20th anniversary weekend shines spotlight on generations of Tribe fans

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We talk a lot about Creating Memories, Connecting Generations and Celebrating Families, and we do so because through the game of baseball, we’re able to accomplish those three things every day and every season for Cleveland Indians fans.

This weekend, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Progressive Field, 25 years of Tom Hamilton as the voice of the Indians and unveil Jim Thome’s statue, those three goals are even more evident.

That’s why we leapt at the opportunity to connect Jim, Kyle and Trevor Dunn with The Plain Dealer: Kyle, then 11, was featured on the front page of The Plain Dealer on April 5, 1994, the day after the first game at then-Jacobs Field.

Kyle was connected to the game by his dad, Jim, when Kyle was a kid; on Friday, another generation of the Dunn family was on hand – 1-year-old Trevor. Read Mike McIntyre’s piece on Kyle’s big moment re-created, over 20 years later.

Creating Memories, Connecting Generations and Celebrating Families is also why we invited Brent Betts and his son, Jacob, to the ballpark on Friday. Jacob, who turns 20 today, was born in 1994, the club’s first year at Jacobs Field. (Take a guess at why he was named Jacob.)

Brent and Jacob have visited every ballpark in the majors, a tour that started when Jacob was 9 – and ended in June as the pair finished at Marlins Park in Miami.

Jacob said his first memory of then-Jacobs Field, as a little guy, was that he didn’t really like fireworks – and of the team making the playoffs. (Don’t worry: He loves

Also cool – and here comes that Connecting Generations thing again – Brent said Jacob grew up a big Thome fan.

“I have pictures of Thome all over the country from our trip,” Brent Betts said.

And Jacob was politically correct when asked what his favorite ballparks in the bigs were: “I like Boston … but I like it here (in Cleveland ) the best.”

Schedule for Jim Thome statue unveiling/ceremonies Saturday night

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Fans are in for a great night on Saturday as the Indians honor the franchise’s all-time home run leader, Jim Thome, before, during and after the team’s game against the Texas Rangers.

Here is a timeline for the night’s festivities – fans are encouraged to arrive early to take in all of them – and to be one of 12,500 fans who receive a Thome replica statue, courtesy of KeyBank. Fans also should buy tickets early to save over box office prices.

5PM: Statue unveil ceremony, Heritage Park

  • Gates open at 4:30PM
  • SportsTime Ohio will air ceremony in entirety at 6PM

6:45PM: Pregame ceremony

  • On-field presentation
  • Ceremonial first pitch

Post-game: Replay of Thome ceremony

  • Edited version will play on scoreboard prior to fireworks celebrating Thome’s career
  • Thome will be presented with mini statue

Fans should proceed to the Lower Reserved area in right field and the Mezzanine section to hear the ceremony, video of which will play on the scoreboard. (Audio will not be played on the scoreboard, but rather remotely from Heritage Park area; Lower Reserved and Mezzanine sections are fans’ best areas to hear audio at best quality.)

 

Wednesday recap: Photos, facts/figures from Kluber’s — surprise! — dominant start

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(Photos by Dan Mendlik and David Cleveland)

Corey Kluber was again dominant on Wednesday. Details on his dominance:

  • Registered his first career complete game shutout tonight (9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 85 pitches/69 strikes) and his second career complete game, the other coming in a 5-1 win back on April 24 vs. Kansas City, as Kluber surrendered just a single unearned run in that prior outing against the Royals (9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R-0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO)…marked the third individual CG thrown by an Indians hurler this season (also Josh Tomlin, June 28 at Seattle).
  • Kluber threw just 16 balls against 69 strikes tonight…his strikeout-to-walk ratio ratio this season is 5.15 (170 strikeouts/33 walks)…Kluber became the first Indians pitcher to issue zero walks in consecutive starts of at least 9.0 innings since Cliff Lee in 2009 on July 16 vs. Seattle and July 21 at Toronto…between Lee in 2009 and Kluber in 2014, that feat has been accomplished just two other times: 1) Cliff Lee for Seattle in 2010 on June 18 vs. Cincinnati & June 23 vs. Chicago-NL and 2) David Price for Tampa Bay in 2013 on July 7 vs. Chicago-AL & July 12 vs. Houston…Kluber is the first right-hander to pull the trick since Javier Vazquez for Chicago-AL in 2007 on July 3 vs. Baltimore & July 8 vs. Minnesota.
  • Kluber needed just 85 pitches to go the distance tonight…since pitch counts began getting tracked officially in 1988, he is the only Indians hurler to record a 9.0-inning shutout on 85 pitches-or-fewer and just the second since 1988 to do so in 90-or-less, joining Charles Nagy on June 12, 1992 vs. New York-AL (9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 90 pitches).
  • Since pitch counts were first tracked in 1988, tonight marked just the 20th individual CG shutout in the Majors on 85 pitches or fewer, first since Boston’s Aaron Cook on June 29, 2012 at Seattle (Cook is the only pitcher since 1988 to complete the feat twice)…of those 20 games, Kluber’s effort tonight marked just the 4th time for a pitcher to also record 8 strikeouts, joining Greg Maddux (July 2, 1997 at New York-AL), Roy Halladay (Oct. 5, 2001-G1 vs. Cleveland) and Rich Harden (July 14, 2005 vs. Texas) – Maddux, Halladay and Harden each finished with 8 K’s.
  • Paired with his 9.0-inning no decision on July 24 at Kansas City (9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R-0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, 107 pitches, 28 batters faced), Kluber has worked 18.0 innings over his last 2 starts, allowing zero earned runs on zero walks and just 5 hits (.089, 5-for-56), while compiling 18 strikeouts…according the Baseball-Reference Play Index, Kluber is the only pitcher in Major League history to face 28 batters or fewer in consecutive starts of at least 9.0 innings (starts uninterrupted by any relief appearances).

