Category Archives: Baseball

Tribe Game No. 7 of 2017

Alan’s perfect record continued at Progressive Field today, as Alan moved to 7-0 on the season.  Alan & Corey Kluber continue to be an unstoppable combination, dating back to Alan’s very first Indians game in 2013, when Kluber shut-out the Nationals 2-0.

There was a lot to celebrate at the ballpark today following the recent 22-game win streak and the Indians clinching of the AL Central late last night (not to mention it was Alan’s annual birthday game!).  Alan and I enjoyed watching the Indians raise the AL Central Division Championship Flag during pregame while the fans applauded the team.  Alan is aware of what has been going on this week, as he watched the recording of the walk-off for win #22, as well as the ovation after the win streak ended.

During the game, Alan enjoyed the big slide in the Kids Clubhouse and recorded his second career sub-7 seconds time in the simulated race.

Alan didn’t get to run the bases postgame (it was cancelled so the Indians players could salute the crowd), but that was okay for Alan.  He wanted to get home and put together the lego seaplane that he received from Grandma Debbie at yesterday’s party!

Before we left, we bought an’ AL Central Champs’ pin to go along with the Indians poker chip magnets I bought while attending game #20 of the streak.  Alan plus good luck charms could spell doom for the Indians competition during the playoffs…

Tribe Game No. 6 of 2017

Alan’s favorite month of the year is in full swing, and he’s got that ’16-straight wins kind of feeling’ going on after watching the Tribe blank the Orioles at the ballpark tonight!

Alan went the distance tonight, continuing his perfect record at Progressive Field this season (6-0 this season; 18-7 lifetime).  The night started well, as Encarnacion greeted us at the gates with a  3-run first inning HR.  It was the second time this season he homered as we entered the ballpark.  And it ended well, too, as the Indians extended their team record win streak.

In between, Alan’s highlights included participating in Hang On Sloopy (middle of the 5th inning), trying Twizzlers for the first time (Daddy’s go-to ballpark candy), watching guest-Hot-Dog-Race-participant Relish’s 2nd-ever appearance and 1st victory, buying a “C-logo” mini bat (held by Alan in the picture above), and enjoying the shorter lines in the Kids Clubhouse — especially at the slide — due to the evening start time.

Tonight’s game was a late add to our season schedule after Alan requested one more September night game.  I’m glad he asked for this one!

Alan has continued to gradually increase his interest in the Tribe this season.  In addition to the memorable moments we’ve witnessed at the ballpark (captured in these posts), he’s tuned in for the last inning of quite a few Indians games over the summer. The most notable game-endings he caught include the Encarnacion walk-off Grand Slam vs LAA on July 25th and the Gomes walk-off 3-run HR vs COL on August 8th.

Alan loves seeing the Indians players throw water on each other after a walk-off (dating back to watching replays of the Naquin inside-the-park walk-off last season), so he was really fortunate to catch those.

Tribe Game No. 5 of 2017

Alan continued his perfect season at Progressive Field today, as the Indians improved to 5-0 with Alan in attendance following a 12-0 victory over the Royals. To Alan’s delight, we opted to take the transit downtown, and Robbie and Jill — our generous season-long ticket providers — came to the game with us.

Alan was showing off his balancing skills on the large wooden bat in the Kids Clubhouse while the Indians scored a season-high nine runs in the 2nd inning. The scoring came via a 2-run HR by Lindor, a 3-run HR by Santana, and finally a Grand Slam by Gomes — with the latter drawing quite a few families out of the Clubhouse and onto the balcony to join in the cheering!

Out on the family deck, more records were set as Alan beat his personal best race time of 6.89 seconds!  Alan was thrilled to see his first sub-7 seconds time and excitedly reported the news to Robbie.  The new record time must’ve been due to the pre-race popcorn he requested beforehand.

We didn’t have time to hit today as lines were extra long (due to a standing room only crowd at Progressive Field) and the game went fast (no scoring after the 2nd inning).  So we opted not to risk losing our place at the front of the MVP line for running the bases, and lined up during the 8th inning.

I ran with Alan today, while Robbie and Jill watched from the stands.  You could tell which one of us was the record setter, as I quickly fell behind Alan and never caught up, despite the usual log-jam between 3rd base and home plate.   After running, Alan took the camera for selfies and photos from his perspective, including this close-up of Robbie, Jill, and I.

Alan was in a silly mood with the camera out, as evidenced by the following photo that we took behind the dugout.

For the Tribe, today’s win capped a weekend in which the Indians outscored the Royals 20-0 over three games.  It was the first time since 1956 that the Indians shut-out a team for an entire series.

For Alan, it was another great Sunday afternoon at the ballpark with his family!

Tribe Game No. 4 of 2017

 

Today was a hot one at the ballpark, and it was quite crowded.  “Alan the blur” ran a great time in his race and hit the first pitch he saw in Little League Park.  He played a new game he made up in the Kids Clubhouse where he ran and jumped on the oversized glove over and over again.  There I was a able to snap a nice photo of Alan showing off that “missing tooth smile.” 🙂

Alan also asked to sit in the upper deck above the family zone – with a box of popcorn – and watch some of the game.  Alan’s starting to enjoy doing that more and more.  Before long, it was time to run the bases!

  

Tribe Game No. 3 of 2017

With the Indians on Sunday night baseball this weekend, Alan and I opted to head to the ballpark for a Saturday night ballgame – Alan’s 1st night game of the season.

