it, by the way).

The Cleveland Indians and The Cleveland Browns have been competing in a charity event called “Bowl for Kid’s Sake” for the past eleven years. The event raises money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, while at the same time, allows both front offices to show off their bowling skills. For the past seven years, the Browns have beaten us. And for the past seven years, they have had bragging rights over us. That all stopped on May 2, 2013 when the Cleveland Indians put together the beast of all teams and beat the Browns by almost 7,000 pins to capture the championship! Helping us to that victory were Indians players Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Yan Gomes, Bryan Shaw and Indians wives, Meryl Masterson, Jenny Gomes, Kristen Shaw, Kathleen Reynolds, Amanda Kluber, Melanie Perez, and Meredith Chisenhall (Lonnie stayed home to watch the kids).

Now, of course, the real winners involved here are the kids. Over $10,000 was raised at the event to support Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. (www.bbbs.org/cleveland)

As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 9 through 18, in communities across the country (www.bbbs.org/cleveland).

I was able to catch up to one of the front office employees at the Indians, Matt Gay, who is actually a “Big” in his spare time. He was nice enough to take part in my new blog segment that I’m calling “The 3 Main Questions.”

1.) How long have you been a Big Brother?
I officially have been a “Big” here in Cleveland since December of 2012, a process that started in June of last year, as the Big Brothers Big Sisters program does a great job of making sure that each Big/Little match is the right fit. Some matches take a little bit longer than others to set up.

2.) What made you want to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters?
I had attended a Summer Day Camp growing up, and had the opportunity to work as a Counselor for several years at the same camp that I attended since the age of 9 in Connecticut. I worked there in different capacities from the age of 15-20, which really showed me the joys of working with children and being able to make an impact in their lives. While I attended Syracuse University I was a part of their Big Brothers Big Sisters program for three years (Sophomore-Senior). This was essentially a weekly after-school program at a local Middle School where I would go with fellow students and we would help our Littles with their homework, do arts and crafts and run around outside. I always say that I am still just a big kid so it makes it easier to just have fun and connect.

3.) You work for the Cleveland Indians. What does it mean to you knowing that they support Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Knowing that the Cleveland Indians support Big Brothers Big Sisters, just gives me another reason to take pride in sporting the Block C or Chief Wahoo, because I work for a company that continually gives back to the community and understands the importance of serving others.

Long story short, our bowling championship drought is finally over. All it took was a little hard work and patience. Throughout these seven years, I’ve fallen back on the same quote over and over to get me through the hard losses: “With patience and saliva, the ant will eventually eat the elephant.” I don’t know who said it, but it really is a powerful quote. I’m not saying that we are going to start winning every year, because that isn’t a safe bet. I am saying that we will continue to win with our off the field efforts and supporting great organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters. And that is all I really need (since I now have my victory over the Browns)!

“The House That Built Me”

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I had an amazing blog entry written today, but I just erased it all. Why? Because I tried to get too wordy and too “deep” and that just caused the blog to seem fake. It might have won me a Pulitzer, but it didn’t fit my normal writing mood. I know if my mood changes, then my fans and followers would get upset and I would be stuck writing a blog that no one ever looks at anymore. I did keep the title of my blog entry the same, just so you can see how poetic I was probably going to get had I kept the original text. To be honest, I have no story or historic event in my life that could even relate to our recent Indians in the Community event held at Providence House. To try to create one just for point of reference would simply be an injustice to what the great people at Providence House stand for.

And with that…

The Cleveland Indians continued their April Indians in the Community program by volunteering at Providence House in Cleveland. Providence House is an organization that fights to end child abuse and neglect by protecting at-risk families, empowering families in crisis and building safe communities for every child. Located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Providence House serves kids ranging from infants to 10 years old. Their hope is that children everywhere are raised in safe, loving families free from abuse and neglect. Since the creation of Providence House 31 years ago, they have become more than an emergency shelter for children; including case management and supportive services for both the children and their families.

The Indians front office volunteers included staff from varioius departments as well as Meryl Masterson (wife of Indians pitcher Justin Masterson), Jenna Gomes and her husband Yan Gomes (Indians catcher). We started off our morning touring the facility. From there, we were split into two groups. One group assembled intake bags, which are kitted items that each child receives upon arrival at Providence House and takes home when he or she leaves (toothbrush, 5+sets of clothes, shoes, etc.). The other group was able to play with the kids who are staying at Providence House on their new playground at the newly remodeled and expanded House.

The volunteer event took place just days after Indians 1B Nick Swisher and his wife Joanna generously donated $75,000 to Providence House during the pre-game ceremonies of Opening Day. The Swishers, known for their charitable efforts and contributions, have clearly brought their philanthropic ways here to Cleveland with them and for that, we thank them.

If you’d like to learn more about Providence House or would like to volunteer, visit http://www.provhouse.org. Thank you again to all who helped out and to the players and their wives for spending time volunteering on one of their few, precious off days!

Grape Sno-Cone

I played little league baseball from pre-Kindergarten up until 6th grade.  I say pre-Kindergarten because my brother started tee ball in Kindergarten, and because I wanted to do everything he did, the coaches let me start a year early.  I was on the Claridon Eagles and then moved up to the Claridon Cardinals playing 2nd base and right field.  Was I good?  Let’s just say I made a wise choice running track and cross-country when I got into 7th grade.  But that’s neither here nor there.

When I played ball we had the best fields money could buy.  Unfortunately, there was no money, so we mostly played on fields where the dirt had some random grass patches making it a tiny obstacle course if you hit anything more than a single.  Our coaches were fathers of other players on the team who were gracious enough to donate their time for a season.  If we won a game, we headed up to the local Huntsburg Dari Whip for a Sno-Cone, which the coaches paid for.  Even if we lost a game, we would still get a Sno-Cone so it was win-win.  The comedian, Brian Regan, put it perfectly when he said he played just for the grape Sno-Cone, because win or lose, he got his favorite Sno-Cone, which was grape…but sometimes he went with his equally favorite, cherry.  Needless to say, we didn’t have much back then except baseball and the old Dari-Whip.

I would suspect that’s how most little league teams have it. You rough it and you enjoy every minute of it and all the while, you dream of making it to the big leagues one day.  Sometimes you get so lucky that you and your team get to come to a Cleveland Indians game and even better…get to watch the Indians take batting practice.  Thanks to Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Indians, one team got to do just that! 

Members of the Monarchs youth baseball team were set up with tickets and an Indians batting practice viewing the other day.  Unfortunately, batting practice was cancelled, but that didn’t stop Indians pitchers from putting on a show for the Monarchs.  Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, Tony Sipp and Joe Smith swung over to meet the team and, without warning, told all the kids to get on the field and start sprinting across the outfield.  The kids, with excited and shocked looks on their faces, did as they were toldand the Indians pitchers sprinted across the field with them

Once warmed up, Masterson had the kids line up by the batter’s box and pretend to swing a bat at one of his ghost pitches.  Each kid got a swing in and then were told to run the bases right after.  I’m going out on a limb here and saying that our grounds crew wasn’t too excited to have to re-rake the field, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that no one could argue against!

Masterson, Smith, Tomlin and Sipp got the team together for a group photo and then invited them into the dugout for a couple of autographs.  It was a spur of the moment activity that will stay with these kids forever.  Now when they go back to their own sandlots, out playing in right field and their mind starts to wander, the vision of one day becoming a major league baseball player will be a little more clear to them.  Although, I’m sure the thought of a grape Sno-Cone will still be at the top of their mind!

A cornucopia of catching up…

You know how when you were growing up and the cool thing to do was to have a fern?  Remember begging your mom and dad to buy you one and when they finally caved in and did it, you got too busy with other stuff and ignored the fern until it began to wilt?  And then once you noticed the fern was starting to wilt, you just gave it a bunch of plant food and doused it with water to catch up for what you missed when you were too busy.  What I’m getting at is that this blog has been my childhood fern.  I got crazy busy in April and the first part of May and am now giving it a bunch of information to catch people up on what we are doing. 

So what have we been up to since the last post?  Here is a quick recap:

UMPS CARE Charities–a couple of times a year, the Cleveland Indians team up with Major League Baseball and its umpires to bring in a select group of kids that get to meet the umpires prior to a game.  The kids can ask the umpires questions, get their autographs and take a few pictures while down on the warning track behind homeplate. 

 

 

The Dream Foundation–On Sunday, May 6, the Cleveland Indians partnered with The Dream Foundation to make a dream come true for one patient.  The Dream Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their families
who are battling life-threatening illness.  Indians’ pitcher Justin Masterson stopped by to talk to the family and offer some words of support and Indians outfield Shin-Soo Choo also stopped by to take some photos and signed and gave the family the bat he used for batting practice that day.

Tribe Reporter for a Day–The Cleveland Indians and The Plain Dealer partnered once again for their annual Tribe Reporter for a Day event on May 9.  The event allows 25 local, aspiring, high school journalists to come down to Progressive Field and experience a ‘day in the life of a sports reporter.’  The young journalists started their afternoon by visiting the Indians Social Suite and talking with the Assistant Director of Communications for the Cleveland Indians, then made their way down to the Press Interview Room to sit in on Manny Acta’s press conference.  After the conference, Manny hung around to let the students ask him a few questions. 

From here, they spoke with The Plain Dealer’s sports writer Paul Hoynes who gave them valuable tips and words of wisdom in regards to sports writing.  The event was capped with the reporters’ very own press conference with Indians pitchers Chris Perez, Nick Hagadone and Josh Tomlin.  The journalists even had an assignment given to them with a deadline!  They had to write about their experience and submit it to The Plain Dealer by the very next day!

All in all, it has been a productive April and early May.  We’ve got our Cleveland Indians Charities Friday night auction coming up on May 18, followed by our Wives Association’s Tribe Treasure auction on May 19.  Gotta keep my fern alive, so more posts to come in the near future!

Those who can, do. Those who can do at the All-Star level, teach!

Chris Perez always says, “you can never throw too many curveballs.”  For the sake of argument (or me getting sued for libel) I can’t officially say Chris Perez ever said those words.  I don’t even know why he would say that.  In all honesty, I made up that whole quote and the fact that he said it.  I’m sorry Chris Perez.  I was just trying to write a blog entry and needed a lead-in for it.  This was all I could come up with.  It’s been almost a month since my last blog entry and I panicked.  It’s been 11 years since my last confession, too, but I won’t get into that train wreck (long story short: I’m not even Catholic so there was no reason for me to be in a confessional at the time).

Back to the story at hand…

Chris Perez, an All-Star closer, gave a pitching lesson to a lucky fan who won the lesson from a silent auction.  The auction was part of the annual Indians Wives Association’s Tribe Treasures auction held here at Progressive Field during the season.  The well-informed lot of you who always read my blog will remember the Wives auction as the same place the Justin Masterson head shaving item was sold at.  Chris Perez’s wife auctioned off the opportunity to have Chris teach a 30 minute pitching lesson!

The money raised went to charity (split between Cleveland Indians Charities, Beech Brook and Providence House) and, while I normally try to post pictures, I’m going to attempt to throw a video link up here.   The video was created by our team photographer, Dan Mendlik, and has Chris Perez talking about trying to teach the winner how to throw a curveball (the reasoning behind the first quote of this entry…it’s not funny if I have to explain all of my jokes).  Enjoy! 

Chris Perez Pitching Lesson

 

 

Sweeny Masterson: The Demon Barber of the Dugout

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.

You’ve Just Been #LouMar’d!!

Not quite sure what the title of this entry means?  Well then you  aren’t on Twitter and you definitely don’t follow any of the Indians players.  A couple hundred Indians fans were #LouMar’d on Sunday and probably didn’t even realize it as it was happening and that’s  just the way Lou Marson likes it. 

Where did this happen, you ask?  At a post game autograph session. 

The autograph session was for any fan who donated a glove for the Cleveland Indians and KeyBank Glove Drive that ran throughout the season.  The concept was simple, you donated a glove and received a free ticket to the August 28th game, as well as a pass into the autograph session.  Matt LaPorta, Carlos Santana and Vinnie Pestano were also on hand signing for fans.  As always, thanks goes out to these 4 guys for making sure every fan got an autograph…and #LouMar’d.

The season long (almost) glove drive brought in over 800 gloves which will be donated to the Cleveland Baseball Federation–helping kids play the game of baseball.  The Baseball Tomorrow Fund was also on hand at the game and presented Cleveland Baseball Federation a check for $5,000 in honor of Justin Masterson for all of the work he does in the community and for his efforts during the glove drive.

Confessions of a Shopaholic…

…was a terrible movie.  Yes, I’ll admit that I watched it but that doesn’t change the fact of how bad it was.  It may be because I am not a shopaholic and don’t understand what they go through so I may have missed half the jokes.  I am also not one to confess to anything, but that is a whole different story.

Whether you are a shopper or not, you should enjoy knowing that a couple of Cleveland Indians players decided to get in touch with their inner fashionista and participate in the annual Shop With A Pro event that we put on.  Some of the players had a little (okay, a lot) of help from their wives, while the others mixed and matched styles up on their own.  Joe Smith, Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestano flew solo and Justin Masterson, Chad Durbin and Matt LaPorta made it more of a family affair.

Matt LaPorta helps bag at Shop with a Pro. Photo courtesy of Dan Mendlik

The event took place at Macy’s over at Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted.  Macy’s provided 30 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland with $100 gift cards so that they could buy back to school clothes.  Levi’s also provided gift bags filled with school supplies for each kid.  Thanks to all the players and their wives, Macy’s, and Levi’s for all the help in putting this great event together and making a positive impact on our community!

Bic It, Masterson!

Back in my days as a Berkshire Badger (high school and mascot) cross-country runner, my team used to do some crazy stuff with our hair.  Partially to psyche out the competition, partially because we were ranked 2nd in the state, a little because we had nothing better to do, but mostly because we looked freakin’ sweet when we did it.  We had anything from mohawks one year, to long hair the next and even shaving our heads for our conference championship (which we won).  When I say we shaved our heads…we shaved them down to the skin.  Bic it, is what we called it, because we would use a Bic razor to get that nice, close shave.  If I ever find a picture of us, I’ll post it up here–but don’t hold your breath.

As with all of my blog entries, the opening paragraph eventually leads into what I need to promote for Indians in the Community.  This entry is no different. 

This Friday night, while the Indians are taking on their inter-state/league rival Cincinnati Reds, our Indians Wives Association will be hosting what we call the “Tribe Treasures” silent auction.  All of the players’ wives come up with fun things of their husbands that they can auction off that the general public wouldn’t normally be able to ever buy.  Some of the items include: 

  • a Josh Tomlin game used glove (autographed)
  •  a pair of game used cleats and batting gloves (autographed) from Jack Hannahan
  • Breakfast with Matt LaPorta and his wife
  • A half-hour pitching lesson from Chris Perez
  • Meet and greet with Travis Hafner

Probably the coolest and most unusual thing (in my opinion) comes from Justin Masterson’s wife.  She is auctioning off the opportunity to have Justin Masterson shave your head in the home dugout before a game.  I’m expecting him to Bic it. 

If you aren’t into having your head shaved by a professional baseball player, and don’t enjoy breakfast with two strangers, or wearing some other guy’s cleats…there are still other great items to bid on.  Or you can take your chances on the Mystery Ball fundraiser.  For $40, you can reach in and get a wrapped up baseball autographed by one of the players on the Indians team.  You won’t know what you are getting until you pay for it and open it up (hence the “mystery”).  All monies raised will go to charity.

The auction will begin at 5:30 and will in section 153 up until the 7th inning.  So make your way down there and put some bids on these wicked cool items.  If you don’t want to bid, you can always just chat it up with the wives!  See you there and GO TRIBE!!

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