Memorable moments from the Tribe’s first half
It’s been a whirlwind nine months for the Cleveland Indians organization, starting in October with Terry Francona and ending on Sunday with the Tribe’s sixth series sweep of the 2013 season, over Kansas City.
Having won four in a row, the Indians entered the All-Star break with two representatives, Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson, in New York and a 51-44 record, good enough for second place in the AL Central. Detroit leads and is 1½ games ahead.
Given a few days to take a breather, here are some of our picks for the club’s most memorable moments of the first half:
Nick Swisher orchestrates Harlem Shake: Tribe Town 216 Edition — To say this one went viral would be an understatement. Personally, we loved Terry’s dancing the best, as did most of you!
April 10: Mariano Rivera meets Indians staff in Yankees’ final visit to Progressive Field — Or, what we thought was their final visit. In his season-long farewell tour, Rivera insisted on meeting with longtime staff members at each club the Yanks visited. They returned to Cleveland on May 13 to make up rainouts, but Rivera showed he’s a class act by fielding questions from longtime Indians employees.
April 12: Swisher’s walkoff single — Already beloved in Cleveland after signing in December, Swisher’s walkoff single gave the Indians a 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Progressive Field on a cold Friday night. It also clinched the first of three complete-game shutouts in the first half by Masterson – and provided a fantastic highlight after Swisher did his best airplane imitation.
April 21: Drew Stubbs finds the popcorn in Houston — Another Tribe newcomer’s homer to right field in Minute Maid Park helped the Indians to an early-season win over AL newbie Houston. “(Houston right fielder Rick Ankiel) ended up robbing someone’s popcorn,” Rick Manning said of the play.
April 30: Seven homers, seven pictures — The Indians beat the Phillies, 14-2, and hit seven homers. We decided to see where all seven landed.
April 30: Jason Giambi teaches the young guys a lesson — In the same game, another newcomer – Jason Giambi – dove head-first into first base for a single. Later, Giambi signed a picture of the slide posted outside the Tribe clubhouse with this message: “To the boys: Play like you live – hard.”
May 6: Mark Reynolds’ bomb — Oakland starter Jarrod Parker plunked Reynolds early in this game, and Reynolds … well, let’s say he got some payback.
May 17-20: Indians sweep the Mariners – in exciting fashion — The four-game sweep included two-walkoffs: Kipnis’ three-run homer on Friday night and, after a wacky game on Monday, Yan Gomes’ homer to left.
May 23: Mike and Mike visit Progressive Field — The popular ESPN show paid its annual visit to Cleveland and over 200 employees of show sponsor Progressive Insurance took it in.
May 31: It rained. And rained — The first of a three-game set against Tampa Bay was delayed by rain, eventually beginning after 9PM. Then it rained some more. The game resumed after midnight and finished at 2:53AM. The Indians offered fans a ticket exchange for their trouble, to either the July 31 or September 6 games. Each will feature Sugardale Dollar Dogs and fireworks, like the original game did.
June 16: Top pick visits, and gets a warm welcome from his new mates — Top draft pick Clint Frazier, an outfielder from Loganville, Ga., signed his contract and visited Cleveland to meet his new teammates and take batting practice. They, uh, had some fun with him when he entered the clubhouse.
June 18: Ubaldo gets a surprise while on the mound — As far as we know, this never has been reported. Intrepid reporter Megan Golden got the scoop from Ubaldo Jimenez himself, and here it is:
“I was getting ready to do my windup, and suddenly, I felt something on my forearm. I was like, ‘What is this?’ I looked at it, and it was more black. I looked at my hat to see if it was dripping from my hat, and I didn’t have anything, especially [because] I don’t sweat a lot. I was like, ‘I just got pooped on.’ [My teammates] saw it; they realized that’s what it was because I went to the back of the mound and cleaned it off with the rosin bag. I was [thinking], hopefully, this is a good sign, not a bad one.
I don’t even know how to describe it; [laughs] I guess you have to be prepared for anything here. Anything can happen. You have to be so unlucky [to] get pooped on by a bird.”
June 20: Celebrities, Tribe alumni visit to raise money for Cleveland Indians Charities — The annual Cleveland Indians Charities Celebrity Golf Classic raised nearly $100,000 for CIC, in its 25th year. One lucky participants’ hole-in-one landed him $10,000.
June 22: Carlos Baerga inducted into Indians Hall of Fame — The lovable former Tribe second baseman gave a rousing speech, much of which was directed at the current Indians players. John Hart also was inducted into the Indians Distinguished Hall of Fame for non-uniformed personnel.
June 23: Kevin Costner visit — It wasn’t Crash Davis, but Costner looked pretty good taking infield and batting practice. Costner, in town for the filming of new movie “Draft Day,” in which he plays a fictional Cleveland Browns general manager, chatted with Swisher and Giambi, among other Indians players, during his visit.
June 28: Doubleheader wildness in Chicago — The Indians swept a doubleheader for the ages in Chicago, the longest DH in MLB history in which each game went nine innings. Down 5-0 in the opener, the Tribe rallied for a 19-10 win. In the nightcap, Swisher hit a game-winning homer in the ninth for the sweep.
Kipnis named Player of the Month — All he did was hit .419. More details here.
July 11: Salazar dazzles in debut — Danny Salazar made his Major League debut in a matinee and was quite impressive, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before eventually earning the win for the Indians.
July 13: Indians rock 1902 Cleveland Bronchos throwbacks — The Tribe honored the 1902 Bronchos with these cool throwbacks, and did it in style, with a 5-3 victory over the Royals.
Shutout leaders: The Indians have the most shutouts in the American League, with 12. Here’s a look at our schedule for a full list.
Strikeout first half record: The Tribe’s rate of 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings is the best mark in a first half in team history, well ahead of the second-best rate of 7.8 in 2000.
Brohio: Nick Swisher started wearing a “Brohio” shirt around the clubhouse, and it’s caught on. Now there’s a whole section at Progressive Field where all bros can gather on Friday night.
Six series sweeps: The Indians completed six series sweeps, the last of which was the Royals wins heading into the All-Star break. The Tribe notched three four-game sweeps, a pair of 2-gamers and the Royals sweep.
Fans, now it’s your turn: What was your favorite first-half memory? Tweet at us (@Indians) and use #TribeFirstHalf and we’ll Retweet the best!
–Indians Communications staff