August 2012

Indians prospect Justin Toole does it all for Carolina

Photo by Tom Miller/Carolina Mudcats

– Article appears courtesy of Mike Brandyberry of DidtheTribeWinLastNight.com

Little Leaguers and boys in the backyard always dream of playing all over the field and having the ball hit to them all night long. Few get the opportunity, and even fewer get the chance to do it professionally.

For Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Justin Toole, Saturday night was a reward and tribute to his versatility.

“At the beginning of the season he and the Indians told me he could play everywhere,” Carolina Mudcats Manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Originally, I thought, ‘yeah right,’ but after working with him, he really could play anywhere.”

Toole, a utility infielder in the Indians system playing most of his season with the High-A Carolina Mudcats, played all nine positions for one inning each on Saturday night during a 4-2 Mudcats victory against the Salem Red Sox. He has had brief stints this year at both Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, but has played in 77 games in Carolina, hitting .236, while playing five different positions before Saturday evening. Toole’s chance to play all nine positions started with a promise from Rodriguez.

(more…)

MLB Authenticators work to ensure the validity of rare autographed items

Photo by Ian A.C. Johnson

Ever wonder how an autographed or game-used item is deemed “authentic” by Major League Baseball and its clubs?

Well, for those in the market for such an item, there is a small sticker to look for on each item which guarantees its authenticity. Each club in MLB has a group of official Authenticators, whose job is to keep track of autographed and game-used items to confirm that they are genuine.

Linda Kaspar is one of four authenticators assigned to the Indians. One authenticator is required to be on hand at each game, and Kaspar rotates with her colleagues to split up the 81 home games.

“We have to be present,” she explained. “We have to witness everything that is either signed or comes off the field as it comes off the field to make sure that it’s valid, and the person signing it is the real person.”

Kaspar, like many of her co-workers, is a retired Cleveland Police Officer, and she has worked in this role with the Indians for the past five seasons.

“I happened to know somebody that was going for an interview for an authenticator [position], and they needed more people so I was asked to come to the interview and I got hired,” said Kaspar.

These authenticated items are often an important fundraising source for charity organizations that wish to raise money by selling similar items. Having the official sticker to mark an item’s legitimacy is an important way to protect both fans and the charity organizations.

Cleveland Indians Charities uses the money raised through a series of auctions to fund programs such as the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s baseball and softball programs, as well as making a significant annual donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.

Currently, there are several authenticated items available through the Indians official online auction, with proceeds from each benefiting CIC and its partner programs.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the current auction items.

Indians Game Information, August 28

CLEVELAND INDIANS (55-73, 4th, -16.5G) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (70-57)
RHP Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.50) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (10-9, 3.87)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. (ET)
TV: STO  Radio: WTAM/Indians Radio Network

PROGRESSIVE PITCHING: Cleveland’s starting rotation has combined to post a 3.55 ERA (38 ER/96.1 IP) over the club’s last 17 games at Progressive Field since July 21, holding opponents to 3 earned runs-or-less in 15 of those 17 home games…staff has a 5-8 record in that 17-game span…Indians  starters  have  a  3.91  ERA  (166  ER/381.2  IP)  in 63  home  games overall this season, but a 6.39 ERA (252 ER/354.2 IP) in 65 road games.

A HURLER-HEAVY HOMESTAND: Cleveland’s pitching staff has posted a 2.75 ERA (11 ER/36.0 IP) and .254 (34-134) avg. against through 4 games of the current homestand, holding New York-AL and Oakland to 2.75 runs-per-game (11RS/4G); relievers have been particularly effective, registering a 1.59 ERA (3 ER/17.0 IP) with a .155 (9-58) avg. against…at the same time, the Yankees and Athletics have a combined 1.54 ERA (6ER/35.0 IP) in those same 4 contests, while the Tribe has batted .154 (19-123) with 1.5 runs-per-game (6RS/4G), going 2-for-28 (.071) w/ RISP.

