Greg Van Niel brought his family to Sunday’s game and sat on the third-base line in Section 160, where he ended up spending much of the day collecting foul balls. An Indians Season Ticket Holder, Van Niel caught four (yes, 4!) foul balls on the day.
Van Niel made so many grabs on Sunday afternoon, that by the time he retrieved a Michael Brantley foul in the fifth inning, he felt compelled to flip it over to others in the crowd (see video below).
“Three of them were catches and one was a ball I picked up off the ground,” said Van Niel. “The third one I think was the hardest one – I think I ended up sprawled across a few rows, and I got some cheese on myself. But the other ones were just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”
The foul balls were his first (second, third, and fourth) of his lifetime at Progressive Field. The Indians Season Ticket Holder exchanged tickets to book seats in Section 160 for Sunday, and it paid off with a memorable afternoon.
“Michael Bourn hit one that was off the façade [of the suites overhead], and that’s where I was in the cheese fries… [That] one was crazy acrobatics. I was strewn across three rows, and I needed some assistance getting back. The others were just being in the right place at the right time,” said Van Niel.
After his amazing fortune on Sunday, Van Niel did offer some advice for fellow Indians fans: “We had the exchange tickets, so yeah, I’m going to try to get these seats for next year. Row FF, Section 160, Seat 3 if you’re looking for tickets – it’s the magic seat.”
– TribeVibe contributor Max Lom
We know many fans are looking for the best App to follow the Indians all season, and TribeVibe has the full breakdown on how you can follow the Tribe anywhere , anytime, from your mobile device. If you want access to breaking Indians news, score updates, and even features like live radio broadcasts, video highlights and MLB.tv streaming video then the MLB At Bat App is a necessary addition to your device.
The App is available through MLB.com at the App Store, but you can customize it to focus on the Indians, and even get an Indians-specific shortcut on your device’s home-screen. Step-by-Step instructions for downloading and customizing your MLB At Bat App are below:
The Tribe officially has a fan flying out to Spring Training to compete for a spot in the MLB Fan Cave! Alexandria Justice was selected as a Top 30 finalist late on Tuesday and will arrive in Goodyear on Monday. TribeVibe caught up with Alex before she heads to Arizona to demonstrate why she is the ultimate baseball fan.
TribeVibe: What was your reaction when you found out you made the Top 30?
Alexandria Justice: Just like for the top 50, I’m not afraid to admit that I cried like a baby. Waiting for them to announce the top 30 after the voting closed at 5 p.m. was almost the death of me. I swear I didn’t blink for minutes at a time while staring at my computer screen and started to get lightheaded from holding my breath. Finally, I refreshed the page for the millionth time and there I was, in the top 30. My best friend was waiting outside of my room (I wanted to be alone, just in case) so when I screamed, “OH MY GOD, I LOVE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD!” she got the hint that it was safe to come in. She picked me up, spun me around, and we freaked out for the next five minutes. Once again, it was hard to believe that I wasn’t dreaming.
The Indians confirmed today that one of the organization’s top prospects, Francisco Lindor, will be one of many players on hand at Tribe Fest, presented by KeyBank, on January 19 and 20.
The 19 year-old shortstop prospect was named the Indians’ top prospect in 2012, and the no. 13 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com. After being selected in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft, Lindor made his professional debut last season as an 18 year-old.
The switch-hitter showed both pop at the plate and speed on the base-paths with the Single-A Lake County Captains in 2012. In 122 games he posted a .352 OBP with 24 doubles, 6 HR and 27 stolen bases.
MLB.com prospect expert Jonathan Mayo offered this assessment of Lindor:
“Lindor has a very advanced approach at the plate as a switch-hitter, and should hit for average and power from both sides. He gets on base and is a heady runner. There’s no question about his defensive ability, with a plus arm and range. While Lindor is a teenager who spent the year at Class A Lake County, don’t be shocked if he’s able to move faster than most prepsters.”
In addition to Lindor, a large cast of current and former Indians will attend Tribe Fest, and fans will have an opportunity to interact with them on both Saturday and Sunday. A full list of Indians attendees is below:
Terry Francona, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Vinnie Pestano, Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Stubbs, Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, Francisco Lindor, Nick Hagadone, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen, Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus, John Adams, Katie Witham, The Cleveland Blues and Slider.
Tickets are still available for both days of Tribe Fest, and fans can get more information at Indians.com/TribeFest
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!
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
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.
Experience a dinner like never before at Progressive Field on Friday, September 7th during “Dinner on the Diamond.” Foodies and Tribe fans alike will be delighted by an evening beginning with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in the dugout, followed by a three-course dinner on the warning track of Progressive Field.
