Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm A Winner! The Tribe, Not So Much

I went to the game today. I bundled up in my winter walking boots, Indians sweatshirt and Chief Wahoo fleece scarf (courtesy of Jo-Ann Fabrics at the 2011 Fan Appreciation Day game), and took OMG ASDRUBAL!!! and drove downtown in the SUN (!!) to see my first game of the year.

I must have looked super-fanish to the Fun Bunch because as soon as I got in the gate, a young lady stopped me and asked if I'd like to be the Circle K Fan of the Game. At first I said "no" because at the end of last year I got into a situation where I was in a contest involving me having to dance in front of the camera. Now, I don't care about looking stupid in front of the camera, that's no big deal. My problem was that I was bad at it and not entertaining at all, and I felt like I wasted the contest!

Anyway, the girl said all I had to do was cheer in front of the camera for 45 seconds, and if the Indians threw 8 strikeouts during the game I'd win a $100 Circle K gift card. I actually did not fully understand the gift card deal until after I agreed to do it. Once I was done with the cheering (with direction) I was like "Wait, 8 strikeouts, really?" Really! Being that they'd thrown 16 the night before and 8 before that, I knew there was a great chance I'd win.

So I did that, then I gave Mustard a high-five, which netted me a Mustard magnet (sweet!) and finally was done entering the park. It's hard to be this popular!

My friend and I went and purchased tickets for the last home game of the year. Cool, right? Then we browsed the Team Shop and bought some junk. They had Choo and Sizemore stuff for 50% off, but no sales on cold-weather wear! I got my 2013 Topps team set, and one for my friend's kid, and a heavily-discounted 2012 for my niece who's 3 and won't notice that Nick Swisher is missing.

Check out these cards, though. I think they are really stellar shots compared to the rest of the team. Exceptional baseball cards, I say.
Kipnis, Masterson, Perez and Brantley 2013 Topps.
We bought hot dogs and fresh-cut fries, which are awesome (except if you have too many and don't often eat fried food, it's heartburn city!) And then I was hit with a bombshell: No. More. Diet. Doctor. Pepper. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man when I heard there would be $2 refills this year I immediately decided I would try to drink my weight in Diet Dr Pepper, until I realized that I could never afford that or have the time to do it. However I still meant to drink at least 64 ounces of Diet Dr Pepper per game this year. I've always loved the fact that Progressive Field is one of the few places where you can get fountain Diet Dr Pepper. Well it, no more. Now it's just Diet Pepsi or shut up. WHAT THE HELL???

I drank 64 ounces of Diet Pepsi.

My friend and I had tickets right up against the bullpen, which is a neat place to sit IF you're not surrounded by weirdos who are begging for the bullpen crew to throw them balls. But in the two times I've sat there, that's been my experience. Both times too it was one person getting a ball then the person they're with begging for a ball the rest of the game. What? Especially bad today was the dude who was begging for a ball after his girlfriend got one (the girlfriend to whom he had to explain every facet of the game). He was begging while some little kid was standing there silently next to him. Finally one of the catchers came up and handed the little kid the ball and told the dude "I already gave your girlfriend one." HA!

I'd still sit there again, even with the weird beggars. It's neat being so close to players. We got to see a lot of Perez milling about and I had a conversation with Vinnie Pestano!

I told him we needed 2 more strikeouts as a team for me to get my $100, so please get some strikeouts if you go out. Or if not, tell your friends. He actually did have a dialog with me - he asked if I meant one pitcher or the whole team.

Joe Smith actually got me the 8th strikeout (which was sort of weird because Smith looked awful tonight for some reason but he got the K!) but when Vinnie went out he got 2 more anyway. I like to think it was from me asking! I also was joking that it would be awful if Vinnie went up with 6 strikeouts then got all choked up and gave up a bunch of hits and got NO strikeouts. But, silly me - that didn't happen!

When Smith pitched the 8th strikeout I stood up and yelped and it was eerily silent otherwise. Like everyone else had given up on the game already (it was kinda gone anyway). They put my name and hometown on the big board, and did it again at the end of the game. But they never showed my 45 second video! I am fine with that - I made a fool of myself in person, in the stands. Don't need me on the big board looking goofy. But now I'm afraid I won't get that gift card in the mail, only a blackmail letter or something. "Send us $1000 or we'll show this video to your professional circle!" Ha! Joke's on them, I don't have a professional anything!

Also, I found a Sharpie.

That was my fan experience at the ballpark today. There's always something! I'm glad my friend asked me to go because I wasn't planning on doing any games in April. Don't you know it's cold in April? But the weather was awesome and even though there were lots of boring and frustrating parts in the game, we had a lot more action than a lot of other games this year so that was fun.

Quick rundown of what happened on the field...

