Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fan Appreciation Day...

...Was awesome! This is the third year in the row that I've gone to the last home game of the year and it seems to get better every year.

The deal was that players would be greeting fans at the gates from 11:30-12, so my friend and I left the 'burbs around 10:30 to get there on time. We left extra early because there was a Browns game downtown too and it was a good call on her part because we did hit traffic.

We got there with time to spare so we were able to mill around the Kids Fun Days area in the plaza. Not sure what this is all about as I don't have a kid (but my friend does so believe me we'll be back) but they were giving out all sorts of free stuff to kids and adults. We got nice canvas bags and an Indians scarf, plus we got to create a Christmas card to be sent to troops. We also could have gotten a foam visor and made a keychain but...meh.

There were extremely large snakes being shown off, just slithering down the alley. That was cool. My friend disagreed.

So around 11:40 they had the players come out and let the fans through the gate. Our gate featured Zach Putnam (actually it was "Who Was That?" until I just now looked it up), Justin Masterson and Jim Thome. This group did not include Perez, Shelley or Asdrubal so we ran through to another gate where we found Perez, Grady and Sipp. I wanted to take a picture of myself with Perez but I heard an usher tell someone no pictures with adults so, fair enough. They also said no autographs. The guys were handing out short packs of baseball cards. I got this picture:
I got another picture but my phone screwed it up. But anyway, Chris Perez did shake my hand. He's got some big paws! I've got big paws myself so it's nice to see that our closer dominates me in the hand area.

Then we ran over to the third gate where Ubaldo was having a great time having his photo taken with fans. If Asdrubal and Shelley had been there they were long gone and it was just Ubaldo and some coaches. And that was that.

Then we went to eat in the Terrace Club because our tickets allowed it. I'm pretty much done with the Terrace Club. Yeah, it's a nice place to sit down if you've got an hour to blow but the menu is very small, the food is not that good and it's expensive. And the service was super slow. Had they no idea that we had someplace to be?! Anyway...I think I am just going to stick with concessions anymore.

But not the hamburgers because they suck. After 11 games this season my pick for non-hotdog foods worth eating at the ballpark so far are the "Food Network" steak sandwiches (blue cheese - yum!) and the cotton candy.

I did try some stuff from the new "App Store" (they sell fried everything, except fried mozzarella!) and it was good but I am not a huge fan of fried food. I got the "trio" with  fried cookie dough, fried Twinkie and "funnel fries." One of those "good in the moment" food choices but by the drive home you question your decision. I wish I would have gone with their September "Fried Food of the Month" - fried mac & cheese. Oh well - next year!

Our seats were awesome, I got them off StubHub. Third row right behind the plate. The crowd there was sparse...I suspect season-ticket-holders or corporate clients must get bored by this time of the year. Plus there was a Browns game.

The seats behind the plate don't seem to get much it smells moldy back there! Really, $80/seat and it's moldy! Then again maybe that's just a September thing.

I trucked OMG around with me all morning (actually my friend did a lot of trucking for me!) but Asdrubal didn't play. First time that's happened! But since the 2 seats next to us were open, OMG sat there. I think it would have been EPIC to be able to put the sign to use being where we were situated (we actually were on TV quite a bit!) but alas...
Wouldn't you have loved to see OMG right there?

I did have my foam broom, my "Tribe Time Now" towel and some weird necklace consisting of beads and a plaster Chief Wahoo that I got at a garage sale early in the summer. None of these talismans seemed to work any sort of magic...

So there was a baseball game going on at this baseball game, which was also fun.

Good Fausto pitched 6 1/3, and after a shaky first he sailed through giving up just one run in the 5th and one in the 6th. The bullpen came in and did awesome (Raffy, Pestano, Smith) but our recently-hot bats couldn't overcome that deficit. We were tied and went into extra innings, and Sipp couldn't hold it in the 10th and then we couldn't heroic ourselves out of that, bat-wise.

The Twins had 2 more hits than us and that proved to make all the difference.

Fukudome was back to being awesome leadoff guy man, at least when he went 2 for 2 in his first 2 at-bats. Unfortunately this didn't lead to any run scoring. But he did do a lot of work out there in the outfield...that also came in the first 2 innings with 4 balls going out to him. Then he got his hits to right!

Santana and Hafner both went 1 for 4 and walked. Only Hafner managed to get any runs out of it - he came around to score twice.

Oh, do you know why? Because Shelley Duncan bats after Hafner and he rocks! Shelley went 3 for 2 today with a homer and 2 RBI. That makes, oh, TWENTY-TWO RBI in the month of September! And 7 homers in 72 at-bats. How about that?!

He tried in vain to make one of his patented "Did I do that?" catches in the outfield but it didn't work out so well this time. He put that paw up in the air and did not come down with a baseball this time. Instead the other guy came down with a triple. Oops!

