I went to Progressive Field on Monday, despite an iffy forecast of afternoon showers. When we arrived, it looked as if it could start raining at any moment.
At one point I felt a drop or two, but the rain never materialized, and the Indians took early batting practice, which I watched with Amy, Olivia, and Nick from just outside the Toyota Home Run Porch.
There were several balls that landed in the seats, but the ushers would later pick most of them up later and pocket them for themselves.
Before the gates opened, Nick and I played catch. It was about the fifth consecutive day that I had thrown, and my arm was feeling it. I threw a lot sidearm or 3/4 because my arm was sore.
When the gates opened, I ran in and found nothing.
After a long dry spell to start BP, an Indian hit a ball into the trees at Heritage Park, which I just reached in and grabbed to put me on the board:
My second ball was a clean home run catch here:
And ball #3 was a clean home run catch here on the fly:
which resulted in me being booed because a twelve year old was two rows in front of me, and the ball sailed over his glove by a foot and into mine. I didn’t give him the ball, and he and his dad ended up getting at least four that I saw, since there was no one there.
That was it for the Indians BP. The White Sox BP was pretty bad, as it featured a majority of right handed batters. To make it just a little more difficult, all of the Sox players had pullovers on, so I could only really identify a few of their players such as John Danks and Will Ohman. Plus, a trainer’s son was snagging 85% of the balls in right center, so not a lot of players were snagging flies near the outfield fence for me to put a request in.
I got shut out until 6PM when I found ball #4 in the left field bleachers. Somehow an usher missed it, as it was tucked neatly under a bleacher near a support.
Ball #5 was a disaster. I hate snagging in left field because its so steep. Tyler Flowers, a young catcher with a ton of power hit a home run at me. I started running up the steps in the bleachers, thinking it was way over my head. As I turned to find the ball, the struck me square in the back, bounced around, and rolled down a few rows, where I picked it up. It should’ve been an easy catch for me, but I botched it. I had wanted a Flowers ball, so I guess I should be happy that I at least got one, but still, I feel like I’m off to a rusty start to the 2012 season.
At 6:10, the White Sox ended BP, clearing the field, except for the infielders. In a rare scene, the Sox took infield practice.
It began with the coach hitting balls to the outfielders and working on cutting throws, then it progressed to double plays, etc. It was pretty cool to watch. I stood right behind the dugout and waited.
There were no other White Sox fans around, so I figured I had a good shot to get a ball.
It worked, as Mark Salas tossed me a well worn ball that had been used in infield practice for ball #6.
While at work today, Amy sent me this text:
There’s something waiting for you at the door! 🙂
I knew what it was. My Indians season tickets!
I raced home and met Amy and Olivia on the porch, as they were waiting with the tickets. We went inside and I opened the fedEx box. Here were the contents:
The package featured a Day Planner, which was the nicest of the three plans that I received. The Pirates sent out no such planner, the Reds sent a cheap calendar, but the Indians sent a nice bound book.
Inside there is a day by day space for you to plan your days around Indians games. Game dates and TV information is also listed.
The beginning of the planner has 18 pages of information for season ticket holders about their benefits, exchange privileges etc.
Next I looked at the part that is most exciting. The season ticket books. The covers of the books were beautiful, featuring Progressive Field beneath a setting sun.
This cover blows away the Pirates cover, and beats the Reds cover too, in my opinion.
I had high expectations when I opened the Indians ticket book to check out what the tickets themselves look like.
Are you ready to see?
Here’s sheet one, games 1-6
And sheet two, games 7-12
The tickets feature Justin Masterson, Shin Shoo Choo, Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Manny Acta, Carlos Santana, Travis Hafner, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Grady Sizemore. They then cycle through several more times through game 81.
What do you think of the design?
I think its far too repetitive and boring. I like the idea of featuring players on the tickets. The Pirates and Reds also featured their stars on their tickets. However, the Indians tickets just look bland and plain after you look at them for a bit. All of the player portraits are painted in the exact same style, with the exact same background.
I’m going to go with Reds as the best design, Pirates as second best, and Indians third for 2012 season ticket designs.
The package also contained a letter from the Director of Season Ticket Sales.
Dear Mr Jabs:
The Indians 112th Opening Day as a charter member of the American League is fast approaching and we look forward to having you at Progressive Field for the 2012 season. The Tribe’s strong campaign in 2011 positioned us well to achieve our ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland. Our talented young group of players has shown success at the Major League level and has propelled us from a developing team to contenders.