Alan had a blast staying out late and made it all the way to the 9th inning of the game (he’d ultimately be up past midnight for the first time).  Among the highlights of the evening were the following:

-Alan recorded a career-best sprint time: 7.08 seconds.  Alan loved the “human blur” picture below. 🙂

-Alan hit his first career home run at Little League Park!! Really, he did.  He wacked the whiffle ball just above the yellow line in left field.  It was awesome to see the HR, which came with a man on.  That was definitely the moment of the night.

-We bought “Mick,” a rally monkey named by Alan, at the team shop.  Alan loved the long arms and had to have it.  Mick’s hands have Velcro on them so Alan could wear Mick while we watched some of the game from the Kids Clubhouse.

Note: before we left the Kids Clubhouse, Alan wanted to take a “serious catcher” photo.  😉

-Alan was more interested in watching the game than he has been previously.  He wanted to check out the view from different seats in the ballpark, and asked if we could sit in the RF upper deck.  I said yes, and while we were up there, we watched Jose Ramirez hit.  Alan has been taking an interest in Jose, who became an All-Star this year for the first time after meeting Alan on April 30th.  Alan roots for him, even if he isn’t quite sure why “Jose” doesn’t sound like it looks.

End of Season Baseball Update

Alan has wrapped-up his rookie year in the Mayfield Boys’ Baseball League.  Here’s a recap of the second half of the season:

6/9 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 3B and P.  He makes his mark fielding from the pitcher position, and is established as a regular there – a prime fielding position for this league.

6/16 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 2B and P.  After the game, Alan discovers that I’m the one who has been bringing the marker board for the lineup to each game.  He proceeds to borrow it and write notes — including his own version of the team’s batting order. 🙂

6/23 – Game rained out.

6/30 – Alan goes 1-for-1 and plays 2B before the rain comes and postpones the game after one inning played.  Alan finishes the season batting 1.000!

It was a great debut season for Alan in MBBL play.  I loved coaching third, managing the lineup for the kids, and standing in the field with Alan.  Next summer Alan will move up to the league for 7 & 8 year-olds.  He’s ready!

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2017

Today Alan and I kicked off the summer season of Sunday afternoon Indians games.  We came straight from Alan’s baseball practice, so we didn’t arrive until midway through the game.  Alan had only enough time for his favorite activities, which he decided were batting and sprinting.

We did stop inside the Kids Clubhouse for the quick photo opp below (Alan’s idea), two trips down the slide, and popcorn — which seems to have replaced the soft pretzel as Alan’s go-to ballpark food item.

Before long it was time to run the bases!  Alan also took the photo below outside the Indians dugout.

In addition to getting our fill of baseball on this hot, sunny day, we also turned our attention to the Cavaliers.  Both before and after the game we stopped for a few pictures with the NBA Finals signage.  Go Cavaliers!

Note 1: Upon our arrival at the ballpark, we were greeted by a 443-foot foul ball off the bat of Encarnacion that landed about 15 feet from us outside the left field gate.  We watched it sail overhead and land outside the ballpark.

Note 2: The NBA Finals games have been on too late for Alan to watch, but he’s aware the Cavs have reached the championship round once again.  During the Eastern Conference Finals, Alan did watch the Game 2 massacre in Boston with me when the Cavs won 130-86 over the Celtics on May 19th.

Mid-Season Baseball Update

We’ve reached the midpoint in Alan’s rookie year in the Mayfield Boys’ Baseball League.  Here’s a recap of the games to date:

5/13 – Alan goes 2-for-2 and plays 2B.  He gets a big kick out of me waving him home for the first time (it was the first time he’s seen the motion of a 3B coach).

5/19 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 2B and 3B.  At 2B, he fields a hot shot grounded on a real nice play.

5/26 – Game rained out.

6/2 – Alan bats leadoff and goes 4-for-4 with his whole family in attendance.  He plays SS and P, where the ball finds him on several occasions.  Alan continues to field the routine grounders.  He’s also commended for helping up players off the ground, including his new buddy and teammate, Tommy.

Summer Baseball

Alan made his Mayfield Instructional League debut today in the 5 and 6 year-olds “coach-pitch” division.  He played great, getting two solid hits to left field and splitting time at pitcher’s helper and second base in the field.  Alan was excited to receive quite a few grounders from the pitcher’s helper position.  And he encountered best friend Grady while covering second.

Alan plays for the Village Vet Clinic team and the opener was against the Mo Vaughn Trucking team.  Yes, that Mo Vaughn – the former Red Sox, Angel, and Met first baseman who slugged 328 home runs between 1991 and 2003.  Alan and I both shook his hand in the handshake line following the game.

Final score:  A 16-16 tie.

Kids Starting Lineup – Behind the Scenes

A behind the scenes look at Alan’s MLB debut:

The day was made possible by Robbie and Jill winning an auction that allowed Alan to be in the Kids Starting Lineup.  We found out the great news on April 17th.  Alan was thrilled when I told him over the phone that day.  I can still hear the happy sound in his voice while saying “Whaat!?” when I told him the Indians need him on the field before the game.

On April 19th Alan created artwork which depicts his family driving to Progressive Field to see him on the field.  In the drawing, there’s a Hyundai (Daddy), Honda (Robbie and Jill), and Mercedes (Grandma Debbie and Papa) clearly marked on Alan’s highway.

