Today, January 16, I am celebrating my 5th year anniversary at the Cleveland Indians. Please…hold your applause. Normally I would have prepared a speech and had a little party after work, ask people to bring gifts and cash, and reflect back on the 5 years that have been. Unfortunately, I am not home in Cleveland around my favorite co-workers (you know who you are and who you aren’t). I am instead burdened with the task of going out to dinner and hanging out with Indians alums: Dave Burba, Mike Jackson, Brian Anderson, Chad Ogea, Len Barker and a few others. I’m stuck down in Arizona at the Cleveland Indians Spring Training Complex for the week instead of being able to enjoy the cold, snowy weather in Cleveland, Ohio. I have no choice but to get paid to entertain these former pro baseball players while they manage/entertain/teach campers all week for our Indians Fantasy Camp. Five years of working at the Indians and I’m
lucky unlucky enough to have to do this. Boy what I wouldn’t give to have a cool job.
I hope you picked up on the sarcasm because I was laying it on pretty thick. Are you kidding me? I love this! Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp is going on this week down in Goodyear, Arizona and so far it is a blast! The camp is open to anyone (male or female) ages 30 years old and up. You can be 85 and still participate if you are able to! People come from all over the country to take part in this camp and basically live the life of a major league ball player (minus the ginormous salary, of course). The campers get to stay at a 5-star hotel, have breakfast and lunch at the Indians complex, be drafted onto teams which are managed by former Indians players, play in a tournament style set of games and have a championship game in the main ballpark.
The most important part about this camp is that all of the money raised here goes to Cleveland Indians Charities (CIC). Every night there is always a Kangaroo Kourt, where our judge and former Indians pitcher, Gary Bell, will fine the campers for doing things incorrectly or just downright stupid. Any money raised from the fines also goes to Cleveland Indians Charities. You should actually want to get fined because you know your money is going to a good cause.
So that is where I’m at this week celebrating my 5 year anniversary at this ball club. I may post one or two more updates on the week for my die-hard fans out there–which I’m calling the Sherman Screwballs. I will at least keep you posted on who wins the championship and how much money we end up raising. As always, thanks to Dan Mendlik for the picture (and future pictures from this week).
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…
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.
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!
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!