Our commitment to you, our most loyal fans, extends well beyond the field. We are extremely proud of our heritage as one of Cleveland’s longest standing institutions and strive every day to live our guiding commitments to create memories, connect generations and celebrate families. Baseball is unique in its ability to produce special moments nearly every day and we strive to foster an environment that celebrates the heritage of the game and the Indians, and gives you superior fan experiences that create a one of a kind, multi-generational memories.
Enclosed please find your Indians Season Ticket Holder Packet of Information which includes:
*Season ticket books
*Club Seat Test Drive Vouchers
*2012 Season Ticket Holder Guide and Planner
*Indians Team Shop Discount Coupons
In addition, we have a number of exciting events for 2012 including post-game concerts, Indians Rally Alley Days, Fireworks Shows, Dollar Dog Nights, Kids Fun Days, and more. Also, five bobble head nights and four replica jersey nights are on the calendar, offering the first 15,000 fans through the gates on each of these nights a keepsake of one of their favorite Indians players, past and present.
Last June, we added a dedicated staff to provide you service and maximize your investment in the Cleveland Indians. This season, look to hear from your Client Service Specialist often with updates and invitations to exclusive events. If at any time you have questions related to your season ticket package, please call 216-420-HITS, and we will connect you to your Service Specialist.
We thank you for your support and loyalty.
Director, Season Ticket Sales.
By the way, if anyone is every going to be at Progressive Field and needs a 20% coupon, let me know – they sent me 12 of them.
So, ticket wise, I’m all ready to go for the 2012 season. I have tickets to every game that I plan on attending except for the games that I’m heading to out West. I’ll probably just turn to stubhub for those.
There’s only 21 more days until Opening Day. Wow. Also, you have until Sunday to win a CC Sabathia shirt. To enter, all you have to do is comment.
I have used the site stubhub to buy tickets in the past. I’ve bought tickets for far below face value on the site. Now that I’m a full season ticket holder for three different teams, I can’t attend every game, obviously.
So, I turned to stubhub to sell the tickets because it is the most used internet site to purchase tickets. I was surprised at how easy it is to sell tickets.
Here’s a walkthrough if you’d like to consider selling your tickets on stubhub. First, select the game or games you’d like to sell. It’s really easy if you’re a season ticket holder, you can just check every box. If you’re only attending several games, then leave those boxes unchecked as you will not want to sell them on stubhub.
The second step is to say if you have the tickets or not. Since I don’t have my season tickets, I picked a time when I definitely knew I’d have them.
Also on this screen, you will need to type in the quantity of tickets you have, and their location.
Next, is the fun part – pricing your tickets. Stubhub lets you see the average unsold ticket price along with the average sold ticket price in a box to to the right of the game each game. It’s awesome. Having that data is really helpful.
I would suggest listing your tickets competitively, especially is you’re like me and have tickets in the bleachers, where there’s lots of competition in terms of volume of tickets available in the same section on stubhub.
Another cool feature, is ‘See Your Payout.’ You can click it and a little drop down box will tell you exactly how much you’ll be paid after stubhub takes its commission. You can easily edit the ticket price to get your desired net amount.
There is a lot of competition on stubhub among sellers. To be competitive during weekday games, I would need to price my tickets for less than $10. To break even on a ticket in the bleachers, I’d have to sell for $10.59. But look what tickets go for on the first weekday game of the year:
There’s lots of tickets available for $4-$5. And, I remember at the end of the year last year, many of those tickets cost less than $1. I once bought tickets from Stubhub for 25 cents (which was like $5.50 or whatever after fees). Still, that seller made nothing from those tickets.
That’s why stubhub can be great for buyers. However, if it were a high demand game, the buyers would pay over face value.
Anyway, after setting prices, stubhub lets you choose if you want to be paid via check or paypal. After submitting your credit card info so that your address can be verified, a summary screen comes up. It is a list of every game that you listed along with the price, and your payout (what you’ll receive after fees)
If everything looks great, you just click list tickets and you’re done.
The only other thing that I’ll need to do is when the tickets arrive, I’ll simply need to type in the ticket barcode numbers into stubhub. Stubhub will then deliver the tickets electronically to the buyer’s email address with the barcode generated on them. I don’t need to worry about mailing any tickets, or leaving tickets at will call. It’s great!
Its an easy to use site. I just thought I’d spread the word. I wish I would’ve attempted to use stubhub last year.