PHELPS  HONORED:  Indians  minor  league  2B  CORD  PHELPS  was named  to  the  International  League’s postseason All-Star  team  in  an  announcement made earlier today…Phelps, 25, has hit .277 (128-476) with 33 2B, 16 HR and 58 RBI over 128 games for Triple-A Columbus; he also leads the IL with 78 runs scored and is T4th in doubles…he was also elected as the starting 2B for the IL’s mid-season All-Star team.

15 Questions with Zach McAllister

Indians Rookie Pitcher Zach McAllister has enjoyed a solid first season on the mound. In 15 starts this season, McAllister has compiled a 5-4 record with a 3.50 ERA. The right-hander has proven himself to be a dependable member of the rotation, with all but one of his starts lasting over five innings. McAllister took the time recently to answer TribeVibe’s “15 Questions.”

TribeVibe: Are you superstitious?
Zach McAllister: I have a routine I like to follow before every game. I like to eat a sandwich the day that I pitch, and I usually start my workouts at the same time every day.

TV: What is the best ice cream flavor?
ZM: Cookies ‘n Cream.

TV: What is the best advice a teammate ever gave you? Who was it?
ZM: ‘Trust what you have.’ A bunch of people say that.

TV: What has been your most intimidating moment in the Major Leagues?
ZM: Probably when I had my first outing with the bases loaded and Jose Bautista up.

TV: What is your favorite feature of Progressive Field?
ZM: Just the whole stadium itself; being able to come in from the interstate and see everything.

TV: Who is your role model?
ZM: My dad’s up there; probably my dad.

TV: What is the last song that played on your iPod?
ZM: Flo Rida, “Whistle.”

TV: If you could bring one person to a deserted island with you, who would it be?
ZM: Blake Lively.

TV: What is your favorite clubhouse snack?
ZM: Doritos.

TV: As a kid, you drove your parents crazy because…
ZM: I never sat still; I was always doing something.

TV: What is one thing you want your fans to know about you?
ZM: I’m very laid back.

TV: What is one thing remaining on your bucket list?
ZM: Go to Hawaii.

TV: Are you more likely to be a violinist, computer geek, or doctor?
ZM: I guess, violinist.

TV: What is your favorite holiday?
ZM: Christmas because I get to see my friends and family.

TV: What was the hardest drill you had to do at practice in any sport at any level?
ZM: A running drill we did in high school for conditioning [in] baseball.

Party like a Season Ticket Holder

Last night, current Season Ticket Holders gathered postgame for an invitation only party featuring refreshments, opening remarks by Indians president Mark Shapiro and autograph sessions with the Tribe.

“We were pleased to entertain approximately 2,000 of our best customers at the ballpark for signings with all members of our 25-Man Roster and a chance to play catch on the grass of Progressive Field,” said Indians Director of Fan Services Dave Murray. “Days like this are one of the many benefits of being an Indians Season Ticket Holder.

TribeVibe took to the event chatted with a few of the night attendees about their time at the ballpark and their tenure as Season Ticket Holders.

Dad & 18 year Season Ticket Holder, Vivian Shanafelt and daughter, Nancy Hennings of Medina, OH

TV: How long have you been a Season Ticket Holder?

Shanafelt: I have been a Season Ticket Holder since  1994.

TV: What’s the biggest benefit of being a Season Ticket Holder?

Shanafelt: Other than the games, [the Indians] give us a suite, a free suite, for a game. It’s really nice [to be in] a suite once a year.

TV: As a Season Ticket Holder, what’s the most memorable play you’ve seen while in the ballpark?

Shanafelt: There was one game, that my daughter and I saw, where a ball bounced right off Jose Canseco’s head and went over the fence!

Indians 101 Refresher Course: The May 26, 1993 Indians vs. Rangers game produced this gem of a home run. Mr. Shanafelt and his family were there watching.

TV: How close were you sitting?

Shanafelt: We were sitting fairly close. We were near home plate. [Canseco] was in right field, but when my daughter and I talk about the Indians, we talk about that story. We just enjoy baseball. I enjoy bringing my daughter and my grandkids to the game with me.

