Category: Dailies

Round Up For Charity? Giddyup!

In my younger years, I always wanted to do stand up.  Not for a living, but just one quick gig. I was smart enough back then to know that I would eventually run out of funny, so it was one gig and done.  I even thought of ideas that I could put in my act. 

I thought it would be funny to talk about how my girlfriend at the time would pay for things.  If something was $14.76, she wouldn’t just pay with a $10 bill and a $5 bill–or even easier–a simple $20.  She would give the cashier a ten, four singles and sit there and count out 76 cents.  Digging through her purse, she would count as she put the change on the counter, “50, 60, 70, 71, 72, 73…Justin, do you have 3 pennies?” 

“No. I don’t.  I have a $20, use that.”

“I want to get rid of my change.  Oh, here we go!  74, 75 and 76 cents!”  She would say as she pulled out a second change purse.

Sometimes she would take it a step further and give the cashier a $10 bill, a $5 bill and a penny so she could get an even quarter back. It was an endless fight on how to correctly pay. I always wondered how she ever got all that change if she always paid the exact amount.  Nowadays, I just use a debit card and that’s the end of it. And nowadays, she is married and I’m not, so who was the real winner in that argument?

My story has two points.  The first is that I was a comic genius when I was a younger lad.  The second is that this story is a great lead in to talk about the Cleveland Indians “Round Up For Charity” program.

The idea is simple, you go to an Indians Team Shop and buy something.  Whatever the total amount of your purchase is, you are asked if you want to round up for charity.  Of course, being the good people you are, you agree.  The total purchase is then rounded up to the nearest dollar and that extra money goes to charity.  Example:  If your bill was the same as my old girlfriend’s bill of $14.76 and you agree to round up–your bill becomes $15.00 and the 24 cents you rounded up on goes to charity.  Fantastic, but what charity?

The four charities that will split the end of the year donation will be Cleveland Indians Charities, Flashes of Hope, The Gathering Place and Stewart’s Caring Place.  So the next time you go buy a Carlos Santana jersey, or a good old foam finger; try your best to make it an uneven bill so that you can “Round Up For Charity.”

A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

  I can’t say that nothing has been going on since my last entry, because we have been swamped with things going on.  To start, I recently returned from our Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Arizona.  I was there for about a week for our yearly signing day.  This is a day where our all of our front office autographed needs are fulfilled.  We have the players come in early before their workouts and have them sign.  And sign.  And sign.  All in all, we had about 4,000 items ranging from baseballs to photos, jerseys and bats get autographed and then authenticated.  All in a shade under 3 hours.  Not bad.

The majority of the items are used for our in-kind donation requests that come from local charities across the state of Ohio.  If you are having a fundraiser, feel free to submit by going to and clicking on the “community” tab.  While we try to respond favorably to all requests, there are some that we just can not fulfill based on our guidelines.

 What else has been going on?  Our Cleveland Indians KeyBank High Achievers Kids Club (yes, it is a mouthful, but totally worth it) just finished the 1st semester of submittals.  For those that don’t know, this is a free program for kids ages K-8th grade.  They have two opportunities to submit their grades, attendance and reading forms–once for the 1st semester and once for the 2nd semester.  They earn STARS based on maintaining A’s and B’s, getting perfect attendance, and reading 3 books per semester.  They can then redeem the STARS for prizes at the Team Shops (free game tickets, posters, chances to win meet-and-greets, etc.)  For more information on that, go to or shoot me a comment and I’ll get you more info.

This Wednesday, we’ll be taking our Indians in the Community program out to the Boys and Girls Club (Broadway Club), where we’ll be hanging out with the kids from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.  I’ll have more on that Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

That should cover everything that I wanted to cover.  Stay tuned later this week for more information!

These Colors Don’t Run

This past Friday, the Cleveland Indians Front Office volunteered at the USO care package facility down in North Canton.  There were about 11 of us that made the trek down 77 South and it was quite possibly the farthest Indians in the Community event we’ve ever done.  But you know what?  It was worth it. 

