I hate Cleveland.
I do. The city, the sports teams and the atmosphere. It is weird, a little dumpy and just plain weird.
Progressive Field isn;t bad, but still its weird. Nonetheless I along with my brother Zach, and good friends Eric and Andrew ventured up to the ‘mistake on the lake’ for a Sunday game between the Indians and Nationals.
We were excited to see the baseball world turn their heads on to Cleveland to see if Strasburg could provide and encore performance to last Tuesday’s 14 strikeout spectacle against the Pirates. Going only 5.1 innings, walking five and striking out eight wasn’t exactly the powerful performance we were hoping for but shoot any team’s fans would take an outing like that from their starting pitcher.
Strasburg started out the game masterfully. These numbers were common on the speed gun.
There hasn’t been a crowd this big to watch a young pitcher since Henry Rowengartner made his debut with the Cubs. The Indians even went as fas as selling Strasburg gear inside the park’s souvineer stands.
However, not all Clevelnaders took kindly to the rookie. Now Andrew, Zach and myself were cheering for the Nationals and Strasburg, the other in our group was not. Eric is not that big into baseball but knows how to have a good time at the ballpark. When Strasburg first walked out of the dugout he began an “Overated” chant. He also was ragging on Strasburg the entire day hoping to see the Indians light him up. He wasn’t alone. While there were many Nats fans in the park, many made the trip from the DC-Virginia area, most people were quick to boo Strasburg. There were three seperate occasions where boos were thrown down from the Progessive Field rafters. Twice he requested the mound be looked at forcing groundscrew to touch up his footing area and he was booed loudly as we was taken out of the game in the fifth inninng.
There were many memories made this game with a majority occuring before the game actually started. Seeing Strasburg warm up was a novelty in itself but on top of that we saw and met many cool people.
Number 25 there is Stetson Allie. Former pitcher of St. Edwards High School in Cleveland. Why do I care about Stetson Allie you ask. Well he just so happened to be the second round pick of the Pirates in last week’s draft. His high school team was being honored pre-game for winning the Ohio State Championship. I’m tol he is a hard throwing righty but has control issues, a younger Strasburg perhaps? I hope the Pirates offer him a lucrative deal and he signs. I shouted a “Let’s Go Bucs!” to him and he seemed a little creeeped out.
The national spotlight was still on Strasburg for start number two and ESPN was well represented. Field reporter Pedro Gomez wa son the field pre game trying to avoid our obnoxious calls to him. After he was filming he posed for pictures with all four of us. We were the original spotters, after our pics a throng came down to the field level forcing Pedro to retreat to the dugout. So thanks Mr. Gomez, I hope we made your trip to Cleveland fun as well.
You may be able to tell that I am wearing a San Diego State shirt. It was in honor of Strasburg who went to school there. The only guy in the park to notice it and give me kudos on it was Pete from clevelandfrowns.com. He was a nice guy and was great to have a ten minute conversation with. If you are a Cleveland fan it is a cool blog site to check out.
Andrew also took part in honoring the past in noteable fashion. Rocking the Expos hat he was very vintage in showing he was a die-hard fan of the Nationals franchise (even though he lives and breathes the Yankees.) He also bit the bullet and purchased a Strasburg T-shirt.
And they said Lastings wasn’t loved in Washington. This guy is keeping the funk alive rocking his Milledge jersey.
And if that isn’t a sight for sore eyes in Cleveland I do not know what is. Peeking out on the railing is indeed an Andrew McCutchen jersey and Pirates hat. Just beautiful. I never like to wear an obscure team clothing item to the park when that team isn’t playing but that guy obviously doesn’t follow my rules and I’m frankly okay with it. It was refreshing.
I say farewell on that note. The Pirates lost 4-3 today. My freind Erin was keeping me up to date with all that was happening via text. We were swept by the Tigers as Octavio Dotel gave up a three run home run to Miguel Cabrera. Despite that frustration I will be back at my home, PNC Park on Tuesday as the Bucs host the White Sox. Even though teh Pirates struggle through it, I love interleague play!