Social Suiter & Season Ticket Holder, Michael Kaus and wife, Tenille Kaus of Akron, OH.

TV: How long have you been a Season Ticket Holder?

M. Kaus: I think we’ve been Season ticket Holders for about four years now.

TV: What made you choose to be a Season Ticket Holder?

M. Kaus: It’s really some of the best value for your dollar that you can get in Cleveland. We sit in the bleachers and we really enjoy it.  The prices are low, it’s great to go to the game and if you haven’t been there in a while going there you can smell the fresh cut grass – it’s just really a fun time.

TV: Since you attend so many games, what has been your favorite moment in-park?

T. Kaus: Last year we actually caught a ball that Grady Sizemore threw into the stands. This year, I think our favorite memory was being able to watch the fireworks on the field.

TV: So, as a part of the Season Ticket Holder event the whole team will be available for meet and greets, who are you looking forward to seeing most?

T. Kaus: Sandy Alomar.

M. Kaus: Yeah, Sandy Alomar and Vinnie Pestano. We’re definitely looking forward to it – it’s going to be fun.

Christopher Evans who has Season Tickets through his company Marsh-McLennan Companies located in Downtown Cleveland.

TV: Tell us a little bit about your company.

Evans: Marsh-McLennan does risk management. We work with many of the companies in the greater Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio area. Our company holds Season Tickets which we use to take clients out to the ballpark and from time to time we, employees get to come take our kids out to the yard, have a good time and enjoy the game.

TV: What’s the biggest advantage of taking your clients out to the ballgame?

Evans: It’s a good opportunity – it’s a loose atmosphere – we can share a meal; have good time without the pressure of [making] deals. Sometimes you talk business other times you don’t. Just last [homestand], I was [at Progressive Field] with a client talking about babies. My wife and I just had baby and so did my client. We spent the game talking and connecting about kids and family.

Sometimes when you’re at a ballgame with a client, the conversation can drift from business to family life pretty quickly because you see all the kids out [at the game] and it [reminds] you of your family.

TV: Do your kids come to the games with you often?

Evans: Yeah, my daughter and I go to a lot of games. I have a 3 year old and a 3 week old who just came to his first game today. I’m proud to say my new son, Warren, made it all the way through the game – 9 innings. Amazingly, my 3 year old daughter made it all the way through 9 innings too – that’s the real accomplishment.

TV: What’s your most memorable time at the ballpark?

Evans: Today. My son’s first ballgame. Tonight, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Sandy Alomar. I grew up watching him as a kid. And obviously, I like seeing the young guys getting it done like Asdrubal Cabrera. I would say to other Tribe fans, any chance you can come out to the ballpark and spend time with your family – do it.

-TribeVibe Contributor Erin Parker

 

Senator John Glenn commemorates Mercury flight, pays tribute to Neil Armstrong at Progressive Field

On Sunday, August 26, the Indians and NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of Senator John Glenn’s Mercury flight, when he became the first man to orbit the earth. Senator Glenn was present at Progressive Field and the Indians honored the anniversary with a pre-game ceremony.

The timing of the ceremony was unique with the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon and a close friend of Glenn’s, the previous day. Glenn spoke about his friendship with Armstrong, as well as his own experiences in space. Below are some notable excerpts from Glenn’s comments on Sunday:

On returning to Progressive Field:
John Glenn: Glad to be back again, I haven’t been to a ballgame here in a while, and having a special NASA day here for me means a lot…I’m glad to be back here. I hope the Indians win today and I’m looking forward to it.

On his Mercury flight, 50 years later:
JG: 50 years – that’s really hard to believe because it seems to me more like two or three weeks. Literally, because everything was so vivid at that time – it was all brand new and we were experiencing things for the first time, so it was impressed on me very vividly at the time. And the other thing is, it’s been a rare day that somebody hasn’t brought something up about the space program, so I’ve recalled it long enough that it remains very vivid in my memory, so it is hard for me to believe that it’s been 50 years, and we’ve had all the progress that we’ve made.