We arrived at the facility, which is a lot smaller than I had pictured, at about 10:00 and were welcomed with open arm(y). Get it? Open arms, but since it is the USO I put Army in there instead.  Moving on…

We got a quick background on the USO and all that they do for the soldiers–which this particular facility handles pretty much all of Northern Ohio.  An amazing distance considering how many soldiers there are from Ohio.  That should probably be a statistic I have handy for you, but you’ll learn it better if you look it up for yourself.

Once the background was over, we learned how to package things up.  They take those US Postal Service “Flat Rate Boxes” and fill them as much as they possibly can.  And just when you think you can’t fit anything else in there, they will find a little air pocket that you missed and make you fill it even more.  It was amazing how much you could get in there to make it way 10 pounds.  We put in DVD’s, CD’s, toothpaste, deoderant, soaps, contact solution, hand lotion and sanitizer, books, dryer sheets, anything you could think of that had to do with health and wellness.  Then, in other boxes, we crammed canned foods, jerky, cereal, candy, chips and a whole bunch of other food. 

All in all, we ended up filling up and packaging 137 care packages, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of record.  We also had Slider come and visit/help out/destroy the facility.  Plus, we got some face time on Fox 8 News and Newschannel 5. 

“Back in ’82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile.”

Alright, well I know my entry title is about football, but I think I could still tie it in to what the entry is about.  It will definitely be a stretch, so just go with it.

Tonight is the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s Cleveland Sports Awards.  This is a great evening where the Sports Commission recognizes local athletes for their great performances over the past year.  They range from high school to college to pro athletes.  Our very own Shin-Soo Choo is up for Pro Athlete of the Year.  He is up against the Browns’ Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs (see, there is one tie in to the entry title already!). 

Another nice thing that will occur tonight at the Sports Awards is the recognition of the 1995 and 1997 World Series teams.  Making appearances from those teams tonight will be Chad Ogea, Brian Anderson, Manager Mike Hargrove, recent Indians Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Lofton and soon-to-be 600 home run hitter (hopefully), Jim Thome!  These guys will get a special introduction, have some questions thrown their way and a special tribute video of those crazy World Series years. 

In case you were thinking about it, yes, that is my other tie in to the entry title.  Although, instead of “Back in ’82” it should be “Back in ’97” and instead of “I used to be able to throw a pigskin…,” we should probably change it to “Ogea used to be able to throw a fastball…”  Either way, I wanted the quote up there for the title, so it stays!

So hopefully we see some of you at the awards banquet.  It’s a great night and good to see the old ’90’s teams getting recognized again in the community!

Well I wear this net on my head, ’cause my red hair is fallin’ out…

Today was the first Indians in the Community event of 2011 and it went pretty well.  We started off small for the first event and had about 11 volunteers help out at St. Augustine Hunger Center in Cleveland.  The volunteers were members of the Cleveland Indians front office and their job was to prepare and serve lunch to the needy. 

Upon our arrival, we were told that we weren’t just going to assist preparing the food–but instead we were going to make it all ourselves!  The normal cook said she was going to “trust” us to prepare whatever we wanted.  She gave us about 15 tubes of ground beef (yes, they came in wrapped tubes) and a ton of sauce.  What else could we make, but some good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs.  We also added some potato soup, garlic bread and salad. 

Below is a picture so you can see that we actually were there with our hair nets on and everything! I now know what the Lunch Lady felt like in Adam Sandler’s song “Lunch Lady Land.” I didn’t hear any complaints on how the food tasted, so we must have done okay. 

The blog will take a small break before our next big Community Outreach adventure, but I may still post some Tribe-type things up here just to keep you all on your toes.

