There are usually some pretty good stories that come out of Fantasy Camp week. Sometimes they are stories shared by the former players about their old teammates and the crazy stuff they would do. Sometimes they are stories told by veteran campers about past camps they’ve attended both here in Goodyear and even those camps that took place in Winter Haven. I’ve had the opportunity to witness these stories as they are happening–before they become actual stories–and I’ve probably helped spread them around, turning them more into fish tales instead of factual events.
This year hasn’t been any different. In fact, one particular story stands out to me this week. It all began when one of the campers, Dennis Barriball, tried to catch a pop fly during a game on the second day of the tournament. In what appears to be a random freak accident, as Dennis was catching the ball his achilles decided it didn’t want to stay intact anymore. Dennis fell like a shanty in a snowstorm and, after being checked out by our trainers, was diagnosed with a blown out achilles.
For most people, this would be the end of Fantasy Camp. The inability to walk makes it tough to play any baseball games. Dennis thought differently and decided the next day that he could at least bat for his team (in Fantasy Camp they allow pinch runners to start at homeplate and run to first as soon as the ball is hit).
Rumors of his
stupidity heroics made it to the major league side of the complex where Cleveland Indians pitcher Vinnie Pestano tweeted about it. Here at the Indians, we like to Connect our fans to the players so we asked Vinnie if he cared to meet Dennis. Without hesitation, Vinnie said he would love to and the rest is history.
Many other great stories happened this week, but this was the one that sticks out the most. An average guy comes to Arizona to live out his fantasy of playing baseball just like the pros. He gets to be managed and taught by former players that he grew up idolizing. He gets to use the same facilities that the current Tribe players use and if this isn’t enough, he not only ends up catching the attention of pro ball players, but he gets to meet them too! If that isn’t Creating memories and Connecting generations, I don’t know what is!
Thank you to Vinnie for being a stand up guy and to Dennis Barriball for, well, just being a guy who can stand up on a blown achillies!
Not quite sure what the title of this entry means? Well then you aren’t on Twitter and you definitely don’t follow any of the Indians players. A couple hundred Indians fans were #LouMar’d on Sunday and probably didn’t even realize it as it was happening and that’s just the way Lou Marson likes it.
The autograph session was for any fan who donated a glove for the Cleveland Indians and KeyBank Glove Drive that ran throughout the season. The concept was simple, you donated a glove and received a free ticket to the August 28th game, as well as a pass into the autograph session. Matt LaPorta, Carlos Santana and Vinnie Pestano were also on hand signing for fans. As always, thanks goes out to these 4 guys for making sure every fan got an autograph…and #LouMar’d.
The season long (almost) glove drive brought in over 800 gloves which will be donated to the Cleveland Baseball Federation–helping kids play the game of baseball. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund was also on hand at the game and presented Cleveland Baseball Federation a check for $5,000 in honor of Justin Masterson for all of the work he does in the community and for his efforts during the glove drive.
…was a terrible movie. Yes, I’ll admit that I watched it but that doesn’t change the fact of how bad it was. It may be because I am not a shopaholic and don’t understand what they go through so I may have missed half the jokes. I am also not one to confess to anything, but that is a whole different story.
Whether you are a shopper or not, you should enjoy knowing that a couple of Cleveland Indians players decided to get in touch with their inner fashionista and participate in the annual Shop With A Pro event that we put on. Some of the players had a little (okay, a lot) of help from their wives, while the others mixed and matched styles up on their own. Joe Smith, Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestano flew solo and Justin Masterson, Chad Durbin and Matt LaPorta made it more of a family affair.
The event took place at Macy’s over at Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted. Macy’s provided 30 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland with $100 gift cards so that they could buy back to school clothes. Levi’s also provided gift bags filled with school supplies for each kid. Thanks to all the players and their wives, Macy’s, and Levi’s for all the help in putting this great event together and making a positive impact on our community!
Last night, I watched the 2001 hit movie, “Rock Star” which stars Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston. If you’ve never watched it (or heard of it), I recommend it. The movie itself is very cheesy, but it is entertaining nonetheless. The general plot of the movie is a normal guy who is the lead singer of a tribute band becomes lead singer of the real band he idolizes.