Masterson had a bad start but as someone on the post-game radio said "If only Ubaldo's bad starts were like this!" Indeed! He gave up 4 runs on 11 hits but also struck out 5 (yeah buddy!) and got himself out of not one but two bases-loaded jams. He also had some nice help from the guys in the field with a coupla plays at the plate. He looked pretty awful in the first but after that I'd say he was back to his previous-three-game-winning format. So, nothing to worry about here.

Corey Kluber popped back in for a visit. He pitched the 6th and gave up a run on three hits (and strikeout number 6!) He didn't look amazing but he was adequate. Rich Hill was in again and he gave up a run as well. Joe Smith...I don't know how he didn't give up any hits or runs. He did have a wild pitch. He looked crazy bad for Joe Smith but he snapped out of it and got me my 8th and final strikeout!!

Vinnie Pestano was tight and got two more strikeouts for a total of 10 on the night for the team. He shut them down hard!

Brantley was leading off tonight and he just doesn't do well there anymore. In 2011 he was the man up top but tonight he kept coming up and then letting down. And his average is going down. Oh no! I totally guessed his name right in an early-inning trivia game, though. The question was something like "Who is from Bellevue, Washington and likes to golf and fish in his spare time?" My friend was impressed at least!

I brought OMG ASDRUBAL!!! with me in hopes that today would be his breakout game but it wasn't He was up with bases loaded and two outs. It didn't happen. It was so close, boffins - like, just a few feet away from going over the wall or at least hitting it. It didn't happen. He still played well in the field, though. Well he almost had an amazing catch and that didn't happen either.

Harlem Shake break!

Carlos Santana was not at his best today either, in his second game back. He went 0 for 3 with a walk. And he got hit in the mask with a ball (or a bat?)

Nick Swisher was the big hero of the night! Not only was he in right field, throwing balls to almost every fan that asked for one, but he also had a couple sweet plays out there AND he got himself a 2-run homer! He went 2 for 4 on the night and is batting .295. He hit his homer into the bullpen. here's me reaching for it:
The red hat is me!
Everyone was disappointed because the guy who was in the bullpen and chased down the ball had to give the ball up to some dude who stuck his head in the door and asked for it. I thought it was kind of neat that Swisher (presumably) wanted his home run ball!

I kept urging Jason Giambi, tonight's DH, to please endear himself to me. He kind of did tonight by following up Swisher's home run with one of his own. But I still find it hard to care that Jason Giambi is on our team. Meh.

Now, Mark Reynolds has indeed endeared himself to me and he's a guy we can get behind! Tonight he aaaaalmost had some huge hits, but he definitely had a huge double in the third. He legged it out and the play was super close at second but I think Reynolds impressed the umpire with his moxy and gave him the bag.

Cord Phelps was in playing second and he also seems to be playing catch-up. Any day now.

The Chiz Kid over-extended himself trying to turn a long single into a double and he got caught. Drats! He did end up going 2 for 4, though, so I'm pumped about that!

Drew Stubbs was back down in the 9-hole and he did alright for himself. He went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. Sucks that the top of our lineup was shut down today! Stubbs also looked pretty good in the outfield at least once, making a big catch in the 7th. Everything else was just...well it was hit out of reach.

Whew! I think the Diet Pepsi is finally wearing off. My fire is lit once again for live baseball. I'm already making plans for the next home series! Despite the cold weather, I do kind of like it when the stadium is mostly empty. Short lines, no waiting, and I get to be the Fan of the Game!

Tomorrow is the last game of the series, and the triumphant return of our new favorite - Zach McAllister! He'll be facing LHP 1.42. This game is a good example of why I don't say opposing pitchers' names anymore. You don't need to just need to know that he's left handed and the game is at 7:05.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Tim Timmons must have had a conversation with Tim McClelland in the offseason and McClelland said 'Hey look, try to keep everybody guessing at the ballpark. Dont' tell 'em if it's a ball or a strike.'"
- Tom Hamilton

"The kind of guy who, when you were in kindergarten, he spent a lot of time in the corner chair looking at the wall."
- Tom Hamilton on pitcher Alfredo Aceves

"Not to be overly dramatic but this could be your entire ballgame right here."
- Tom Hamilton at the end of the second

"The Indians had Felix Doubront on the ropes all night, but he was like Muhammed Ali, he played rope-a-dope all night and stayed on his feet."
- Tom Hamilton

"Get ready for a Leslie Nielson scene coming up here if this is anywhere close."
- Tom Hamilton is amused by the calls of homeplate umpire Tim Timmons

"Mantua? How do you get Man-too-ay from m-a-n-t-u-a?"
- Tom Hamilton is new here

"For those of you who have trouble sleeping at night, get a tape of Alfredo Aceves pitching. An instant cure for insomnia."
- Tom Hamilton

"The Indians look like the Bayonne Bleeder. They're Chuck Wepner. They're bleeding from everywhere but they're still standing."
- Tom Hamilton is a fan of boxing

"Rosie's back with pepperonis from Domino's pizza all over the front of his sweater."
- Tom Hamilton, forever intrigued by Jim Rosenhaus's eating habits

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