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!
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!
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!
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!!