Only 69 more days until opening day…
I decided to head to Cleveland after work today. Originally, I would’ve liked to have attended yesterday’s too, but I wasn’t feeling well and fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak was already in Cleveland and reported a rained out batting practice on Wednesday.
I left work and drove to Cleveland and didn’t get there until 4:50 PM. Batting practice had began at 4:30. When I arrived, I had a few bad breaks and didn’t snag anything for the first twenty minutes I was there. I didn’t even get to see the good Indians batters like Hafner, Thome, Santana or Sizemore. I was regretting even going. Why did I go? Well, I wanted to move up another spot on this list and make my 2011 season a top 5 season. By that I mean, the number of balls that I snagged would be fifth all time.
Last year I was the all time single season record holder with 544 before Zack Hample blew by me with a 30 stadium 130 game season.
Here’s the list:
My first ball of the day was a ball that bounced into the trees in Heritage Park. I ran over and found the ball waiting just under the wall, so I reached in and grabbed it before an usher came rushing down and started looking for it as well. I had already grabbed it, so I just left. Since when do ushers try to get balls out of the trees in Heritage Park?
My second ball of the day was a nice catch that took some effort. An Indians blasted a home run to my right. I ran up about seven rows and cut across into an empty row and caught it on the fly backhanded here:
The White Sox BP typically sucks in Cleveland because they don’t have too many good lefties, and all fans are confined to right field until 6PM on weekdays. Not a good combination. However, I had some more luck.
Ball #4 of the day was completely lucky and random. Will Ohman fielded a ball near the wall and flipped it up over his shoulder without looking. I was standing four rows deep right here:
And the ball was directly to me. I didn’t have to budge an inch. Later in BP, Ohman screamed at the crowd that he would get the balls on the field and keep them, and if they wanted a ball to catch a home run. There were dozens and dozens of kids screaming ‘HERE HERE HERE’ on every ball that was hit to right field. I can see why he was annoyed. Even more annoying, is that it pretty much ruined it for everyone. The White Sox pretty much completely stopped throwing balls into the crowd for the rest of BP.
At 6:00, I had thought about running over and getting a ball about 12 rows up in left field that all of the ushers had missed, but Nick Pelescak was going to be going for the same ball, so I decided to instead head into foul territory at 6.
There was some major competition there, as a big line of people, including several ballhawks rushed in to the seats. In my haste, I dropped my Cleveland Stick. I had a decided that I would run down and see if there’s any Easter Eggs, and then come back and grab it a minute later.
When I ran over I found ball #6. It wasn’t just any ball though… It was an Angels 50th Anniversary Commemorative Ball. Rare.
And weird, since neither of the teams had recently played the Angels. The White Sox played them last on August 24th.
I then went back to grab my Cleveland Stick but it was gone. Someone had stolen it. Or threw it away. It was a terrible loss. If you’re new to this blog, I use the Cleveland Stick to snag unreachable balls out of Heritage Park like this one:
Luckily today was my final game in Cleveland, so I’ll have a new device for next year.
After having no luck in left field, I made my way over to the White Sox dugout and waited for batting practice to be over. I usually never do this, but I couldn’t pass it up. Look how many White Sox fans were waiting to greet the team as they ran off the field:
As a result, I got third base coach to toss me ball #7. He’s about to duck into the dugout in the picture below (between the two fans):
After snagging my seventh ball, I left thereby closing the book on Cleveland for the 2011 season.
I made it home at exactly 9 PM and Amy and I watched the Season Premier of The Office.
Here’s today’s baseballs:
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found, 1 device)
Season: 409 balls (173 hit, 86 thrown, 87 device, 56 found)
Games: 75 games
Average: 5.45 per game
Career: 1,531 balls
In my original schedule of games that I planned on attending, I had penned in five consecutive games in Cleveland this week, Tuesday through Saturday. However, with a new baby and new house, I was only able to make one game. I chose Friday, simply because the Twins have a bevy of left handed hitters, and the rest of the stadium opens at 5:30, thereby thinning out the crowd in right field a half hour earlier than during the week.
I had some issues on the way to Cleveland, as my car overheated (see the gauge up at the H?) and I had to stop and get coolant at a WalMart.
Therefore, I wasn’t first in line, I was ninth. To make matters worse, at 4:30, when the gates were to open – the supervisor realized that he didn’t have the scanners for the tickets. This caused a seven minute delay, meaning I would miss most of the Indians first, and best hitting group.