On the experience of being in space:
JG: When you’re up there at the lower earth orbit, as I have been, you’re looking at the curvature of the earth. You’re looking at weather patterns underneath and you’re looking at whole nations at a glance, and you’re going – although you don’t feel it as much – you’re going almost five miles a second just to stay in orbit up there. Five Miles a second – hard to believe –but there’s nothing close to you that you’re going by at that speed, so you’re going around the earth and daytime is about 45 minutes and nighttime is about 45 minutes, so you see a lot of sunrises and sunsets, and they’re beautiful particularly from space.

On the purpose of space travel:
JG: The main reason you’re up there is to do basic research – it isn’t just to go up there to have a good time and look around. The second flight I was on – we had 83 different research projects on that one flight.

On watching Armstrong’s moon landing:
JG: I was in the observation area of the Control Center for all of that mission – or most of it – and I was in there when he made that landing. That was another one that showed Neil’s dedication to what he was doing – I think the estimates were that he was down to between 15 and 35 seconds of fuel remaining when they actually finally set down. It was very, very tight. It just shows his dedication in doing the job he set out to do in representing our country.

On the significance of the moon landing:
JG: Those were still days of the Cold War, and I think people forget that. The landing on the Moon was a competitive thing. The Soviets at that time had their own program, which was a very secretive program, and after Neil landed on the Moon they cancelled their program.

On his history with baseball great Ted Williams:
JG: Ted was a good friend. When I was assigned to Korea, Ted had been recalled reservists, and was sent to Korea as a pilot within a few days of when I got there. At that time they had a policy of teaming people up: a regular Marine pilot who had been flying day in day out, and team him up with a reservist, and you flew your missions together. Ted and I were put together as a team. Ted flew probably half the missions he flew in Korea as my wing-man, so I got to know Ted very well.

On his legacy and Armstrong’s legacy:
JG: I don’t know how they’ll remember me – I’ll leave that up to other people. I think people will think about Neil, I hope, the way I think about Neil. And that was as one of the most decorated Americans you can have.

Radio Talk & Pop-Flys: 2012 Indians Radio Network Workout

On August 16 & 17, the Indians hosted several of Indians Radio Network Affiliates for an annual workout on Progressive Field. Attendees lived in a Major League Player’s shoes for a day by dressing and in the clubhouse, taking batting practice, pitching and fielding. TribeVibe stopped to chat with one participant, Rusty Cates of WMAN in Mansfield, OH, to get his take on the day, his experience in radio and some of his favorite Indians memories.

TribeVibe: How many times have you been to the Indians Radio Network Workout?

Rusty Cates: I’m a repeat offender. It’s one of the greatest days of the year for us [radio broadcasters] we get to be on Progressive Field running around. We can sit in the dugout, take a few swings at home plate, catch a few fly balls and just have a great time with the other guys in the network. It’s great – especially when you’re a big Indians fan. I’m a lifelong Tribe fan.

TV: Growing up did you play baseball?

RC: Yep. I played Little League until 6th grade. I was pretty much that kid who stood in the far outfield – the spot where the coach places kids who won’t hurt the team much. In my adult years I’ve played church league softball, but I still like the game and do what I can while I’m on the field.

TV: Tell us a bit more about your radio station.

RC: [It’s a] News talk station in Mansfield, Ohio. We run a lot of the big talk shows like Glenn Beck, but weekends and evenings we do a lot of sports talk. I host a live sports talk program every evening from 6PM-8PM.

TV: How long has WMAN-Mansfield been a part of the Indians Radio Network?

RC: That is a good question and I’m sure it goes back 50 years at least. I grew up in the same city I work in – Mansfield. There was never a time in my life that I can’t remember WMAN not having the Indians.

TV: We have a lot of aspiring broadcasters we read TribeVibe. Tell us, how did you get started in radio?

RC: I’ve always wanted to be involved in radio. I went to school and studied communications at Bowling Green and worked at their radio station there in the ‘80’s and worked my way up.

TV: As a fan, does it feel any different being part of the Indians Radio Network?