On April 22nd Alan wrote a thank you note to Robbie and Jill and a separate letter to the Indians (pictured above), which we mailed to Progressive Field that day.  Also on the 22nd, we bought his very first Indians jersey for the occasion — which he wanted to model with Tyler!

On April 24th Alan and I practiced finding all 9 positions on a baseball field diagram.  We also reviewed throughout the week.

On April 30th Alan’s big day went off without a hitch.  It was warm and sunny at game time, despite a forecast calling for isolated thunderstorms.  It had also rained for most of the previous two days.  Alan’s cheering section saved the day, since I was not positioned as close to Alan as I thought I would be.

On May 1st I received the following email reply from Chris Antonetti, after having sent him a scan of Alan’s letter & artwork and a recent photo:

“Thanks for the note, the letter from Alan, and the picture.  It’s cool to see Alan sporting his Tribe gear and be so engaged with the team.  I hope Alan enjoyed the Kids Starting Lineup experience yesterday.  All the best, Chris”

On May 2nd Mrs. Feldman shared the photo of Alan running the bases with Alan’s kindergarten class!  When I asked Alan how he felt about that, he smiled and commented “the whole class was looking at me!”  I asked if that made him proud and he said “yes.”  We also joked together that Alan must’ve left a cloud of dust behind him because it looks like he’s running so fast (Alan loves when we say that).

Other notes:

-Alan received two complimentary tickets for the game, which he and I used to enter.

-Alan found out he was assigned to 3B and Jose Ramirez upon arriving at the Terrace Club (the designated meeting area).  Alan was very excited to be assigned to 3B because it was a position he had played during spring baseball.  He told me that 3B was the position he was hoping he’d get.

-Alan and I entered the field from the third base line seats next to the Indians dugout.  I exited the field from the door directly behind home plate.  The kids left the same way they came onto the field.

-Parents had to leave the field a little early (before the kids) so Tomlin could start his warm-up pitches on the mound. The Indians’ field team thought we were at risk of being hit by an errant throw.  However, just before the National Anthem, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager played catch right next to us.

-After Alan’s photo reached the Indians website on Sunday evening, it was also posted to Indians Facebook and Twitter the next day.

-When I asked Alan to share how he felt about the Kids Starting Lineup experience overall, he said he was both nervous and excited.  And, oh yeah, he’d like to do it again sometime.  🙂

Tribe Game No. 1 of 2017 – Kids Starting Lineup

On April 30th, 2017 Alan made his major league debut at Progressive Field, playing third base and batting 4th in the Kids Starting Lineup!  Here’s the timeline and recap of Alan’s eventful day:

11:09 –11:39 – Alan and his traveling party ride to the ballpark aboard the RTA Green Line. When Alan arrives at Tower City, he eats his pregame meal: A soft pretzel (his favorite baseball food).

12:10 – Alan enters the ballpark and meets up with the other 7 kids in the starting lineup at the Terrace Club elevators.  A few minutes later, the kids (and parents) head down to the field level and set up on the track behind home plate.

12:20 – Mickey Calloway rolls baseballs to the kids from the Indians dugout.

12:30 – Alan’s cheering section finds him behind home plate; many photos are taken.

12:53 – The kids line up in order and head down the left field line for the National Anthem.  Alan’s cheering section shifts with him.

12:57 – The Hot Dogs and Slider greet the kids while they wait to take the field.

1:03 – The Kids Starting Lineup is announced by Sara Shookman of Channel 3 News and Alan runs out to third base!  Video of the action was captured from the third base seats and from behind home plate (Jumbotron in view).

1:08 – The Indians take the field, and Alan meets Jose Ramirez!  Alan gets an autographed ball from Ramirez before heading off the field.

1:10 – Josh Tomlin throws the first pitch and the Indians game is underway.  The temperature at first pitch is 76 degrees, though it feels much warmer in the sun.

1:20 – Alan and I are reunited under the stadium, and we return to the main concourse to meet up with the family.

1:35 – Now on the family deck, Alan picks up his 2017 Tribe Town MVP souvenirs and enters the Kids Clubhouse.

2:00 – The Indians begin an 8-run rally in the bottom of the 3rd inning – their highest scoring inning since May 2015.

2:10 – Jose Ramirez, likely inspired by Alan, tags and scores on a shallow pop-fly to RF with an incredible tag-avoiding slide.

2:15 – Alan orders the largest box of popcorn either of us has ever seen.

2:20 – Brantley caps the Indians’ 8-run outburst with a 2-run HR to right field.

2:40 – Alan returns to the family deck activities after eating lunch.  He climbs the Lofton wall and hits at Little League Park.

3:10 – Alan beats [simulated] Slider in a footrace and tests his pitching accuracy.

3:40 – This picture is taken:  🙂

4:00– Alan enters the “Kids Run the Bases” line and moves towards the front with his Tribe Town MVP badge.

4:08 – Indians record the final out and beat the Mariners 12-4.

4:15 – Alan circles the bases in record time!  He also coaxes me out of retirement, and I struggle to keep up.  Later a photo of Alan appears on the Indians website in their game recap photo gallery. 🙂

4:20 – Alan stops for some finals photos. He also plays photographer and takes a few photos of his traveling party – plus some selfies – to wrap up the day at the ballpark.

5:04 – 5:32 – We return home on RTA.  Afterwards, Alan wants to watch the train until it leaves the station, which we do because it’s his day.