When the gates did open, the nine people in front of me (five of which had gloves) dilly-dallied getting batting practice T-Shirts – which are given away to the first 100 fans each day. This provided me an opportunity to run around them and be the first one to enter the seating area.
I immediately found two balls in the front row in right field. The first of which had a BP stamp on it.
While standing in line I overheard an Indians fan talking about the BP stamped balls and saying that they could be turned in for gift cards or something. After BP was over, I found THIS article with information about the BP balls, but it was pretty vague, so I’m still wondering what to do when the green stamped balls. Any help? Anyone?
There were a few people running around looking for baseballs, so I ran over to Heritage Park with another ballhawk on my tail and spotted ball #3 within reach just under the wall that separates the Heritage Park monuments from the trees. I reached in and grabbed it without having time to snap a picture.
I returned to the seats to play for home run balls, but not for long, as Travis Hafner blasted one into the trees in Heritage Park. I ran back over and used the Cleveland stick to snag that one.
When the first group wrapped things up around 4:45, I checked the bullpens for baseballs and noticed a real easy one in the visitors bullpen. I glove tricked that ball for ball #5,
and a few minutes later got Chris Perez to toss me ball #6 in center field.
I had only been there about twenty minutes to that point and had already snagged six baseballs. My goal coming into the game was nine, which would’ve given me 250 career balls at Progressive Field, but things slowed way down after that.
The Indians BP sucked the rest of the way, and the Twins had only really one decent group. It was their second group, which featured Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, and Jason Kubel. Those guys wore out the two sections closest to the visitors bullpen with baseballs.
Unfortunately, I was only able to snag one on the fly – a clean catch of a Thome home run for ball #7. I had a lot of close calls, so I headed over to left field for the last group, but failed to snag anything.
I also tried the dugout after batting practice, but all of the balls that were tossed into the crowds went to kids.
So, I went home – and a two hour and 15 minute trip ended up taking about three and a half? Why? Well, because my car overheated three times.
It’s not supposed to look like that under the hood:
Coolant was spraying out somewhere, and I have an obvious radiator problem. The third time I stopped I basically broke down, as my car started clunking and smoking.
After letting it sit for awhile and adding more coolant and water to the radiator, I was able to make it home, but just barely.
I have an appointment to take my car into the shop on Monday, which means that I won’t be able to make batting practice unless I can get a ride. So, are there any other ballhawks that would be interested in giving me a ride to/from batting practice? I’ll pay you. $20. That’s like a half tank of gas. Otherwise, plan B would be to bike 14 miles to PNC Park, which no doubt would suck. Plan C would be to take a bus, but the closest bus stop is a half hour walk away, and I’ve never, ever taken a public bus before.
Anyhow, here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 7 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 3 found)
Season: 339 balls (141 hit, 73 thrown, 80 device, 45 found)
Games: 64 games
Career: 1,461 balls
Amy and I checked out of the hotel around 11:30, and met up with Nick, who had gone out for breakfast. We had five hours to kill before the gates of Progressive Field would open at 4:30, so we walked around Cleveland.
I originally wanted to find a park so I could sit down and read the paper and get out of the sun for a bit. So, we began walking toward Settler’s Landing Park, which I saw on a map on my Iphone. It looked like it was on a little river, which turned out to be a canal. I thought there would be some trees, picnic tables and benches.
I was wrong. We were greeted by a hulking, rusting bridge that looked like it had been swept up by a tornado and driven into the ground vertically. It was such an eyesore.
I guess decades ago it was a drawbridge from a rail line which obviously no longer exists.
We walked around the park, and found nothing but homeless people, and giant sized mushrooms.
After a couple photos of the underside of Cleveland,
we headed toward lake Erie, and walked around the Cleveland Browns Football stadium.
Nick then headed to get lunch and to the ballpark, while Amy and I explored the perimeter of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
and visited the Cleveland Science Center, where we grabbed a bite to eat at a Pizza Hut express, and brushed up on our periodic table of elements. Can you name all of them in the photo?
When it came time to enter the stadium, things got off to a tough start. I only got one ball from the Indians. Chris Perez threw a ball toward a couple of fans in the front row, but they interfered with each other and both missed it. You’ll see me standing there, several rows back.