St. Augustine.jpg

I had to go East to go West…

Well after a couple of days without a blog update, I thought it would be about time.  I flew home from our Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Arizona on Sunday morning.  The flight had to take me from Phoenix to Philadelphia and then back to Cleveland.  I can’t figure out why they make you fly farther West to then go back East.  Anyway, here is a quick round up of the rest of how the Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp went:

B.A.T.S and Killer B’s made it to the championship game with B.A.T.S winning the trophy.  It was a very close game all the way, but they edged out a win.  After the championship game on Thursday night, the campers had all of Friday to hang out and relax until the final banquet Friday night.  We held a raffle, a silent and a live auction.  All were pretty successful and raised over $14,000 for Cleveland Indians Charities.  Add that to our total of a little over $5,000 from Kangaroo Kourt fines and we had a pretty successful week.  There will be many happy youth baseball teams that, I’m sure, will appreciate the money. 

Now that Fantasy Camp is over, we can look towards our first Indians in the Community event being held tomorrow at the St. Augustine Hunger Center.  We will have about 12 front office employees headed over there from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm preparing and serving lunch to the less fortunate.  It should be a good time and I’ll hopefully have a picture that I can post up here (as soon as I figure out how to post pictures).  Stay tuned…


“No, but they do…and they’re the ones that write it off.”

Getting to the point of this and the last blog titles, it should be repeated once more that all of the proceeds from Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp go straight to Cleveland Indians Charities.  I’m not just talking about the cost people pay to attend the camp (which campers could probably just write off–hence, the titles of the past two blogs). 

Each night we hold something called Kangaroo Kourt. And before you try to correct me, “Court” is spelled with a “K” for this word.  I can’t back that up, but every time I see it written on things down here it has a “K,” so we’ll stick with that.  Anyway, Kangaroo Kourt is a nightly occurence where we have a Judge (former player Gary Bell) and he fines different campers and Pros for stupid mistakes they had during the day.  There could be a $5.00 fine for someone who missed an easy pop-fly.  Or a $20.00 fine if you strikeout looking.  We even had a veteran camper who opted not to come to camp this year to instead go to Las Vegas and he was going to be fined $500.00 when he came back next year.  Oddly enough, he showed up to last night’s Kangaroo Kourt on his way in to Las Vegas, heard about the fine (even though it was more of a joke) and shelled out $500.00!

All of the fines go straight to Cleveland Indians Charities, so we like fining people.  Sitting in on the Kourts is one of the coolest things to see during camp–at least for me.  It amazes me how generous people are here.  The majority of the people donate more money than they are fined.  We had a guy that was fined $5.00 and he put in $30.  It is an awesome thing and for that, we thank the campers and the Pros (because they get fined just as much)!

Tonight is our last Kangaroo Kourt of the week because tomorrow starts the Pros vs. Campers game, the Playoffs and we have a little BBQ in the ballpark.  In case you are wondering, “Azcue’s Miscues” coached by Joe Azcue and Rick Waits are currently undefeated at 4-0 in their division (Heroes Division) and Mike Hargrove and Greg Swindell’s “Swindlers” are winning their division with a 3-1 record.

To my to readers of this blog, if you are interested in more information on Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp for next year call our Fan Service department at 216-420-HITS.   

“You don’t even know what a write-off is, do you?”

Day 2 of Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp is here.  Today’s high temperature is supposed to be 79 degrees.  The high temperature in Cleveland at Progressive Field, a sweltering 15 degrees and snow.

We’ll keep today’s entry short, only because I don’t have a lot of time today.

Last night at our “end of the night” meeting we paid a special tribute to Mr. Bob Feller.  A tribute video was shown following Bob’s life in the majors up until his last year at Fantasy Camp (January 2010).  All of the campers received special t-shirts for the occassion and a few other personal moments and tributes were shared.  I won’t discuss those, because those are the types of things that need to only be known to the campers and staff here.  It was a very nice night and I think Mr. Feller would have enjoyed it.  Actually, he probably would have been upset that all the commotion was for him when we could have been spending our time playing baseball.