Hitting Drills

Alan worked on his hitting skills in more depth tonight at baseball practice.  The class started with a race to get warm, then moved to hitting soft toss with a whiffle bat into a screen.  Alan was first in line to hit, then he helped Daddy (the soft tosser) gather the whiffle balls while the other kids took their turns.

At the next station, Alan went first again when the class instructor held out the training stick.  This drill required an aluminum bat, and  Alan was proud to volunteer his personal bat for the class to use.

Fielding Grounders

Tonight Alan put in work [smoothly] fielding grounders, catching pop-ups, and hitting some soft toss at baseball practice.  He made me really proud when he volunteered to hit in front of the class with the instructor at the start of batting practice!

Alan used a brand new 10.5 inch Rawlings glove for the first time tonight, after I surprised him with it earlier this week.  We did our best to break it in as soon as possible, and even put it through a steaming process, which was new to me.

We retired his 9 inch Rawlings glove, which Alan picked out back in early 2014 when he was 3 years old.  Back then Alan didn’t know yet what baseball was, but he knew he wanted that glove when he tried it on for the first time.

Tribe Fest 2017

Today Alan attended Tribe Fest for the first time!  We went straight for the kids activities — Lego building, a pitching accuracy game, and balloons!

At the Lego table, Alan built an awesome airplane with his imagination. At the pitching activity, Alan picked up 2 bullseyes and many more strikes! Once we finally found the balloon station, Alan requested a baseball hat and a sword…and he played with them all night long afterwards.

Can’t wait for the return of baseball season!

World Series Game 3 Watch Party

img_6605

The Year of Cleveland has continued with the Tribe now in the World Series, and Alan and I took advantage by venturing to the Game 3 Watch Party at Progressive Field tonight!

Alan was thrilled to learn that he’d be able to see Progressive Field again after I had previously told him that the end of the regular season would be our last chance to see the ballpark together this season. But with the Tribe extending its season deep into October, the Dolans opening the ballpark for a watch party, Robbie getting us Club Level tickets, and Game 3 of the World Series falling on a Friday night, things set up perfectly for us.

I waited until Thursday night to give Alan the good news about our Friday plans, and he was excited for them all day on Friday. He loves that turning 6 meant that he’s permitted to go to night games. And he was thrilled to hear that we would meet Robbie and David at the ballpark!

We got downtown about 15 minutes before first pitch, snapped some photos on our walk, and headed into the ballpark.  We picked up rally towels at the gates, and then Alan picked out a World Series bear at the souvenir stand.

After leaving the team shop, we found Robbie and David on the Club Level and watched the game on the scoreboard from some great seats. To Alan’s delight, we had access to unlimited free soft pretzels — Alan’s favorite ballpark food!

It was quite significant that Alan sat and watched a few innings.  Even though he’s gone to a lot of games with me, usually he’s participating in the kids activities and not necessarily following the game.  Tonight, however, was geared for the adults (the Kids Clubhouse was closed), but that did not deter Alan from enjoying the night.

He loved waving his rally towel with the crowd, and happily took some photos with Robbie, David, and I.  Due to the late start time for the game, we could only stay  through about the 6th inning.  But fortunately Alan did get to watch the hot dog race — his favorite gameday experience outside of running the bases — from the Home Run Porch on our way out.

The fun did not stop there, though.  Alan [unexpectedly] stayed awake the whole car ride home and we listened to the Tribe grab a 1-0 lead on the radio. When we got home — with Alan still wide awake — we built with Tinker Toys while watching the last couple innings on TV.

Alan stayed up all the way through the last out of the 1-0 Tribe victory — which came on a Cody Allen strikeout and was followed by us exchanging high fives.  When we were sitting on the couch, Alan’s ears perked up each time he heard the announcer say “Cody Allen.” It was the first time he recognized an Indians player by name.  As Jill later pointed out (via text), between Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, Alan’s name is covered by the Tribe. 🙂

I’m not sure if any night can top watching the Cavs win Game 7 of the NBA Finals with Alan on Father’s Day, but tonight at least enters the discussion.  What a night!

img_6597

img_6566

img_6619

img_6609

img_6627

11/3/16 Update

A few notes to add on this year’s World Series

-I attended Game 1 with Robbie (after watching the Cavs raise the championship banner earlier that night), the watch party for Game 4 with Robbie, the watch party for Game 5 with Shane, and Game 7 with Robbie, David, Therese and my Dad.

-Alan and I watched the beginning of Game 6 together at home. Prior to first pitch, we took advantage of the 70+ degree weather and played catch and hit balls at the park.  Alan used his new metal bat. 🙂

img_6754

Tribe Game No. 8 of 2016

img_6110

Tonight Alan closed out his 2016 MVP season with his first ever night game!  Someone is very happy that 6-year olds are allowed to stay out later. 🙂

Alan found out the best part about being a big kid and going to a night game was the shorter lines for kids activities. Alan barely had to wait to hit, throw, jump, and run!  It was a short night at the ballpark, though, as Alan was in a hurry to meet up with Tyler at Grandma Debbie’s for their sleepover (tomorrow is the big family party!).

Before leaving we tossed a ball around for a bit and said our goodbyes to Progressive Field.  Sadly, tonight was our last game of the season.