In no way shape or form am I a fan of the Evil Empire. For one night, I wanted to experience what life was like in the shoes of a fan of the Bronx Bombers. I am a Pirate fan through and through. I bleed black and gold and could never cheer for the Yankees. On May 29, 2009 I “supported” the club in an effort to be an away fan at a ballpark. I had no intentions of cheering for either team (Yankees/Indians), so why not make the evening fun and tranform into a New Yorker.
Well in my first hours of me becoming a Yankee “supporter” I was greeted with heavy downpours of rain. From 7:00 til 8:30 there was nothing but torrential rain and thunder coming from the Cleveland skies. Maybe it was a fitting entrance, mother nature must have known I did not belong in Yankee attire.
The rain delay was quite shocking because just a few hours earlier the weather looked beautiful. I made my Facebook status read that it is a beautiful night for baseball. You can see from these next pictures that it surely looked that way.
Upon parking at the garage across from Progressive Field and Quicken Loans arena at about 5:30, I saw this towel sitting on a rail by a police officer. I hollered over to the cop and politely asked if it was anybody’s towel. He politely responded with a “no”, tossed it to me and said “its all yours.” Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I liked the team back when they were God-awful but since Lebron has taken over I really don’t like their whole mentality. They are facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and the city is buzzing with Cav-pride. I myself am cheering for teh Orlando Magic in hopes that they will make the Finals against the LA Lakers. I am however a huge fan and collecter of random sports paraphernalia and a Calavliers One Goal Towel fits that bill perfectly.
The picture to the right was taken when we entered the park at 6:00, still bright out and no sign of rain. The kid to my left is Andrew, my good buddy and friend for the longest time. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and has been his whole life. His grandpa can tell you anything about New York and the team from the Mickey Mantle days til now. Andrew supplied me with my Yankees garb. You can see I’m rocking the 2009 innagural season at new Yankee Stdium hat as well as a #13 A-Rod jersey. Andrew is wearing a Derek Jeter jersey, his favorite player. For all 20 years of my life and as long as I’ve known Andrew, very close to that 20 years, I’ve harrased him for his Yankee loyalty. But for one day and one day only I was on his side, root root rooting for his team.
At the scheduled gametime of 7pm the white tarp was thrown onto the field. The skies began to look ominous but still no liquid was falling from the sky. I was shocked that the groundscrew would put the tarp out so prematurally, less than ten minutes later they proved themselves correct. Torrential rain would start to pour, we took shelter under the walkway near a concession stand. We bought hot dogs, peanuts and a pop, classic ballpark fare. Andrew made out like a bandit though. The guy working behind the counter at the stand somehow gave him a free pretzel and a pop upgrade to a large. For 10.50 he got a hotdog, large pop, peanuts and a pretzel. I paid that same 10.50 at a cashier down a ways and got a hotdog, peanuts and small pop. Something fishy, but it made matters a little better when we split the pretzel.
There are 2 things I enjoy about the concessions areas at Progressive Field…
THE LARGE AND SPACIOUS DINING AREAS AND…..
The large dinisng areas are prevalent throughout the park and were perfect in last night’s situation. We were able to stay dry and enjoy our meal during the rain delay. Now the brown ballpark mustard is indeed a special creation. You can notice right away that it is not normal mustard. Normal mustard is yellow. This is brown. It is also thicker and tangier. I think it also adds more of a kick. You can only find it in Cleveland and no trip to the Prog is complete without some on a hot dog.
When we were finished eating we looked out at the jumbo tron and saw this glorious sign.
By this time it was nearly 8pm and we ran to the restroom to get paper towels to dry off our seats. The lines were out the door, everybody had teh same goal: dry seats.
