September 2012

Rudy: “You might have to take a different path to get there, but you will get there and that’s what’s exciting.”

Photo by Ian A.C. Johnson

The real-life inspiration behind the classic sports movie Rudy was a special guest at Progressive Field on Thursday, September 20. Rudy Ruettiger delivered an inspirational address to a group of students and fans, and later threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Indians game against the Minnesota Twins.

Ruettiger, the Notre Dame walk-on whose improbable impact on the Fighting Irish football team was chronicled in the movie Rudy, encouraged the audience to be fearless in pursuing their dreams.

“When I was [young], I was giving up on myself, and the reason was I was hanging around with the wrong friends, and because of the wrong friends…I didn’t believe in myself,” said Ruettiger. “The day I changed my friends was the day I started dreaming again. When I started dreaming again, I started doing better in school, I started thinking better, and I started dreaming bigger.”

After speaking for half an hour and answering questions from the students and others in the audience, Ruettiger moved down to field level where he threw the first pitch.

“When I was a little boy I always wanted to catch a foul ball at a ballpark, and have that first major league ball. I always wanted that, and those dreams come true today,” Ruettiger explained. “Now I get to go out and throw first pitches out on baseball fields, so dreams do come true. You might have to take a different path to get there, but you will get there, and that’s what’s exciting.”

Ruettiger concluded: “The key is: dream, never quit, and keep preparing for the dream because you never know when your opportunity is going to happen.”

— Tribe Vibe contributor Max Lom

The Sklar Brothers at Progressive Field

The Indians were joined by a pair of special guests on Sunday, as they welcomed the Sklar Brothers (Randy and Jason) to Progressive Field. The twin brothers previously hosted ESPN Classic’s popular show Cheap Seats, and are currently hosting History’s The United Stats of America.

The brothers each threw out ceremonial first pitches, and paid a visit to the clubhouse before the game, where they challenged Joe Smith and Tony Sipp to a game of Ping Pong.

The Sklars lost the doubles match-up against the Tribe pitchers, but they stuck around to watch the rest of the game from the Indians Social Suite, where they saw the Indians get a wild walk-off win against the Detroit Tigers.

Why Did the Tyson Chicken Cross the Road?

The Cleveland Indians teamed up with Tyson Foods, Inc. and Lift Up America to once again provide 30,000 pounds of protein (various types of meat) to local food agencies in the city of Cleveland.  The Cleveland Foodbank assists in making sure each food agency gets a certain poundage of protein based on their size and their reach.  This is the fifth year that the Indians have hosted the event and each year the need grows more and more.

Eddy, the Tyson truck driver, parked his tractor-trailer right on the Gateway Plaza outside of Progressive Field as the backdrop of the distribution.  Over the past decade, Tyson has donated more than 88 million pounds of food–roughly 352 million meals.  With the help of 70 volunteers including employees from Insurance Partners Agency, the Cleveland Indians, the Cleveland Foodbank and Lift Up America the 30,000 pounds of food was distributed to 30 agencies in about 20 minutes!

“There are millions of hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are faced with the realities of hunger,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc. “We want to make a difference in these people’s lives by helping them provide nutritious food for themselves and their families.”

So while we may not know which came first, the chicken or the egg, I think we finally have an answer as to why the chicken crossed the road.  Obviously, it was to get into the Tyson Foods truck so that it can be brought to Progressive Field and passed out to local food agencies.  It’s not the best punch line for a joke, but like the food distribution, it’s all about the delivery!

Rock The Vote…for Hammy

“HOW ABOUT THAT!” Tribe fans – the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced this week that Tom Hamilton, “The Voice of the Indians,” is one of 41 broadcasters to advance to the second round of voting for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award thanks to your balloting efforts on the Hall’s Facebook page. Hammy still needs your help to get into the final round though, as the top 3 vote-getters will be placed on a ballot with 7 other finalists chosen by a Cooperstown-sanctioned committee. The 2013 Frick Award honoree will then be selected by a 21-member electorate and announced at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee in early December. Presented annually since 1978 for excellence in baseball broadcasting, the Ford C. Frick Award is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two.

Go to and #VoteHammy ! Voting runs through Friday, Oct. 5 at 5PM ET.

Get to know Wayne Peltz: Visiting Clubhouse Assistant Manager, Aspiring Lego Block Artist

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As the Visiting Clubhouse Assistant Manager, Wayne Peltz already has plenty to keep him busy. But when Peltz decided to try out a new hobby in late 2009, he never imagined it would lead to a thriving side-business with his customer base including some of the biggest names in baseball. Peltz’s custom lego portraits have become a hit with players and fans alike, and his position in the clubhouse has proven a perfect outlet to promote his various projects.

TribeVibe recently spoke with Peltz to get the full story on his lego portraits.

TribeVibe: How did you first get the idea to make the lego portraits?
Wayne Peltz: A few years back I was working here, and we had an Indians player by the name of Jamey Carroll. Jamey Carroll did these little index size drawings in pencil – they looked really cool. Then he’d have big-time players – Jeter, Pujols – they’d sign them no questions asked. They’d drop whatever they were doing and just sign these things. I thought to myself: I want to get to that point where the guys are looking to sign something for me and I don’t have to bother them by saying: ‘can you sign this ball?’