One of the best lines of the movie comes when Wahlberg takes the stage for the first time and says to the crowd, “You know, I’m just a regular guy who grew up with the posters of these guys on my wall… and now I’m one of them! That’s right, I’m standing here, living proof that if you work hard enough, and you want it bad enough… dreams do come true. So follow your dreams…” (Okay, that may not have been the best line, but for the purpose of a heart-warming blog entry it was).
This particular quote reminded me of what I experienced earlier yesterday when I took Cleveland Indians relief pitcher,
Vinnie Pestano, to Roxboro Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. Vinnie was nice enough to stop by the school and talk to the kids (grades 2-5) about anything and everything. He talked to them about how he got to where he is today, the importance of a good education, and even covered a little bit about how to deal with bullying in school.
When you talk to Vinnie, he is just a regular guy who loves to play baseball. Growing up, he probably had posters of his favorite players on his bedroom walls and dreamed of being in the big leagues and now he is here–playing for a major league baseball team.
To those kids he was talking to he was their living proof that if you work hard enough, and want it bad enough…dreams do come true. Then again, they may not have been paying attention to him at all and his whole speech could have gone in one ear and out the other. I can’t say for sure, but thank you to Vinnie for being there anyway!
They say that newspapers are a dying breed. I don’t know who “they” are, but they are probably the people who are no longer subscribing to newspapers. When I asked the morning newspaper what it’s thoughts were on this, it just sat there on my doorstep without a response. We’ll just mark that down as a “no comment.”
Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians and The Plain Dealer partnered together to put on the annual Tribe Reporter for a Day event here at Progressive Field. This event has been an annual thing since Chris Perez last had short hair. The purpose of Tribe Reporter for a Day is to give high school students the chance to be, well, to be a reporter for the Tribe for a day. We are very creative with our event names.
High School students were asked to submit essays to The Plain Dealer telling why they are interested in sports writing and how taking part in this event would further their future career plans. Out of about 200 essays, the top 25 were chosen and those kids were brought to Progressive Field on May 10, 2011. The day began with them sitting in on an actual press conference with Manny Acta and the local media. After the press conference, Plain Dealer sports writer, Paul Hoynes, spoke with the young reporters. He gave them some insight on his world as well as some tips on how to make it in the business. After a few questions/answers, they were taken to the stands to watch the Indians take some batting practice. During this time, they were looking through their media guides and getting some notes/questions together for their own press conference with some of the players.
Shortly after batting practice, the reporters were brought to the Press Interview Room under the ballpark where they had the opportunity to interview Chris Perez, Adam Everett and Vinnie Pestano. The players seemed to enjoy the questions, which I should add were pretty intense questions at times. The session ended with a group photo and will be followed by stories from each reporter of their experience during the event.
Special thanks to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chris Perez, Adam Everett, and Vinnie Pestano for making this another successful event.
I don’t really know too many kids that would turn down a chance to get a professional baseball player’s autograph, especially when it is free. I guess I really don’t know too many kids at this point in my life, but reflecting back to when I was younger I know I would have jumped at the idea.
If you are one of those types of kids…or if you are the parent of one of those types of kids, then swinging on down to the Cleveland Indians KeyBank Kids Fun Days on Sunday home games is where you ought to be.
The Kids Fun Days take place on select Sunday home games throughout the season. They are held just outside of Progressive Field in the Gateway Plaza and begin at 10:30am lasting through the 5th inning of the game. Activities include a batting cage, pitching cage, gaming tent to play Playstation 3, photo booth and more!
One of the best things about Kids Fun Days is that, if you are a High Achiever Kids Club member (see my blog entry from a couple of days ago on information for that), you can sign in at the High Achiever tent and earn a pass to attend Signature Sunday. Each Kids Fun Day, we give out 200 passes to be able to go down under Progressive Field and get autographs from two Indians players. This past weekend (and in the above picture courtesy of me), we had Vinnie Pestano and Jack Hannahan signing for the kids. The guys love doing it and the kids/parents love it even more.
So be sure to register for High Achievers and come to our next Kids Fun Day so that you can participate in our next Signature Sunday on May 15, 2011. See you there!