RC: Well, I’m definitely an Indians fan, but even more so because I have some responsibility to the Indians [organization]. I write the promo bumps for on-air, I get to work on content that helps sell the Indians and I run the feature spots in the morning. I feel like I’m first hand, helping to deliver Indians baseball talk to the fans of the Mansfield area.

For 7 months we’re all about the Tribe, that’s a huge chunk of the broadcast year. So, our promotion and sales teams do whatever [they] can to get the Indians out there. The station IDs are changed to promote the Indians; we run at least one promo an hour about the Indians; we run all the ancillary programing about the Indians; game updates; manager’s minutes in the morning, game highlights. Once a week I’ll even call up Bobby D and chat and use that as a weekly feature. Every week at 7:10AM in the morning and he answers the phone like clockwork – it’s amazing.

We know the people of Mansfield love the Cleveland Indians. Even if they aren’t winning they are still apart of Cleveland’s summer, part of life and people still talk about it – it’s tradition.

TV: What’s your favorite Indians memory?

RC: When the Indians made it to the playoffs in 1995 and we were in the American League Championship, I had a chance to get some tickets and my wife and two daughters were with me and I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would witness the Indians getting that far in the playoffs. We were able to attend as a family. It was the year that people put bubble gum on top of their hats; high socks were a big deal, even Sister Mary [Assumpta] and the nuns were out! There was just so much pop culture that came out of that moment of the Indians in the playoffs.

To catch the Tribe on the radio in your region, check our list of Indians Radio Network Affiliates on Indians.com

-TribeVibe contributor  Erin Parker

Indians Game Information, August 26

CLEVELAND INDIANS (55-71, 4th, -15.5G) vs. NEW YORK YANKEES (73-53)
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59) vs. RHP Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96)
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. (ET)
TV: STO  Radio: WTAM/Indians Radio Network

A HERO’S WELCOME: Today, Senator JOHN GLENN, an Ohio native and former NASA astronaut, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first space flight…Glenn, also the first American to  orbit  the  Earth,  is  scheduled  to  meet  with  members  of  the  media at noon in the Indians dugout…as part of the festivities, astronaut Mike Forman will sign autographs in the Indians Kids Clubhouse prior to today’s game and NASA-themed interactive activities will be available in the Progressive Field Mezzanine area throughout the afternoon.

SAVE IT: Indians closer CHRIS PEREZ recorded his 33rd save in last night’s win, now 3rd-most in the A.L. and 4th in the majors behind JIM JOHNSON (39), FERNANDO RODNEY (39) and JOEL HANRAHAN (34)…Perez has also saved 60.0% of Cleveland’s 55 wins in 2012, which is the highest such percentage by any closer in the majors…a special nod to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian for the idea the led to this note.

THE  COMFORTS  OF  CLEVELAND:  Cleveland’s  starting  rotation  has combined to post a 3.24 ERA (32 ER/89.0 IP) over the club’s last 15 games at Progressive Field since July 21, holding opponents to 3 earned runs-or-less in 13 of those 15 home games…staff has a 5-6 record in that 15-game span…Indians starters have a 3.85 ERA (160 ER/374.1 IP) in 61 home games overall this season, but a 6.39 ERA (252 ER/354.2 IP) in 65 road games.

Indians Game Information, August 24

CLEVELAND INDIANS (54-70, 4th, -14.5G) vs. NEW YORK YANKEES (72-52)
RHP Corey Kluber (0-2, 6.27) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (12-3, 3.56)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. (ET)
TV: STO   Radio: WTAM/Indians Radio Network

IN A  NEW  YORK  MINUTE:  The  Indians  are  set  to  begin  a  10-day,  10-game homestand by hosting the New York Yankees for 3 games to wrap up a brief season series…at just 6 games, it will be the most abbreviated season-series between the Indians and Yankees since they met 6 times in 2007…New York swept a 3-game series from Cleveland at Yankee Stadium back on June 25-27…Tribe’s last winning campaign vs. the Bronx Bombers came in 2008 (4-3), as Cleveland is 8-18 against New York-AL over the last 4 seasons (2009-12), going 4-7 during that same span at Progressive Field.