The ball bounced on the concrete and ended up maybe ten rows back, where I grabbed it to get on the board:
The Indians finished hitting at 5:05. When the Pirates came out, the bad luck continued, and I still only had one baseball when 5:30 rolled around and I headed to left field:
Over in left field, my luck changed as Dusty Brown tossed me ball #2 of the day.
I was hoping that my Pirates gear would make me stand out over the other fans.
I headed back over to center field for the Pirates second group, which featured several lefties.
While there, I caught a Lyle Overbay home run on the fly. It was a full extension leaping catch in this area.
The next batter, Garrett Jones, hit a home run that I caught the next section over, also on the fly for ball #4.
I headed back over to left field for the final group, where Jose Tabata tossed me my fifth ball of the day. He’s on the right, talking with Jose Veras:
I finished batting practice in left field, and ended up with five baseballs on the day.
After batting practice Amy and I spun the Prize Wheel. She won a Duncan Donuts buy one get one free iced coffee coupon, and I won a free drink from Circle K stores. Both garbage prizes. Blah.
After that, we got ice cream cones as we made our way to our seats in the upper deck.
It was a losing battle against the ice cream, which melted faster than we could eat it. Amy’s hands were a mess.
After running to the bathroom to get wet paper towels for us to clean up, it was time for the first pitch.
Our seats were in Section 556, Row X, which was the very last row in the upper deck, and they were great. There was a strong breeze the entire time we were there, and it really kept us cool.
I wish we could’ve stayed for the entire game, but we had to leave around 7:40 to walk back to the bus stop to catch our bus headed back to Pittsburgh.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 3 thrown)
Season: 232 balls (89 hit, 52 thrown, 56 device, 226 found)
Games: 38 games
Average: 6.11 balls per game
Career: 1,354 balls
I booked Amy and I tickets on megabus.com for a bus headed to Cleveland for the Pirates-Indians series. It cost me $3 to go there, and $5 for the return fare, since I booked it a couple weeks in advance. You can’t beat that.
This was my second game of the year at Progressive Field, which is way down from last year when I attended 19.
Upon entering the stadium and looking for baseballs, I found one in Heritage Park in center field. Unreachable with my arm, I used the ‘Cleveland stick’ to reach under the wall and snag this one.
My second ball of the day was a Travis Hafner home run that landed several rows behind me that I was able to grab before a couple of other fans.
Moments later, Hafner hit another home run that I snagged on the fly for ball #3.
A couple minutes after that, I noticed a ball land in the trees of Heritage Park. I ran over and was able to reach in and grab it without the use of any device.
In the meantime, there were a few balls in the bullpen. I ended up glove tricking one of them after at least 10 attempts at knocking the ball closer to the wall. Once the ball was close enough to the wall, I reeled it in for ball #5, and was given a round of applause by those fans who watched the whole ordeal.
When the Pirates came out to hit, one of the Buccos hit a home run that landed on the bullpen roof in center field.
I used the Cleveland stick – which reaches 6 feet (plus at least three feet of my arm length) to just barely reach it.
Less than a minute after snagging ball #6, Daniel McCutchen ran past while doing sprints and flipped a ball up into the stands, right to me. I didn’t even ask for it. Maybe it was my bright gold shirt. Regardless, it was my seventh of the day.
I finished batting practice in left field and was tossed #8 by Jeff Karstens. I had given up asking Jeff Karstens for balls in 2009, because he had completely ignored every request that I ever put in for a ball. I didn’t even ask for this particular ball. A batter hit it off the left field wall, Jeff ran over, picked it up, looked at me, and fired it right to me.
After batting practice, I was thrown ball #9 in the Pirates bullpen by bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade.
I left right after that, despite needing just one more for double digits. Amy was waiting in the hotel, and I wanted to go out to eat with her.
We went to East 4th street, where there are a few restaurants and was seemingly the only stretch of any street in Cleveland that wasn’t abandoned and boarded up.
We ate at Zocalo – a Mexican restaurant, and it was fantastic. The entrance was a little iffy, but everything else was first class.
After that, we walked back to the hotel room for a brief 15 minute pit stop, and then went back out to explore the city. We walked around for an hour or two, and watched the fireworks after the game from the rooftop on a parking garage downtown.
Those couple hours were by far my favorite of the entire weekend trip.
Game: 9 balls (3 hit, 3 thrown, 3 device)
Season: 227 balls (87 hit, 49 thrown, 56 device, 226 found)
Games: 37 games
Average: 6.14 balls per game
Career: 1,349 balls