Thanks to Robbie and Jill for supplying our tickets this year!  The 2016 season was our favorite at the ballpark yet.  Can’t wait for spring 2017!

img_6094

img_6114

Tribe Game No. 7 of 2016

IMG_5897

Today Alan set a new career high by attending his 7th Tribe game of the season (17th overall).  All went according to plan: The skies were clear, the temperature was comfortable, and the Tribe won the rubber match with the Blue Jays by a score of 3-2 — thanks to a late 2-run Home Run by Jose Ramirez in the 8th!

Alan played his usual activities inside the clubhouse, then surprised me by asking to watch some of the game.  He was mainly interested in seeing the Hot Dog race, but I’ll take it.  We caught the whole 5th inning from the Kids Clubhouse viewing deck, before watching Mustard (Alan’s favorite) win today’s race.

Afterwards, Alan went to the family deck to practice hitting, running, and throwing.  I took a video of today’s sprint from a new angle.

Then it was time to run the bases and take pictures with Robbie and Jill, who drove down to the ballpark with us.  Alan was extra excited to have Robbie and Jill there, and he asked all three of us to run the bases with him.  We did our best to keep up, though Alan was ahead of the pack the whole time!

IMG_5854

IMG_5892

Tribe Game No. 6 of 2016

IMG_5761

Another Sunday; another fun day at the ballpark.  A pregame rain delay gave Alan an extra 35 minutes or so at the train table inside the Kids Clubhouse. In addition to playing with his usual toys inside the Clubhouse, Alan also posed for the pictures above and below for the first time — something I had been trying to get him to do all season. I thought they turned out pretty well!

Out on the Family Deck, Alan beat ketchup in a simulated race, hit in the Little League Park (pictured below from a new vantage point this time), and climbed the Lofton wall (which I caught on video for the first time). Alan finished off the afternoon by circling the bases!

IMG_5754

IMG_5764

Tribe Game No. 5 of 2016

IMG_5599

Today Alan and I watched the Indians close out the unofficial first half of the season at Progressive Field.  Alan had a surprisingly quick stay inside the clubhouse, as he was in a hurry to get to the big kid activities on the Family Deck!  Alan got to pitch to simulated batters, hit in the Little League Park (pictured above), jump at the Lofton wall, and run a simulated race (pictured below).

Thanks to a 46-minute 5th inning, Alan was finished with his activities well before the game was over.  So we sat and ate in the Right Field District, then got in line early to run the bases.  Alan was first in line and got to lead all the kids onto the field.  Alan loved being the line leader!  He brought me out of retirement to circle the bases with him this time. 🙂

IMG_5604

IMG_5615

IMG_5617

Just look at that form!!

Tribe Game No. 4 of 2016 / Father’s Day 2016

IMG_5225

Father’s Day 2016 was simply perfect.  It featured great moments with Alan and it may very well go down as the best day in Cleveland sports history.

The day started with Alan giving me a card and making me coffee, and it continued with Alan accompanying me to an Indians game.  As we approached the ballpark with other Indians fans, we passed Browns Backers who were tailgating on surface lots (just because). We also saw Cavaliers fans already claiming their Watch Party seats for Cavaliers-Warriors Game 7 in the parking garage across from the Q.  There was definitely a festive Cleveland sports atmosphere that encompassed all of our teams.  I had to stop and take a picture of Alan in the Cavaliers fan zone outside the Q (pictured below).

On the way into the ballpark, I took a picture of Alan next to the Jim Thome statue (pictured below).  Once in the Kids Clubhouse, Alan played with his usual favorite red car, the trains, and the roller coaster toy — which he rode approximately 15 times. But he also added a new green tractor to the playing rotation (pictured below).

We had some extra time to play because not only did we arrive early, but also the game went into extra innings.  So Alan ventured back to the big kids area of the Family Deck, after getting his feet wet there last time.  Alan took swings in the caged mini-field and hit a double in his only at-bat (pictured below).  He also ran a simulated race four times.  The fourth run came immediately after the ballpark erupted on Jose Ramirez’s GW single in the bottom of the 10th, which gave the Indians a 3-2 win.

After the exciting finish to the game – and the customary playing of “Cleveland Rocks” – Alan ran the bases on his own.  Afterwards, we stopped for our annual Father’s Day photo/seflie (pictured above). Alan was his happy and silly self as usual.  🙂

On the way home we made a quick stop to see Robbie, Tata, and Papa so that Alan could play his rescue game. After exchanging some well wishes for the Cavaliers, Alan and I went back home to watch our team in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (How awesome is that to write!).  With Alan watching and cheering by my side, of course the Cavaliers delivered a long-awaited World Championship back to Cleveland!

What a day and night with Alan – the best kid a dad could ever ask for and the true reason I got to celebrate today. Father’s Day is my favorite day of the year, and this one may very well go down as the best I’ll ever have.

IMG_5150

IMG_5155

IMG_5172

IMG_5227

Little Sluggers Part II

IMG_4993

Tonight Alan’s first season of baseball came to a close after a very successful six weeks.  Alan really showed improvement in hitting (both with and without a tee), throwing, and – most especially – catching balls in his glove.  He also learned the “ready position” for fielding and started to pick up the rules of the game.

Most importantly, his interest and enthusiasm for the game has continued to grow.  Alan got to hit leadoff the past two games because he was the quickest to get in line to hit.  He also got to pick his position in the field by always being the first one to run out of the dugout.

I personally loved getting to play the field and run the bases with Alan during games.  We’ll continue to practice together this summer, but I already can’t wait for next season!