ROSTER MOVE: The Indians today announced that the club has promoted INF/OF MATT LaPORTA from Triple-A Columbus…to make room for LaPorta,  RHP  FRANK  HERRMANN  has  been  optioned  to  Columbus…LaPorta has spent nearly the entire season at Columbus, hitting .264 (99-375) with 19 2B, one 3B, 19 HR and 62 RBI in 101 games (.350OBP/.472SLG/.822OPS)…he currently ranks 9th in the International League in SLG pct. (.472) and HR (19), tied for 10th in RBI (62) and 11th in OPS (.822)…he has appeared in 52 G at 1B for the Clippers and 25 in LF…he was previously
w/ Cleveland for one stint (June 3-12), appearing in 3 games (2-for-11, R).

AROUND THE BLOCK: According to STATS LLC, this season marks just the  3rd  time  in  franchise  history  for  Cleveland  to  endure  multiple  losing streaks of at least 8 games (also 1969, 1987)…despite being charged with 20 errors over the club’s last 27 games, Cleveland’s defense still maintains the 5th-best fielding pct. in the A.L. at .985 (68 E/4659 TC)…Cleveland’s starting  rotation  has  a  3.49  ERA  (30  ER/77.1  IP)  over  the  club’s  last  13 games  at  Progressive  Field,  holding  opponents  to  3  earned  runs-or-less in 11 of those 13 home games…JASON KIPNIS is one of just 4 players in the majors this season to collect at least 10 homers, 60 RBI and 20 stolen bases, joining the Brewers’ RYAN BRAUN, the Cubs’ STARLIN CASTRO and the Angels’ MIKE TROUT…minor league OF LeVON WASHINGTON, who had right hip surgery in late April, is scheduled to be added to High-A Carolina’s roster tomorrow…MATT LaPORTA is 12-for-37 (.324) with 7 RBI in 10 career games against the Yankees.

Annual ImpACTA event raises money for local scholarships and under-privileged children

The ImpACTA Kids Foundation hosted its annual charity fundraiser at the Corner Alley on East 4th Street on Thursday, as it raised money to support causes in the Cleveland area and abroad.

Proceeds of the event supported two scholarships for local students, as well as the continued development of Manny Acta’s baseball academy and educational center in the Dominican Republic. Indians players and other local celebrities were on hand to interact with fans and support the foundations efforts.

The latest recipient of the foundation’s college scholarship was Halle Herringshaw, who graduated from Chardon High School last spring will attend John Carroll University this fall with the help of the scholarship fund.

“It’s absolutely great what Manny does and what the whole fundraiser does,” said Herringshaw. “It helps with a lot of college expenses. I’m going for Anesthesiology so I have a lot of years ahead of me of schooling so a scholarship really helps, and this is a really big one that helped me and relieved stress in applying for schools.”

The scholarship was a very pleasant surprise for her, she explained: “I was actually at work and my Mom called me and said, ‘Oh we’re going to the Indians game on Tuesday, you won the scholarship’ and I couldn’t believe it. I was really thrilled when I found out.”

In addition to the scholarship, the foundation has raised money to send an ambulance to the Dominican Republic to improve the health conditions of the local community.

Indians Pitcher Vinnie Pestano was one of many players on hand to support the ImpACTA Kids foundation. “They raise enough money to send an ambulance over there and they’ve got a great facility over there to keep them occupied and away from doing other stuff,” said Pestano. “It’s really great and all it takes is a couple hours of your time to come out here and interact with people and have some fun.”

The foundation was started in 2007, and this was the second year it held its fundraiser at the Corner Alley. Acta was very grateful for the community’s support of the event, and for the opportunity to support his childhood home.

“I grew up in a very poor community, and my dream was that if I was ever in a position to help out, I was going to,” said Acta. “Everyone’s support shows that people really care, and are really willing to make an impact in other people’s lives.”

– TribeVibe contributor Max Lom

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