My dad - who has not been paying attention this year - asked why he missed the catch if he was such a great outfielder. I said it was because he is not actually a great outfielder, just tall.

So in the 8th they took out Duncan (yep, Duncan, not Hafner) and put in Thome. Manny Acta apparently had been thinking about this bit of cleverness all night. Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan said how nice it was that Manny Acta "gets it." We all got to give Thome more ovation wheee!

Then Thome was walked and we got to boo. Then Chisenhall hit into a double play and that was that. That really killed me because we were tied and there was a man on base and who else but Shelley Duncan would you want up in this scenario? We got Thome instead. But oh well, the season's over I am not going to be bitchy about that move.

Then Thome came out of the dugout with a glove and stood at third. I guess this was Manny's master plan for TWO ovations! Because we all loved Thome as a fielder (?). But anyway, he stayed in for one pitch then they shoved a very confused Jerad Head out there and told him to go to left and called Lonnie back in to third. And then the crowd booed because, goddammit, if you're going to put Thome in to play third LET (MAKE) HIM PLAY THIRD! At least one whole batter, something! Standing there for one pitch is just stupid. Even if he plays and fucking sucks, we all at least get a good laugh out of it.Acta gave up on the game by taking Shelley out so why not stick with the theme and let Thome play an out? Ack.

That was the first time in my life that I've ever been slightly sickened by the whole idea of the designated hitter. A 41-year-old man with an $3mm contract who can't play one out in the field? Seriously?

Sorry for the un-positiveness. And Thome-hating! Argh what is my issue?!
Awwww, I'm tellin'!

Anyway, Lonnie did get a hit today and Jason Donald rocked it going 2 for 3. He's now hitting .320 and has a 5-game hitting streak with 9 hits in those 5 games!

Sweet Lou, he did not get a hit. But he seemed to look and smile at me between every play. He really appreciated my heckling encouragement now that I was sitting so close. He actually had 3 hits that, had they been an inch either way, would have actually ended up as hits but not outs. Poor Lou!

It started raining during the Tribe's last at-bat. It had actually sprinkled during the Twins' first at-bat. My friend and I tried to get in line to run the bases but...well so did 20,000 other people. Next time!

 All in all, I had a great afternoon at the ballpark. I had a great summer at the ballpark! Every time I sat in a different section and had a different experience. I saw a bunch of different types of games and, according to my calculations, saw 37 different players. Maybe even more! I tried a lot of food and a lot of Diet Dr Pepper and managed not to collect any more collectible cups because I have 10 already and that is a full set.

I took 11 different friends with me to these 11 games, one of them going to her first game ever and ended up going to 5 total this summer! I also got Baby Jack into a game who not only went to his first game but also got to hang with the Hargroves. I met Hammy, Hegan and Rosie and got my sign on the big board a few times. I got sunburnt and rained on and watched some milestones hit and records broken.

I hope next year I get to take my niece and some of my friends' kids to games. I already started devising a plan where they pick me up at the Rapid station and leave when they've had enough and I stay to the end and take the train home. I also think next year I will buy more StubHub tickets and try for autographs.

And I definitely, definitely will get Shelley to autograph my foul ball.

So we've got 3 more games in Detroit then we're done. Don't forget to tune in for the next 3 days to get as much Cleveland baseball out of this year as possible.

Remember this...even if we lose the next 3, you still got 6 whole months of Cleveland baseball. Don't be a sour puss - be positive!

So, see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Shelley Duncan knows he should have caught that ball."
"Everybody in the ballpark knows."
- Mike Hegan and Tom Hamilton on Duncan's missed ball in the first

"You aren't going to tell me that Jim Thome is going to come in and pinch run for Travis Hafner are you?"
"That would surprise everyone. Jimmy would be surprised too!"
- Mike Hegan and Tom Hamilton on Acta's "surprise"

"Lou Marson's gonna say 'What do I have to do to get a base hit?'"
- Mike Hegan says bloop hits and line drive outs do not even out

"Just another day in the office for Duncan in September. He's 2 for 2 with a home run and 2 RBI."
- Jim Rosenhaus

"Oh for the love of Pete...ball two! Here comes Tim Belcher. I bet Belcher is hoping the home plate umpire comes out there. This is absurd..."
"And the home plate umpire isn't going."
"He knows better."
"He's telling Perez 'as soon as he gets to the dirt area, tell me and I'm going to turn around.'"
- Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan (and Tim Belcher) are not impressed with the young ump behind the plate

"Oh please don't let it end with me getting hit..."
"If it does, do you want those golf balls?"
- Mike Hegan and Tom Hamilton on a foul ball hit in to the booth

"This is a situation where the heart rules the head."
- Mike Hegan on the display of Thome in the 8th

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