Photo Gallery: July 29 Batting Practice vs. Seattle

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- Photos By David Cleveland

First Mission Swisher a hit with participants, Tribe players — all for a good cause

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(Photos by Dan Mendlik and David Cleveland)

The first Mission Swisher was a success.

Nick and JoAnna Swisher held their first charity event in Cleveland on Monday at Progressive Field, with fans and local companies participating in a scavenger hunt at the ballpark, all in the name of raising money for local kids. The Swishers already have donated over $100,000 to local charities since Nick signed with the Indians in December 2012.

About 20 Indians players participated, and Jason Kipnis’ team, including Indians corporate partner Dunkin’ Donuts, found the final prize first – Indians Manager Terry Francona.

Here’s what Nick and Joanna had to say about the event before it began:

Nick
This is the first time we’ve gotten together in Cleveland and used our powers for the good. It’s a huge day for us and the Swisher Family Foundation, introducing Mission Swisher. For us, everything that we raise with this event benefits the Cleveland area and Cleveland-area kids. For Jo and I, that’s the best part about it.

JoAnna
The Swisher Family Foundation already has donated to a few different charities in the community (including FBI for Child ID kits and local crisis nursery Providence House) and we’re excited about our new partnership with MetroHealth, which will cover all bases and reach a lot of kids in the community.

Nick
Right from the beginning, when we were fortunate to sign here, we said we were going to be involved in the community and we’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’ve been involved with charities for a long time, and together, we’re able to reach another level. Athletes, actresses are put on a certain pedestal; for us, we’re able to use that for the right reasons.

JoAnna
We had our daughter here, we’ve started a family here. We’re excited to start a family here and give back to a community that’s given back to us. The players too have been great, have taken their off day to be here. They’re supporting the community here as well.

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Cleveland Indians players to take on fans in ‘Masty’s Mania’ Charity Fantasy Football League

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Participants can face off against Tribe players including Justin Masterson, Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis, among others

Exclusive ‘Masty’s Mania’ draft set for Aug. 23 at Progressive Field – participants interact with players during draft, autographs, food and beverages, watch game in suite and more!

 

Cleveland Indians fans now can play fantasy football against Tribe players in a new charity league called Masty’s Mania.

Indians players scheduled to participate in the league include Justin Masterson, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Bryan Shaw, Marc Rzepczynski and Scott Atchison.

Participants will make a one-time donation of $2,500 or $3,500, and will receive an exclusive Draft Day experience at Progressive Field on Saturday, August 23, as the Indians take on the Houston Astros. The experience will include:

  • A live, moderated fantasy football draft with the players and a few surprise guestsin the Terrace Club Pub at Progressive Field
  • Food and beverages during the draft (cash bar)
  • Photo opportunity with players
  • Autographed swag by all participating Cleveland baseball players (items provided by Masty’s Mania – no autographs allowed during the event)
  • Behind the scenes tour of Progressive Field
  • VIP access to batting practice
  • Ticket in Champions Suite (including food and beverage) to the Astros-Indians game

Plus, participants will interact with the Tribe big leaguers throughout the fantasy football season and have the chance to win more great prizes. Those interested can find details at bigleagueimpact.org/events/masterson.

Proceeds of the league will benefit the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Clean Water in Africa, Cleveland Indians Charities and Big League Impact Basic Needs Initiative. Big League Impact has brought together baseball stars from teams in 10 cities around the country for charity fantasy football leagues.