TV: Why did you choose to use legos?
WP: I tried to draw at first and I couldn’t do it, and so the very next thing I actually picked up was lego blocks. I started buying them on EBay and trying to find colors I didn’t have, and just started going at it – while my Wife, or my girlfriend at the time, looked at me like I was crazy.

TV: What was the first project you completed?
WP: The first one I did was Jim Thome. I chose him because I felt like even if it turned out complete trash he was going to be a guy that was going to be encouraging. He was going to be a guy that would say ‘Oh, it looks just like me – thanks, Wayne.’

TV: How did you begin selling your portraits?
WP: I remember when [Thome] was signing it, (former Indians Pitcher) Carl Pavano was looking over his shoulder and said, “Jimmy that’s awesome – are you gonna buy that or what?” And I told them it’s not for sale – I wanted the first one for myself. And [Pavano] said, “well then I want one of me,” and that was one of the first ones I sold.

TV: When did you begin selling them?
WP: Probably 2010 – I probably started making them at the end of 2009.

TV: How long do they take to make?
WP: It varies by the size, by the colors, by how difficult they can be overall. A typical one usually takes me around 20 hours to work with and that includes me trying to design it and all that.

TV: How did word get out among other players?
WP: [Visiting Clubhouse Manager] Willie Jenks let me hang them up, so what happened was after I did Thome, I brought it in uncompleted because the White Sox had come in and they saw it as I was building it. Once I brought it in the players thought it looked like him, and then after I had done this one, the players started asking me about making different ones.

TV: How many have you made so far?
WP: I have probably made about 50. Most of them are based around players.

TV: Have you made any non-baseball portraits?
WP: I did a Michael Jackson, that was the second one I did, but then I said ‘I want to do more baseball players’, and I thought it would be really cool if they would sign it. So I did Johan Santana after that because he was always a big clown when he came in here, and I knew the Mets were coming the next year.

TV: What are some recent portraits you’ve made?
WP: I just finished up one for a guy in New York of Gary Carter. The guy that bought it bought it as a gift for a big Mets fan, so the actual person will see it at his birthday party. I’ve done Josh Willingham, I’ve done C.C. Sabathia – that was the biggest one I’ve ever done. I also did these cats for a lady who sent me a picture of them.

TV: How many have you finished this season?
WP: This season, probably 10 or 12. For the most part Sabathia kind of killed me because it took like two or three months just to work on his. Every day was just a small part of it, and it took so long to do.

TV: Do you have to deliver the portraits to customers?
WP: I do [deliver them] – the outrageous size ones are not the easiest ships…The smaller sizes ship fine. The Post Office, they’re the way to go. They just don’t send the outrageous size unfortunately.

TV: Have you received any media attention in the past?
WP: I did NPR radio, and they take you down to this big room, and told me a guy from D.C. was going to call in. They gave me a headset and told me to talk into this giant microphone with no one else in the room. It was a little weird, but it went really well in the end. I’ve done NPR, I’ve done ESPN Page 2, I was in the New York Times and the Plain Dealer a couple times.

Additional information and a full gallery of his work can be found on his website,

Winners of the Tribe Treasures Auction get to enjoy “Menchie’s with the Mastersons”

A group of young Tribe fans recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Mastersons at Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Crocker Park after winning a Tribe Treasures auction earlier this season.

Indians Pitcher Justin Masterson and his wife Meryl Masterson joined the fans after the team’s August 30 game vs. the Oakland Athletics.

The Tribe Treasures auction was hosted by the Indians Wives Association in collaboration with Cleveland Indians Charities, and offered unique fan experiences that are created by Indians players and their spouses.

The silent auction allowed fans to bid on these experiences, which often involve spending time away from the stadium with Indians players and their families.

The proceeds from the auctions support community outreach initiatives in the greater Cleveland area, with a focus on the needs of women and children.

The next Indians Wives Association event will take place September 15 at Progressive Field, as the group hosts “Shirts Off the Players Backs” – an in-game auction of player jerseys that will be held during the Indians’ contest against the Detroit Tigers.

Indians Game Information, September 1

CLEVELAND INDIANS (55-77, 4th, -17.5G) vs. TEXAS RANGERS (78-53)
RHP Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. (ET)
TV: STO   Radio: WTAM/Indians Radio Network

POSITIVELY 4TH STREET: The four-run threshold has emerged as somewhat of a benchmark for the Indians this season, as the Indians are 41-25 when plating at least 4 runs in 2012…conversely, Cleveland is 14-52 when being held to 3-or-fewer runs…Tribe has scored 3 runs-or-less in 10 of the club’s last 12 games.

LATE LAUNCHES: CASEY KOTCHMAN connected for a 2-run HR in last night’s loss…the blast marked the 13th home run hit by Cleveland in the 9th inning this season, T3rd-most in the A.L. and majors behind Toronto (17), and New York-AL (14)…that said, the Indians are just 3-9 this season when hitting at least one 9th-inning home run.

GOTTA  HAVE A  FIDDLE  IN  THE  BAND:  The  Clevelanders  are  playing host to the Texas Rangers for 3 games this weekend, first meeting between the two clubs in nearly 4 months since Tribe took 2 of 3 tilts from May 4-6 here  at  Progressive  Field…tonight  marks  the  2nd  of  6  scheduled  games between the Indians and Rangers over the next 14 days…Cleveland went 1-9 vs. Texas in 2011.