IMG_4985

IMG_4988

Note 1: Just over Alan’s shoulder you can see his fan club: Debbie, Papa, Tata, Papa, and Lulu.

Note 2: Pictures were taken 6/9/16; Video of handshake line recorded 6/2/16.

Tribe Game No. 3 of 2016

IMG_4917

Alan and I went to the ballpark today for our third Indians game — and first win! — of 2016.  Alan followed his normal routine at first, as he drove his favorite red car and played with the trains for a couple hours.  But the routine changed as the afternoon went on thanks to a 3+ hour rain delay.

Alan took advantage of the extra time in the Kids Clubhouse — and diminishing attendance in the room — by repeatedly taking a turn on the slide (we’re talking 12-15 consecutive times) and racing on the mini roller coaster (probably 10-12 times).

But he didn’t stop there.  He also ventured outside the Kids Clubhouse to the area of the concourse where the older kids play.  There Alan tested his vertical jumping ability on the “Circus Catch” wall (think Kenny Lofton) and tracked his pitch speed (16 MPH) on the Pitching Simulator.   He was pretty good!

Alan told me that next time he’ll be ready to participate in a game with other kids on “Slider’s Field” (also located on the Family Deck).  He’s definitely become more confident in his abilities after being on a baseball team this spring.

Alan did not get a chance to run the bases postgame due to the lengthy rain delay, but that did not phase him.  He still had a blast with his car, trains, power tools, and interactive games!

IMG_4848

IMG_4872

IMG_4890

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2016

IMG_4527

Today it snowed, rained, and hailed, but at the end of the day, Alan ran the bases at Progressive Field like always following a Tribe Sunday home game.  It was Alan’s 12th Indians game of his life, and despite the unusual weather, it may have been his favorite trip to the ballpark.

Alan was thrilled to take the rapid downtown for the first time — and with Robbie and Jill no less!  The boy who marvels at all forms of transportation finally was able to add ‘riding the rapid’ to his personal resume.  Based on how much he enjoyed it, I think it will become our go-to method of getting to the ballpark from now on.

Once in the Kids Clubhouse, Alan spent the majority of his time at the train table once again, with some time on the slide and driving a car mixed in.  When it was time to run the bases postgame, Alan continued his drive towards independence by asking that he run alone and meet me at home plate.

While I’m sad to announce my retirement from running the bases, I’m definitely happy to see Alan take another step forward on his own!  And besides, this will save me the embarrassment of not being able to keep pace with him on the basepaths. 🙂

IMG_4511

IMG_4520

IMG_4522

IMG_4528

IMG_4531

Little Sluggers

IMG_4457

Tonight Alan kicked off his Little League baseball career at the first practice for Mayfield’s “Little Sluggers.”  Alan had a blast practicing hitting off a tee, catching pop-ups, taking grounders, running sprints, running more sprints, and ending practice with a cheer!

Alan is a member of the Tigers, which he got a kick out of since that’s his favorite animal.  His best friend from preschool, Joshua, is on the White Sox and his neighborhood friend, William, is on the Royals.  Alan was thrilled to find out they were playing in the league this summer!

IMG_4454

Tribe Game No. 1 of 2016

IMG_4382

After a long winter hiatus, Alan was thrilled to get back to watching Indians baseball at sunny Progressive Field today!  He was so excited that he could barely wait all morning.

We parked farther away from the ballpark than normal, since the Cavs were opening their playoff series against the Pistons at home today.  The bright side was that it allowed Alan to see more of downtown Cleveland.  And later, when we left the ballpark, we watched some of the Cavs game on the big TVs at the Cavs Fun Fest out on the plaza.

Once inside the ballpark, Alan checked in at the Kids Clubhouse to kick off year number two of being a Tribe Town MVP.  Alan’s haul today, in exchange for his $20 membership, included a “C” logo baseball, a script “Indians” shirt, an Indians lanyard and MVP badge, an Indians pen, a Jason Kipnis card, a Francisco Lindor fathead, a drawstring MVP bag, and a $10 gift shop credit, which Alan used to purchase an Indians Lego trainer’s cart (We put it together after we got home from the game and Alan loved it).

After loading up on gifts, Alan and I checked out the new additions to the Kids Clubhouse.  Most everything looked the same, except for one notable addition — a toy train set.  It was as if the Indians read Alan’s  mind.  He was content to play with the trains and a couple friends he met there all afternoon, but as the game wound down, I had to remind Alan how much he also enjoys the big, twisting two-story slide.  He took a couple turns down the slide, and then it was off to lead the line for running the bases as an MVP.

Down on the field, Alan hit a new milestone running the bases: he legit ran them. I tried to take a photo of him running but I could not.  I had to put my phone in my pocket and book it to keep close to him.   He can really move now!  Seems like just yesterday he was holding my hand on the bases and not knowing to follow the dirt path, but times have changed.  It seems odd to write this, but I have watched Alan grow up on the Progressive Field basepaths.

One thing did happen, though, to remind me of when Alan was a toddler:  He fell asleep in the car on the way home.  He had too much fun at the ballpark today. 🙂

Alan’s already told me he wants to go to every Sunday game this season, so we’ll be back again soon…

IMG_4353

IMG_4363

IMG_4368

Tribe Game No. 6 of 2015

IMG_3256

Alan wrapped up another fun baseball season today at Progressive Field!  The Indians beat the Red Sox and improved to 4-2 with Alan in attendance this season.  Alan drove his favorite car (video) in the Kids Clubhouse and led the line again during the postgame run around the bases (video).  This was Alan’s 10th career run!