Big League Impact held its first fantasy football league last year in St. Louis with Adam Wainwright and his Cardinal teammates launching “Waino’s World,” and this year, more than 60 big league players have agreed to participate in the charity initiative, including over a dozen 2014 All-Stars. Leagues will be hosted by Kershaw (Los Angeles), Wainwright (St. Louis), Freddie Freeman (Atlanta), Cole Hamels (Philadelphia), Tim Hudson (San Francisco), Max Scherzer (Detroit), Skip Schumaker (Cincinnati), Neil Walker (Pittsburgh) and David Wright (New York).

Indians Facility Maintenance coordinator inspires Summer of Service project, recognized by East Cleveland

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Friday was a special day for the Cleveland Indians organization and our guiding commitment to the community in which we work and play: In partnership with Business Volunteers Unlimited, we participate in its Summer of Service project by revitalizing Forest Hill Park in East Cleveland, once the home of John D. Rockefeller Sr.; the park at one time was on the National Register of Historic Places.

Front office employees from the Indians joined Shaw High School students and employees of other Cleveland companies, including Fox Sports Ohio, KeyBank and more, in the project.

Indians Coordinator of Facility Maintenance Valencia Kimbrough was part of the inspiration of the project. “V,” as she’s affectionately known at work, is an East Cleveland native and spent her childhood playing with friends at Forest Hill.

After the event, East Cleveland officials presented V with a proclamation for her efforts (as shown in the photos above). More about V, in her own words:

I am a Shaw High Graduate of the Class of 2001. My little sister was Class of 2002, and my little brother and niece Class of 2014. Another niece is currently a senior and in the Class of 2015. A number of my family members graduated from Shaw from 1989-1995.

I was blessed with a father that LOVED sports and made sure we experienced it. Then I was blessed (because of my dad) to become an employee of the Cleveland Indians. As my little brother got older, he began working for the Indians and wanted to play baseball for Shaw High school — but at the time the school could not get enough players to have a team. We visited Forest Hill Park to play on their fields with my son, and saw the shape that the fields (and that the park) were in, and it hurt my heart. I remember when the park was beautiful.

Volunteering is important to me, because I believe that it is important to give back. East Cleveland gave me a LOT over the years – great friends and a great education — and I believe that it’s my duty to give something back. Last summer, someone that I called my brother took three lives in East Cleveland. I can’t tell you why he did it, and I can’t change what he did, but I want people to know that East Cleveland is more than murder and crime. A lot of great people come from this city.

I can’t give back the lives that he took, or provide answers to the family and my community, but what I can do is give my time — and I thought, what better way but to combine the two things I love: East Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians. After the incident with my brother and the baseball team, and the senseless murders that took place, I know how much the Cleveland Indians give to Cleveland public school district, and thought I would do some research. A lot of people didn’t realize that East Cleveland and Cleveland school districts were different, and a lot of Shaw High School students didn’t know much about the Cleveland Indians. It was a great opportunity to help a community in need and introduce the Cleveland Indians organization to a new community.

As an employee of the Cleveland Indians I have always admired the dedication the organization has to the Cleveland Community. Our Community Relations department is one of the best in Northeast Ohio, and we have a number of great programs that help CMSD. It’s very important to me that they support my interest and the community that I am from because it shows just how much we pride ourselves in Creating Memories, Connecting Generations, and Celebrating Families all over — not just for the city of Cleveland, but the surrounding communities as well.

Indians Homestand Notes: Fans’ guide to 8 games vs. SEA, TEX, CIN

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The Indians return home for eight games, including three game series vs. the Mariners (July 29-31) and the Rangers (Aug. 1-3) and a two-game series vs. the Reds (Aug. 4-5).

  • KeyBank Hassle-Free Weekend: August 1-3
  • Sugardale Dollar Dog Night: Friday, August 1
  • Rally Alley, presented by RTA: Friday, August 1
  • Fireworks (Hits of 1994), presented by Wayside Furniture: Friday, August 1
  • Jim Thome statue unveiling: Saturday, August 2
  • Thome replica statue (12,500 fans), courtesy of KeyBank: Saturday, August 2
  • Fireworks (Thome celebration), presented by J.M. Smucker Co.: Saturday, August 2
  • Rally Alley, presented by RTA: Saturday, August 2
  • Slider’s birthday: Sunday, August 3
  • KeyBank Kids Fun Day: Sunday, August 3
  • Kids Run the Bases, presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s: Sunday, August 3
  • Sugardale Dollar Dog Night: Tuesday, August 5
  • Indians Duck Tape (10,000 fans), presented by ShurTech Brands: Tuesday, August 5

Don’t miss a minute of 20th anniversary weekend festivities!

