Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm so sorry everybody for taking so long to post this.  Busy days combined with bad luck when trying to post this.  But it is finally here!!

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Cleveland.  I had such an amazing time and met so many fantastic people.  I hope I don’t leave anybody out but I apologize if I do.  I was contacted several weeks ago by a writer for Matthew Van Wormer.  He asked if he could do a story on me and then a follow up story after me game in Cleveland.  I was more then happy to answer his questions and the story ran back in March.  Matt asked me if he could show me around when I’m in town.  Sounded like a great plan to me so I was happy to accept his offer.  As the season approached Matt seemed to get more and more excited about.  He said he had some special things in store for me!

The day of the game I was due to meet up with Matt at Melt Bar and Grill.  There are a few locations but I met him at the original in Lakewood, Ohio.  I had never met Matt before so we were standing by the door with our group’s texting each other when we realized we were standing next to each other.  We waited a few minutes and got our table.  My group which consisted of Melissa, Christian, myself, and #andRyan looked at the massive menu as Matt and Jason, another writer, and his girlfriend gave us recommendations on what to get.  I got the Parmageddon, a sandwich contraption consisting of toasted bread, a pirogue, sour kraut, and some cheese.  I also tried a great lakes brewing company beer that was named for the Indians fan that beats his drum at every game.  I don’t remember what everybody else got but we all loved what we ate.  As we finished up lunch and were getting ready to leave the owner of Melt came over and introduced himself to me.  He wasn’t what I was expecting in a restaurant owner but you could see why this restaurant is successful.  The atmosphere of Melt is unlike any restaurant I’ve been to.  The employees don’t wear uniforms they just show up in whatever they want it appeared.  It had a very cool hipster feel to it and the owner Matt Fish lead the way. 

Once we were finished with lunch we headed to the ballpark area.  We got to the park and retrieved our tickets from will call.  On the way to our gate we were greeted by Erin Parker an employee of the Cleveland Indians.  She guided us inside the gate and we made our way to the field.  The Indians were stretching out and getting warmed up.  I was only yards for the Cleveland Indians and I’m sure I had a giant smile on my face.  Erin escorted us behind a rope that was placed behind home plate.  We were informed that we were supposed to stay behind that area.  I was then introduced to Anne Keegan who would be my chauffer for the rest of the evening.  Me and my friends looked around in awe and took pictures.  Matt got the attention of long time Indians broadcaster Tom Hamiliton and had him come over and talk to me.  I told him about my story and why I was doing what I’m doing and he seemed to enjoy it.  Matt got the attention of players Jack Hannahan and Justin Masterson and they talked to me and took pictures.  I also had conversations with Many Acta and Sandy Alomar Jr.  While we were standing there I was also introduced to the Lake Erie Monsters, an ACHL hockey team located in Cleveland.  I talked with them and they all seemed like pretty cool guys.  They were being escorted around by Indians employee Danielle Cherry who kept pulling me in for pictures with them. 

Batting practice was over so we decided to walk over to Heritage Park which is the Cleveland Indians Hall Of Fame area.  I had been to Progressive Field in January for a hockey game but Heritage Park wasn’t open.  All of the baseball history in that area was fantastic.  I love seeing how much they give recognition to legendary Indians pitcher Bob Feller.  I walked around taking pictures as Matt filled me in on Indians history.  Matt is a great Indians fan.  He can rattle off any number of fun Indians facts at the drop of a hat.  It was really cool getting the insight of such a strong Indians fan. 

After visiting Heritage Park we walked around the park and looked in the gift shops and purchased some beers.  We made our way up to the Social Suite.  The Cleveland Indians have designated a suite for people who utilize social media.  It was a pretty chilly evening so the suite would come in handy when we needed to warm up a bit.  The suite was nothing short of spectacular.  I had never been in a suite before so this was another experience that had me all giddy.  I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of suites before but if you ever get the chance you have to sit in one.  You can make a request through the Indians website to sit in the suite.  All you have to do is use social media to tell about your experiences.  That’s pretty easy for people of my generation unless you’re some weirdo who doesn’t use social media (if you’re reading this it’s probably not you!)  We were joking around all night because we were all sitting in the Social Sweet tweeting away, except for Ryan.  Somehow my friend Ryan uses no social media at all.  That’s why if you see #andRyan on any of my tweets it’s because we had to include Ryan in our experiences even if he doesn’t have a twitter handle.  Feel free to use #andRyan in any tweet.  There would be nothing funnier to us then if that started trending. 

Me and my crew sat on the balcony and watched the game.  We were having a blast joking around hanging out with each other.  We couldn’t help but notice how few Indians fans were there that evening.  It was a Wednesday evening game in April so it’s understandable.  The fans that were there were loud and dedicated to their team.  The Indians fell short to the Chicago White Sox that evening but there fans stayed with them the entire time. 

During the game I got to meet Mike Brandyberry, a founder of  We talked about my trip, the Cleveland Indians, and everything in between.  Mike is a high school teacher and baseball coach who runs did the tribe win on the side.  I don’t know how this man ever gets any sleep.  After the game we said our goodbyes and I had to be on my way to Toronto.

I had such an amazing time in Cleveland.  I can’t really put it into words but it was truly one of the best experiences of my life.  A dream come true on a road trip of dreams.  The Cleveland Indians showed me an excellent time and the staff of went above and beyond.  It was everything I could hope for and I have to thank Melt bar and Grill, Anne, Erin, Mike, and the Indians organization as a whole.  A special thanks go Matt VanWormer who was the guy that put this all together.  This is an experience I will never forget.  Everybody who reads this should go check out


Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season!!

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