A buddy of mine just celebrated his 30th birthday and one of the things he asked me for was an autographed baseball signed by his childhood hero, Albert Belle. Wow! How flattering that he put his hopes in me to grant him that birthday wish? The power that I had from that request was just overwhelming. To add to that, I just happened to be in Goodyear, Arizona the same day that Albert made his return to the Cleveland Indians (as an alumni, of course). If I could get Albert Belle, who has not had any communication with the Indians since he left in 1996, to sign a baseball for my friend–what a hero I would be! Just…wow! I would probably go down as the best friend of all time!
Didn’t happen though. Are you kidding me? I’m not doing that!
My job is to get autographed items to help grant charitable wishes, not the wish of a friend who has had 30 years to get the autograph himself. Is it my fault he never asked Albert to sign anything when he was one of the only 500 fans at the old Cleveland Stadium and players were signing anything that moved? I don’t need to be a hero, or your best friend. Here’s a baseball signed by me, Justin Sherman. Happy Birthday. (Please note: If you are interested in an autographed Albert Belle ball, we will have one to bid on at our Opening Day silent auction to benefit Cleveland Indians Charities on April 5. Section 153).
Speaking of autographs, I was recently down at the Indians Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Arizona coordinating our big “Signing Day.” During Signing Day, we have a little over 4,000 items (bats, balls, photos, jerseys, etc.) for the players to sign. The items signed will go to many different things over the course of the year depending on which front office department requested items, but the majority will go towards our donations to local charities/benefits as well as silent auction items for our own charity, Cleveland Indians Charities. Keeping with my amazing public speaking skills, I recorded a little something about Signing Day to give you a quick inside look at the process. As always, thank you to Dan Mendlik for taping and editing it together.
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!
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 www.indians.com 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 www.indians.com/highachievers 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!