Thanks to the Indians, Alan had a summer to remember.  He looked forward to Sundays for the chance to see the Tribe and regretted when the team had a Sunday road game.  He told me several times, “the Indians need me,” since he was a Tribe Town MVP this year.

Hopefully the winter flies by so Alan can get back out on the field in 2016!

IMG_3246

IMG_3262

IMG_3274

Tribe Game No. 5 of 2015

IMG_3147

Alan celebrated his 5th birthday a day early at the ballpark today, as we watched the Tribe beat the White Sox 6-3!

As an MVP, he led the line again and was among the first to get out on the field following the game.  Alan runs the bases so well now that I think Francona might want to use him as a pinch runner with the expanded rosters in September.  Aunt Jill and I had to really motor around the bases just to keep up with him!

In addition to participating in our usual Kids Clubhouse activities, we also had baseball cards made of ourselves for the first time – one with both of us and one of just Alan. I love how they turned out!

Alan also enjoyed driving a new red truck in the clubhouse…and pretending to crash it into other red cars. 🙂

IMG_3153

IMG_3090

IMG_3155         IMG_3136

IMG_3113   

Tribe Game No. 4 of 2015

IMG_2963

Today Alan “led the line” running the bases postgame following the Indians win over the Angels.  We lined up early, during the 8th inning, and Alan got to skip to the front of the line since he’s an MVP.

It worked out pretty well that Alan finished playing in the Kids Clubhouse early and we tried out that perk for the first time.  Getting a head start in the line allowed Alan to have enough space to fly around the base paths.  And he had an audience while he ran, since not all of the fans had left their seats yet.

Alan left the ballpark today with an “Onion” souvenir toy, to go along with the “Ketchup” and “Mustard” hot dog mascot toys that we picked up last time.  He was happy to pick it out himself!

Conversation with Chris Antonetti

This week I decided to reach back out to Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti and we had the following email exchange.  He’s still a good guy:

Hello Chris,
My son Alan and I met you outside the ballpark on a non-gameday about three years ago when Alan was 2 years old.  I just wanted to write tonight to say hello and let you know that 5-year-old Alan is growing up to be quite the Indians fan.  Back then you gave us tickets for Alan’s first ballgame, and fast forward to now, he’s a Tribe Town MVP and we make sure to go to at least one Sunday home game per month.
Alan absolutely loves the new slide in the Kids Clubhouse and loves running the bases after the game.  I think it’s great what you and the front office have done for young Tribe fans.  I would have loved to have these experiences as a child, but I’m so glad to experience them with Alan now.  We sign up for playing catch on the field at every chance we get, so I’m joining in the fun as well.  Thank you so much for the opportunities that the Indians give families to create memories at the ballpark!
Attached is a photo that I took of Alan on the day we met you, as well as a photo that Alan and I took on Father’s Day this summer.  It’s now our tradition to go to a game every year on Father’s Day when the Tribe is in Cleveland.
Thanks again and Go Tribe!
Scott Miller

Chris’ reply:

Hey Scott.  Thanks so much for the note and for sharing the photos.  Very cool to see them.  I’m thrilled to hear that you and Alan continue to create new memories and traditions to share around Tribe games.  Hopefully, I’ll bump into you at a game soon.  In the meantime, all the best and go Tribe.  Chris

Tribe Game No. 3 of 2015

IMG_2836 IMG_2848

Alan and I went to our third Sunday afternoon Tribe game of the season today!  Alan, per usual, had a blast in the Kids Clubhouse and ran the bases after the game (and fell asleep on the way home).  It’s always a good time when we head to the ballpark together.  And today Alan also got to see Robbie and Jill at the ballpark!

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2015 / Father’s Day 2015

IMG_2682

The Indians were playing at home today, so Alan and I spent a perfect Father’s Day together at the ballpark!  The weather was spectacular (despite a forecast of rain) and we got to play catch together on the field as part of the Indians Father’s Day tradition.

The MVP pictured above [admiring a blimp overhead] got a new “Block C” hat as a giveaway, played in the Kids Clubhouse (video), ran not-one-but-TWO laps around the bases (video), and showed-off his arm in the outfield.  Alan and I played catch from a pretty good distance because the ball scooted so well along the finely-cut outfield grass.

Today it hit me all of a sudden that Alan is almost five now, and he really looks and acts like it.  He ran the bases today by himself for the first time, while I waited for him at the end.  That was a big step for him!

Today was such a nice day for us both.

P.S.  Special thanks to David Murphy, whose game-winning sac fly in the 9th gave the Indians a 1-0 victory over the Rays and kept Alan’s wait time for going on the field at a minimum!  Sure helped all the parents out right there.

IMG_2657

IMG_2629

Tribe Game No. 1 of 2015

IMG_2419

You’re looking at the newest member of the Tribe Town MVP Club!

As a proud new MVP attending his first Indians game of 2015, Alan got a souvenir baseball, drawstring bag, jersey, and badge w/lanyard.  The badge allows Alan to move to the front of the line not only at the Kids Clubhouse, but also at the lineup for running the bases!

The first thing we did today after picking up Alan’s gear was head to the redesigned Kids Clubhouse.  Alan’s favorite addition was the two-story slide, which he tried out several times.  He loves it!

