Tribe trucks bound for Goodyear — and in good hands
Have no fear, Indians fans, players and staff members: Your stuff is in good hands.
Two tractor trailers, operated by Cleveland-based Andrews Moving and Storage, the official moving company of the Cleveland Indians, pulled out of the bowels of Progressive Field on Thursday morning, bound for Goodyear, Ariz., and two months of Spring Training.
And to hear the drivers of those trucks, along with Indians veteran clubhouse and equipment manager Tony Amato, the 2,087-mile, 30-hour trip is – knock on wood – a piece of cake.
(Go ahead and knock on wood one more time. Thanks.)
“Everything usually goes smoothly,” Amato told TribeVibe Thursday morning. “Those (Andrews) guys do a great job; that’s what they do for a living. Our job is to get everything on the truck and when we get down there, everything gets unloaded properly.”
To wit: Andrews personnel, along with help from some Indians staffers, started loading the two trucks around 8 a.m., and about a half-hour later, each was packed nearly to the gills – neatly, of course.
Longtime drivers Ed Fisher and Bradley Holmes are manning the controls, with Fisher making his fourth trip to spring training – he first hauled the goods to Winter Haven, Fla., in the Indians’ final year there – and Holmes his first.
Fisher, a Euclid native who now lives in Parma, said the Indians’ trip is one of the highlights of his year, being a longtime Indians fan. He says it even ranks ahead of a trip he took out of Goodyear after dropping off the Tribe’s gear: He drove to Las Vegas and picked up Victoria’s Secret angels wings from its annual fashion show there and drove them to Columbus, home of Victoria Secret’s parent company, Limited Brands. (The models were not on the truck.)
“It’s memorable for me; it feels like you’re part of something special,” said Fisher, one of many Tribe fans who cites Rocky Colavito as his all-time favorite. “It takes a special talent to be a Major League player; my talent is driving the truck.”
Holmes, a Dayton native, also is a baseball fan, though he sheepishly admitted he’d be a bit more jazzed if he was hauling the Cincinnati Reds’ truck to Goodyear. Each driver, though, shrugged off any concerns about the trip, insisting it was as easy as a Sunday drive.
“It’s always smooth, and uneventful,” Fisher said.
The trucks include everything from player equipment and suitcases to miscellaneous items Indians front office members need for their two-month stays in Arizona that they can’t fit in a 50-pound suitcase for their flight. Waiting for Amato and his staff in Goodyear is Fletcher Wilkes, who manages certain operations in Goodyear and has the place ready to go when the trucks arrive.
It’s a marked difference from the team’s former complex in Winter Haven, which was dormant when the trucks pulled in.
“The year-round facility makes a major difference. (Wilkes) has everything prepped for us when we get there,” Amato said. “When we were in Winter Haven, we’d be chasing around doorstops, tables and microwaves for a week before we could even contemplate setting up. We’ll unload on Tuesday and have the clubhouse operational by Tuesday night.”
Pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear on Feb. 10, with the team’s first full-squad workout set for Feb. 15.
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond