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!
I was only about a day old when I got my first blanket. I know for a fact that I was a beautiful baby right from the beginning and wanted to show off my body, but my parents thought it’d be best to cover me up. I’m guessing it was because I was born in late December and they didn’t want me to catch a cold. Either way, I still have that blanket to this day and it is one of my favorites. Obviously, I never use it because it’s only big enough to cover up my feet, but I hold on to it for sentimental value. To others, that blanket may have been just a piece of fabric, but to me it was so much more than that. It offered me comfort, warmth, security and confidence (when I used it as a Superman cape).
The Cleveland Indians decided it was time to blanket the community (pun) with their generosity and make a few blankets of their own. With help from Jo-Ann Fabrics who graciously donated the special Chief Wahoo designed fabric, 18 front office employees got together and began to show off their sewing skills. Luckily, there was no sewing involved with these as they are the types of blankets where you just cut the fabric and then knot the ends together. In a period of 4 hours, about 68 blankets were measured, cut and knotted together.
The blankets will be donated to Providence House so that local kids will be able to enjoy the same comfort, warmth and security that we all did when we were younger (and still do today)! And they may even help create a new Superman here and there!
Providence House is Ohio’s first licensed crisis nursery, offering free, voluntary (non-custodial) placements for emergency shelter to children newborn through six years old, actively living in crisis situations which place them at risk of abuse or neglect (www.provhouse.org).
I was taught how to throw a baseball by the great Jason Ream. Jason Ream, as you all know, was a pitcher and he taught me the basics of how to throw a four and a two seam fastball. He also tried to teach me how to throw a knuckleball, but the end result just has me throwing the ball about 2 feet before it hit the ground. Truth be told, I don’t think Jason even knew how to throw a knuckleball–I’m sorry, I was just informed by my editor that no one will know who this Jason Ream fellow is. For those that don’t know, Jason is one of my best friends and we grew up together out in Burton. He now works in Chicago for a bank and has never played professional baseball. He just happened to be a pitcher on a little league team. I’m sorry for any confusion, I just really wanted to tell you all who taught me how to pitch because it’s a great memory.
At the Cleveland Indians, we are big on creating memories. I bet if you ask J.T. Taylor who taught him how to pitch he would probably tell you his dad and his baseball coach (obviously). But if you asked him who else taught him, he would say Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez. J.T. won a pitching lesson with Chris Perez through the Cleveland Indians Wives Association charity auction. Player’s wives donate unique items to the auction to raise money for Cleveland Indians Charities and Providence House.*
J.T. was “psyched to see Chris…and have a lesson by him.” Perez spent about 30 minutes going over different pitches, but in the end, all J.T. really wanted to learn was how to throw the curveball. When asked what his best tip he learned was, he simply replied, “The curveball. I’ve never learned how throw a curveball.”
Of course, Perez knows that everyone wants to learn the curveball. This is the 2nd year he has given a pitching lesson and both kids immediately asked him to teach them the curve. He is quick to point out (and he proves it every time he is out there on the field) “it all revolves around the fastball. Hopefully he takes some of the stuff I taught him and goes out and helps himself become a better pitcher.”
*Providence House was founded in 1981 by Sr. Hope Greener, CSJ, as Ohio’s first licensed crisis nursery, offering free, voluntary (non-custodial) placements for emergency shelter to children newborn through six years old, actively living in crisis situations which place them at risk of abuse or neglect. For more information visit www.provhouse.org
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!