Video:  Kids Clubhouse Slide

In addition to playing on the slide, Alan drove his favorite cars and played in the walk-in houses.  After a couple hours in the Kids Clubhouse, Alan did his job, which he takes seriously as an MVP, and ran the bases!  I ran with him this time, but pretty soon he’s not going to need me out there anymore.

IMG_2430

IMG_2452

Things Alan Does

IMG_0969

Lately, in addition to enjoying going to preschool, Alan has been enjoying the following pastimes:

  1. Playing baseball in the house.  This includes playing catch and hitting off a tee (I don’t mind).
  2. Making coffee (for me).  I have a Keurig, but Alan prefers the powder/mixing method.
  3. Taking my phone and running with it while shouting, “You can’t catch me!”
  4. Related to 3), taking pictures of his cars and his favorite TV shows with my phone.  Sometimes the pictures are in black & white, as somehow he figured out how to change the settings!

Cleveland Professional Baseball Grounds

IMG_1112

To cap off our exciting baseball weekend together, Alan and I made a quick stop at the site of Cleveland Municipal Stadium (now Cleveland Browns Stadium) immediately following the Indians game.  Since we had already visited League Park yesterday and Progressive Field today, we decided to complete the trifecta and visit all three Cleveland professional baseball grounds in the same weekend.

Since Alan had his glove and a ball at each venue, we also completed  a goal of mine and played catch together at all three sites.  At League Park, I caught one pitch from Alan next to the grandstands behind home plate.  At Progressive Field, I caught one pitch from Alan on the dirt track near the Indians dugout.  And at the Municipal Stadium site, I caught one pitch from Alan outside the University Hospitals Gate of Cleveland Browns Stadium.

When we played catch, Alan had me wear his glove and he threw me three strikes in three tries.  He also let me snap a photo of him before or after each toss (pictured below).  In the pictures he’s proudly wearing his Kipnis #22 shirt, which he debuted this weekend.  I was wearing a Lofton #7 jersey (pictured above).  Alan liked that we were both “in uniform.”

IMG_1123         IMG_1121 

IMG_1128

Tribe Game No. 3 of 2014

IMG_1056

Today Alan and I were back at Progressive Field for another Tribe game!

Following the game, in his 4th career ‘Kids Run the Bases’ event, Alan had a true break-out performance.  Without any hesitation, Alan sprinted around the bases and finished with his fastest time by far!  It was the first time he did not want to hold my hand, and I had to run too just to keep up with him.

Prior to the main event of running the bases, Alan and I saw the new Jim Thome statue (pictured below), and also spent an hour in the Kids Clubhouse.  Alan patiently waited for his favorite ride-in police car, then had a blast with it until the game ended.  After Cody Allen nailed down a tight save for the Tribe, the race was on!

IMG_0985

IMG_0991

IMG_1060

League Park Rededication

IMG_0944

Today Alan and I ventured to the long-awaited re-opening of League Park!  It was a special day for Cleveland baseball and I was very glad to share it with Alan.

During the on-field ceremony, we toured the grounds and took pictures.  We sat in the grandstands, visited the Baseball Heritage Museum (located in the original 1900s ticket booth that still stands at the corner of Lexington & E 66th — pictured below), walked the perimeter of the field, and climbed the outfield fences (at least Alan did).

It was great to see the field back in use after so many years of neglect.  Shortly after I visited the League Park site in 2010 for the first time, Alan and I both signed an online petition (Yes, Alan too) and made a donation to the restoration project.  At that time there was not yet support from the local government for a restoration project, but in mid-to-late 2011 the idea of a community field took shape and $7M of funding was committed towards preserving Indians history — which led us to today.

Following its rededication as a community baseball field, League Park now officially becomes the oldest existing Major League ball grounds in the country(!), dating back to its original opening in 1891.

IMG_0888

IMG_0924

IMG_0826

IMG_0874

IMG_0920

IMG_0942

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2014

IMG_0698

My little ballplayer returned to Progressive Field to run the bases again today!

As soon as we arrived at the ballpark, Alan asked to go down on the field.  It took some negotiating, but I was able to convince him to wait until after the game…

In the meantime, we bought an Indians car at the team shop, took some pictures from the centerfield bridge to the parking garage, and played at the Indians play area.  Then when Yan Gomes sent the Tribe home a winner on a homer in the 8th, Alan got to run on the field.

This was Alan’s best performance in three career outings running the bases.  He held my hand until he was midway between 2nd and 3rd, and then he took off by himself and sprinted for home!

IMG_0693

IMG_0711

IMG_0723

First Tribe Game of the Year

IMG_0483

My future pro ran the bases following the Indians game this afternoon!  He was excited to get down on the field at “the baseball place” for the first time this year, as evident in the picture above.  He ran with a big smile on his face and a new Indians car in hand (purchased earlier in the day at the Indians Team Shop).

It was the first of at least three, maybe four, times that Alan and I will head to the ballpark for a Sunday afternoon home game this season.  Definitely one of our favorite things to do together.

IMG_0337

IMG_0341

Alan’s First Career Swings

IMG_0245 IMG_0246

Over the winter Alan picked out his first baseball glove and baseball.  This week we bought a tee ball stand and bat.  And tonight Alan took his first career swings!

Needless to say, I was very proud.  Once the weather warms up, we’ll move outside onto the grass.  It’s going to be a fun summer!

Pictured above: Alan’s ferocious swing; Not pictured above: Daddy getting hit by the ball.