The Indians are celebrating 20 years at Progressive Field throughout the weekend with special events. The schedule includes:

  • Friday, Aug. 1: A celebration of Tom Hamilton’s 25 years as the Voice of the Indians, with a pregame ceremony and his calls played throughout the game.
  • Saturday, Aug. 2: The unveiling of Jim Thome’s statue in center field before the game. Note: The ceremony will begin at 5PM, and all gates open at 4:30PM. Fans can watch the ceremony on the scoreboard.

The weekend also is KeyBank Hassle Free weekend, during which KeyBank will have many special offers through the At the Ballpark app. Fans should take advantage of the new public Wi-Fi at Progressive Field and download MLB.com’s At the Ballpark, then check in for special offers from Key. Plus, Key will be delivering seat upgrades, hot dogs, popcorn, water and ice cream, all courtesy of the bank’s “Hassle-Free” checking account.

Fans can guarantee themselves a Thome statue by using Promo Pass!

Fans can guarantee themselves a Jim Thome replica statue, courtesy of KeyBank, with Promo Pass! By purchasing game tickets at Indians.com/PromoPass, fans can ensure a promotional item will be waiting for them inside the gates, even if the items are gone at the gate.

Tribe Park and Ride, presented by SportsTime Ohio, is back!

Fans can leave the transportation to the Indians and SportsTime Ohio on 4 dates from area suburbs with the return of Tribe Park and Ride for a second season! Tickets are only $5! Full Tribe Park and Ride details, including dates and pickup locations, along with tickets, are available at Indians.com/ParkandRide.

Upcoming TPAR schedule:

  • Aug. 2: Westlake(Dave and Buster’s) and Independence (Doubletree Hotel)

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Carlos Santana. So hot right now. Santana.

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Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana is hot.

Cue the “Match Game” audience response: “How hot is he?” (If you get the “Match Game” reference, please pat yourself on the back.

Consider:

  • He now has five multi-homer games in his career – and two came this weekend (Friday, Sunday)
  • He’s the first player in Indians history with multi-homer games as a catcher, designated hitter and first baseman
  • He’s homered in three straight games and four of his last six (he has six homers in his last six games)
  • Over his last six games:
    • He’s reached base safely in 20 of 29 plate appearances
    • He’s gone 14-for-23 (.609) with 3 doubles, 6 homers, 10 RBI, 5 walks and 8 runs scored

Santana hit five homers in the KC series, becoming only the sixth Indians player to have five homers in a series (Hafner, Williams, Belle, Carter, Trosky). Santana also became the first Major Leaguer to have five homers in one series this season.

Also, just in case you don’t get the headline — “Zoolander,” anyone?

Santana makes more Tribe history: Game Notes, July 27

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Some tidbits from the Tribe Baseball Information Department’s Game Notes for July 27, 2014:

After recording his 4th career multi-HR game Friday (first player in Indians history w/ multi-HR game as a C, DH and1B, source: B-R.com), CARLOS SANTANA went deep again last night, homering in 2 straight and 3 of his last 5 games…over those 5 games, Santana has reached safely in 15 of 24 plate appearances, going 11-for-20 (.550) with 3 2B’s, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 6 R and a 1.925 OPS (.625OBP/1.300SLG).

Following tomorrow’s true off day in Cleveland, the Indians are set to begin an 8-day, 8-game homestand during which the club will host Seattle (3G), Texas (3G) and Cincinnati (2G)…when the Tribe begins that Progressive Field week-long residency Tuesday, Cleveland will have the most scheduled home dates remaining of any team in the Majors (barring postponements).

Cleveland owns the 3rd-best home winning pct. in the A.L. & 4th-best Majors at 29-19 (.604), trailing Oakland (.667, 34-17), Los Angeles-AL (.661, 37-19) and Pittsburgh (.618, 34-21).

On balance, Cleveland’s current road trip has featured competitive pitching and defense, but inconsistent offensive performances during this 4-6 stretch out of the All-Star break.

The Indians pitching staff has registered a 3.32 ERA (33ER/89.1IP) through 10 games of the 2nd half (12th in Majors), posting 84 K’s against 27 walks – last 2 losses (16.0 IP, 19 H, 13 R-11 ER) have raised 2nd half ERA from 2.70…starters have a 3.84 ERA (25 ER/58.2 IP) in 2nd half, surrendering more than 3 runs just twice in these 10 games… the Indians bullpen has turned in a 2.35 mark (8 ER/30.2 IP).

Cleveland’s offense has batted .248/.321/.392 over the last 10 games, with significant divergence between the 4 wins (.310/.384/.524) and the 6 losses (.205/.276/.300)…Tribe’s .293 (27-92) w/RISP in second half is 45 points higher than overall team avg., but has also been substantially better in the wins (.378, 17-45) than losses (.213, 10-47).

Defense has been charged with just 4 E in 359 TC (.989 field pct.)

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