We mosied on down to our seats and were surrounded by “fellow” Yankee fans. It’s also fun to have a meet and greet with fellow fans. We sat next to a family who traveled from Buffalo, NY to cheer on their Yanks. Andrew had a fun time discussing personnel issues with teh club and how they will look for the rest of teh season. I just sat back, nodded my head and whispered “Lets Go Bucs” to myself.
We talked to some more Yankee fans throughout teh game and even some Indians fans were cordial to us and we enjoyed talking about Ohio, the Cavs and our drive from Youngstown. Nobody in attendance last nigth was more vibrant than this guy.
Adorning his Mickey Mantle jersey, official white baseball pants, suspenders and cane his blood was Yankeed blue through and through. The entire game he was spouting off facts and figures from Yankee lore. He downgraded Cleveland like it was his job and made New York seem like heaven. Andrew and I got plenty of kicks from him. He reminded me alot of Andrew’s grandpa they way he told stories of former great baseball players such as Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle and Cool Papa Bell. Many people were annoyed by him but I knew it was all in good fun, he was a real baseball man.
The game itself was rather boring compared to other games I’ve seen live. The final score was 3-1 in favor of NY. The Yankees put guys on base but couldn’t get them across to score. They left the bases loaded twice. Andy Petitte pitched a decent game only giving up one earned. Andrew was concerend in teh 5th inning when the trainers came out to check on him. Nothing has been reported about his condition so I take it he’ll be fine.
The entire lineup for the Yanks was generally booed by the hometown Cleveland crowd. This guy got the most boos by far.
Proper and well deserved? I’d say so. The A-ROID chants were out in full force and a throng of cheers would go up when strikes were thrown on him. What I feel is great about the Yankees though is that for the entire lineup to be acknowldged like that shows how much of an impact they have on the MLB. Everybody knows them, everybody can name them, they are baseball. While its the front office paints a bad picture of the franchise with the spending sprees the on the field guys are first class when in uniform.
One thing that was annoying about last night was these little boogers.
That is indeed a midge. The little bugs that are famous for getting all up in Joba Chamberlains grill must have known the Yankees were in town. They wer eflying all over the place last night. Like little mosquiots I had to brush them off periodically throughout the game. The in-game entertainment crew took advantage of the incident by showign a clip of it on the jumbo tron and when the Tribe was up a graphic that said RALLY MIDGE appeared. A little corny for my liking, I don’t think you should be proud of these nuisances that are invading your stadium.
To close off the game Mariano Rivera came in the game and recorded the save. We were sitting right above the bullpen in right field and seeing Rivera warm up was really cool.
This sign graced the bullpen walls and it kept some people in check. When the Sandman entered the game, the NY fans in my area went bezerk.
A classic New Yorker and future hall of famer.
The game concluded at 11:30 very late but the show still went on. A fireworks show graced teh skies of Northeast Ohio. As a whole very lame compared to a Pittsburgh firweorks show. Sorry to citicize and this is strictly unbiased. In Cleveland it was very structured and the scoreboard got in the way of some of the sparks.
As a whole I must say I found a greater respect for the New York Yankees. They take alot of heat but still are always very loyal. Many fans claim they are front runners, they are not. Many claim they are mearly uneducated, they are not. Yankee fans are a strong breed and a corps that loves their team. The history, the pagentry, the legends are all second to none. 26 World Championships dont lie. That being said….
LETS GO BUCS
Just when you thought the Peas was just a Pittsburgh deal…
A beautiful Saturday afternoon, but just one thing was missing. A baseball game. While the roomates along with a group of West Virginia buds and myself played wiffle ball all day Friday, something just didn’t seem right. Since the Pirates weren’t in town, a three hour trek to the Buckeye State took place.
It was a beautiful night in C-Land as we entered the outfield gates. Its much more spacious and alive than the outfield at PNC Park. The opening out to the wide green grass of the field is nearly breathtaking, at the very least its a cool site. The most unique thing was the photographer that approached us and asked for a group photo. It was like we were in Disney World in front of Cinderella Castle as he handed me a slip with instructions on how to purchase the cherished photo online. (Editors note: we did not purchase the $17 dollar keepsake.)
