The Indians were back at home on Father’s Day after a brief 1-year hiatus, and Alan and I celebrated with the Indians for the 4th time in the last 6 years. We made the day even more memorable by playing baseball on all three sites where professional baseball has been played in Cleveland — thus hitting our baseball trifecta for the first time since August 2014.
The day began for us at League Park, where about 400 people (according to the League Park Twitter account) gathered to play catch between 11am and 1pm (before first pitch of a semi-pro game). Alan and I parked on Lexington Ave right near the 290′ sign in the right field corner. We saw there was quite a bit of open space in the expansive outfield, so Alan asked if he could bring his bat and hit. I only had two balls in the car — one Rawlings “C” ball that I had just bought at Target that morning and a neon, rubberized “C” ball that was in Alan’s equipment bag — but we made it work anyway.
Note: We actually had a third baseball – an “All-Star Dad” gold ball that Alan had just given me for Father’s Day, but I didn’t want to get that one dirty!
I ended up pitching to Alan in medium deep right-center field, with him hitting towards the wall. The rubberized ball had some nice roll to it, so Alan was able to reach the outfield wall on his best hit. We also played catch in addition to hitting. In all, we played for about 15-20 minutes before heading to Progressive Field — which was no easy task in the record-breaking heat (the high of 94 degrees at Hopkins airport was a record for June 17). Alan described it as though we were “muffins being cooked in the oven.”
Despite the heat, we still had fun and plan to return to League Park next Father’s Day, when the organizers of the Baseball Heritage Museum hope to set a world record for the largest game of catch! As original League Park petition-signers back in 2010 and 2012 (to rehab the grounds for baseball purposes), Alan and I definitely want to be a part of that event!
When we arrived at Progressive Field, we headed straight for the air-conditioned team shop. After cooling down from our walk to the ballpark, we went up to the Kids Clubhouse. The line was long due to the number of families at the ballpark, but Alan wanted to wait it out for the train table. We spent about three innings in line and four innings inside.
Afterwards, we made our way to Heritage Park to meet with other season ticket holders who had used their points to play Catch on the Field. We watched Cody Allen work a quick 9th to cap the Indians 4-1 win over the Twins (the first MLB win of Shane Bieber’s career) from the Frank Robinson statue.
When it was time to enter the field, we dodged the sprinklers and set up to play catch in right field. The rubberized ball skipped pretty well along the outfield grass, so we played from a pretty good distance. The Indians gave us a ball to play catch with as well (another Rawlings “C” ball, only softer and with a blue panel). We made it for approximately 15 minutes before Alan sought out one of the sprinklers to cool off.
After we finished playing catch, Alan got in line to run the bases for the first time this season. Following a photograph by the dugout, we sat in the stands and drank water before trekking back to our car.
But of course we weren’t done just yet. After the Tribe game, we headed to the grounds of Old Municipal and played catch outside the same University Hospitals gate where we played 3 years ago. This time, though, there was a Jim Brown statue at the gate, and Alan got to read about Brown’s career accomplishments. Alan commented Jim Brown must’ve been the “LeBron James of the Browns.”
So in summary, Alan go to hit, run, and throw where the Indians have played baseball for the past 127 years. And I got to have another ideal Father’s Day with my buddy!