As promised, I have the Pros’ names and the teams that they are managing for the week.  The games are going on as I type this.

Team #1:  The Big Saguaros are managed by “Super” Joe Charboneau and Rick Manning

Team #2: The Killer B’s are managed by Scott Bailes and Lenny Barker

Team #3: The Rhomburba’s are managed by Dave Burba and Kevin Rhomberg

Team #4: Azcue’s Miscues are managed by Joe Azcue and Rick Waits

Team #5: The Swindlers are managed by Mike “Grover” Hargrove and Greg “Zeke” Swindell

Team #6: The Rapid CD’s are managed by Dave Nelson and Chad Ogea

Team #7: B.A.T.S are managed by Brian Anderson and Pat Tabler

Team #8: Feller’s Fans are managed by Max Alvis and Cory Snyder

The Camp’s Overseers/Judges/Jokers are Gary Bell and Jim “Mudcat” Grant

So those are your Pros, ladies and gentlemen.  In addition to the former players being team managers, they will also play the campers at the end of the week in the Pros vs. Campers game.  I’ll try and get a picture or two of that catastrophe when I can!

Welcome To Fantasy Island…I mean Camp! Fantasy Camp.

We have begun day one of the Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp, where all proceeds go to Cleveland Indians Charities.  The campers arrived to the hotel (Renaissance Hotel in Glendale) late last night and had a quick welcome banquet.  They were greeted with warm welcomes from the Pros–which are Indians alumni.  It’s fun to watch how excited these grown men are to play baseball for a week.  Of course, it is even more fun on day two to watch how sore and slow moving they are because they realize how out of shape they are!

Throughout the week, I will be updating this blog and hopefully have some exciting stories to tell.  So far today, they arrived at the complex, found out where their lockers are (the campers use the visitor’s locker room) and have started some clinics.  This afternoon they will be playing two games so that the Pros can get a look at how they play.  The Pros will then hold a secret draft, picking players that they think could win a championship by the end of the week.  It gets pretty competitive!

While here, the campers will live as close to how real ballplayers live as possible.  When they are driven to the camp they will have all access to the visitor’s clubhouse and have the Cleveland Indian’s clubhouse staff take care of them…just like the big leagues.  Their uniforms will be washed everyday, they have breakfast and lunch prepared by our in house food service staff and can even have as many sunflower seeds as they can handle. 

Once the campers find out what team they are on later tonight, they all go out to dinner as a team with their coaches (the Pros).  After dinner, we’ll have a quick meeting and a bull session or two and then bed.  Tomorrow, I will have a break down of what Pros we have here and what teams they are coaching.  The “season” games start tomorrow morning right after player photos take place.  I’ll keep you all posted! 

This is every man’s FANTASY!

Look at this!  Two entries in a week(ish)!  I feel like I’m already on a roll.  

Starting up this Saturday in the Cleveland Indians Charities world of the Cleveland Indians is our annual Fantasy Camp.  The camp runs from January 13 (campers fly in to the Indians Spring Training Complex in Goodyear, AZ) and finishes up on Friday, January 21.  All proceeds raised from the camp go straight to Cleveland Indians Charities. 

Basically, what you get are a bunch of guys who live out their dreams (or fantasy, if you will) of being a major league ballplayer.  For the entire week, these guys are treated just like the pros and compete in games, practices, drills, workouts, etc., all of which are led by Cleveland Indians alumni.  If you have never witnessed this camp, it is quite entertaining.  Some games get pretty intense and you really want to get out there and play baseball after watching them go at it all day.  Plus, hanging out with former pros is pretty cool too.

Luckily, yours truly will get to travel down to Goodyear this year for Fantasy Camp (to work, not play) and I’m hoping to give some blog updates as the week goes on.  Until then, be sure to check out our community page on You’ll be able to see what fun things we have planned for 2011.