Sort of a knock off of Monument Park in Yankee Stadium, its an Indians version of their own storied history. Two platforms of plaques honor the heritage of the Tribe and the history of Cleveland’s greatest baseball players. If Pittsburgh had something like this I could live there. Its a great way to honor the franchise and fans of all ages love it.
“Its very bad to steal Jabu’s rum! Its very bad.”
A classic movie and a classic character. Pedro Cerrano was Clevelands Dominican slugger in the movie “Major League” A must see for baseball fans everywhere and my favorite part of the Cleveland Indians.
To honor another dynamic character from Major League the organization is giving out a “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn bobblehead towards the end of the year. Fans are lining up for tickets already.
For the 23,167 in attendance the game was a downer as the Tribe were pounded by the Twins 7-1. No offensive production is bound to kill you, just as it did for the Tribe last night. The pitching of Twins starter Kevin Slowey was brilliant as he went 8 innings only giving up 4 hits and one earned run. Every fan in attedance recieved a Kerry Wood bobblehead upon entrance to the park, so that kept everyone somewhat cherry. The atmosphere and fan enthusiasm was very similair to PNC Park. The cheering level is the same, the attentiveness is the same and the people actually with butts in the seats are the same. The Tribe do have one thing going for them and thats the elite player. Its been Jason Bay for the Pirates in the last few years and now that hes gone its hard for the fan base to pick one player as THEIR guy. Its no secret who THAT guy is for Cleveland.
I have a feeling that Melissa (the Clemson Girl) will be looking at this photo all night. Grady recieved the most cheers out of any other players. He is the shining star out in centerfield and the shining star in the hearts of teenage girls across the state of Ohio. His eyes may have been scalded by the limelight as he went hitless Saturday night. That scoreboad pic stayed the same the entire night at everyone of his at-bats. Another difference between the Prog and PNC, the variations in the scoreboard pics makes PNC Park unique and keeps the fans innovated. Although,
nobody no girl can complain at looking at that sheepish grin.
Although the Tribe fell on Saturday, Cleveland fans have at least one thing going for them.
They citizens of Cleveland are indeed witnesses. Lebron James is the spectacle of the city. Sorry Grady, Lebron is king of this town. Just look at that gargantuan billboard. Fans from far and wide will tell you Lebron is the resurgance of the city of C-Land.
With the Cavs on the run they are on look out Lakers, Cleveland very well could have quite the easy path to the NBA Finals.
While here I am thinking Lebron will be the most peculiar thing I see around the stadium, I stand corrected by the Walgreens Foul Pole. Walgreens? On a Foul Paul? Odd in my book but without a doubt a good advertising spot. I can’t wait to see a ball flirting with the line but the quickly marked fould becuse of W intereferrence.
Although the city of Cleveland is starving for a relevant sports championship it is still a great sports city. I do not support any on their sports teams. As a Steeler fan it is my duty to dissrespect the Browns. I kinda lose respect for the Indians because of the Steeler fans who aren’t Pirates fans. (Hello, there is a baseball team in the city of Pittsburgh) and by default I don’t really like the Cavaliers. Lebron’s cool and all but I might as well follow suit by not liking any Cleveland professional teams. SInce WVU alum Joe Alexander was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, I’ve been a fan of that team. Its also another excuse to cheer “Lets Go Buc(k)s!”
The Indians give the city something to cheer about where the other teams have failed to do so. (With the exception of Lebron). The recent success in the past 10+ years gives the city great pride.
The Indians will hope to rebound after quite the dismal start. After avoiding the Minnesota sweep on Sunday they’re on the right track. Just hope they have these dates circled….
Cause I surely do. Can’t wait to welcome the Tribe to PNC Park for an always thrilling intereleague matchup.