The night doesn’t end with dinner. “There are several other bonuses to the night,” explains Leslie Gusching, Indians Hosted Events Coordinator. “Each table receives a complementary bottle of wine; and a baseball, so they can play catch on the field throughout the night. We’ll also broadcast the away game against the Minnesota Twins on the scoreboard.”
Enjoy the night will those most important to you or make new connections.
“It’s a chance for fans to celebrate a special occasion or just a dinner with friends and family,” says Gusching. “Some people see it as an option to entertain clients literally down on the field of Progressive Field.”
Whether you’re interested in a fine dining experience in a unique atmosphere or simply a die-hard fan looking to enjoy a different perspective of Progressive Field with friends or family, “Dinner on the Diamond” caters to all fans’ interests.
For more details and a full menu, visit indians.com/hostedevents. Tickets for the event can be purchased online or at any Indians Team Shop.
Long-time Indians Season Ticket Holder Howard Koch attended the Tribe’s game versus Minnesota on Wednesday. Koch, 88, chatted with TribeVibe about his memories as a life-long Indians fan.
TribeVibe: How did you become an Indians fan?
Howard Koch: I played little league ball from the time I was 12 years old. We had about six different divisions of ages, and all the kids just played baseball. They don’t play it anymore because they’ve got too many gadgets in the way. It’s a shame because I used to play all day, every day. They used to give us tickets at the end of the school year. If you were a good student, you got tickets to one of the games. Each school got different tickets, so I’d gather a bunch and trade with other schools. I used to go with my mother on Friday for Ladies’ Night. I used to go to a few games with her. Then I sold hot dogs at the stadium.
TV: What was your experience like as an employee at the stadium?
HK: I was mostly employed because I liked to watch the Indians. I don’t know how good I was.
TV: When did you first purchase season tickets?
HK: When I first bought tickets, 1936, I saw Bob Feller pitch his first exhibition game out of high school. They threw him in, and he pitched six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out eight in three innings. [The next batter] walked to the plate, he got two strikes called on him, he walked back to the dugout, and the umpire said, ‘That’s only strike two.’ He said, ‘I’m not going to stand in front of this guy [who is] throwing 100 mph and doesn’t know where it’s going.’ I am probably the only person alive who saw that game.
I was selling hot dogs the night that Joe DiMaggio had his hitting streak stop. I saw the last game at the Cleveland [Municipal] Stadium and the first game at Progressive Field. I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences.
TV: Who are some of the top players you have seen over the years?
HK: I go back to the old-timers that I grew up with. That was Earl Averill and Mel Harder, Bob Feller, Hal Trosky, those are the ones that come to my mind first. The next generation, you’ve got another group, but those are the ones that I grew up with as a kid that I remember the most.
TV: What was your best memory of being at an Indians game as a kid?
HK: Probably seeing Feller’s game. I was 12 then, and I’m 88 now, so anybody who saw that has to be pretty old. It was a school day, so there couldn’t have been many kids there.
TV: What was your favorite thing about League Park?
HK: It was small, and it had a fence out in right field about 30 feet high. It was sort of like Boston has their Green Monster; we had that fence back then. It only held probably 30,000 people. Everyone was stuck really close. Those are the players I remember.
TV: Who is your favorite player on the current Indians team?
HK: I like that new second baseman, Kipnis, because he plays hard. He runs every ball out. He hits a ball in the infield, he runs as fast as he can to first base. For a converted outfielder, he’s playing wonderful at second base.
TV: How has the game changed since you were 12?
HK: Back then, we didn’t have a designated hitter; the pitcher had to bat. We did a lot more bunting then. There are a few players on the team that [do not] even know how to bunt, and that’s sort of ridiculous because anybody can be taught how to bunt. Pitchers pitched the whole game; relief pitchers never came in until the last 10 years. They pitched every fourth day instead of every fifth day, so they had a lot of innings pitched in a season.
TV: Where is the best seat in Progressive Field?
HK: [Behind the Indians dugout] is a good spot, but I’d rather be up a little bit higher. Right now, [in the second row] my vision is not that good, and I’m losing the ball. I can enjoy it much better on television. Today, I drove up; it’s a three-hour drive.
TV: Are your children and grandchildren Indians fans?
HK: Well, none of them live here. They cheer for them from all around the country. My son lives in South Carolina. My brother lives in New Mexico, and he tries to catch them all. My daughter lives in Portland, Oregon. They’re really scattered.
TV: How do you follow the Indians from home?
HK: We have STO, so I follow about every game. I have my little spot, and my wife comes in every once in a while to watch it. She has her programs, and I watch Indians games.
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor
Several local summer camps spent the day at Progressive Field on Wednesday as the Indians took on the Minnesota Twins. Various campers sat down with TribeVibe to discuss their experience at the Tribe game.
“I think we’re going to win. It’s just fun to watch baseball, America’s greatest game.” -Edan Husney, West Shore YMCA Sports Camp
“I love baseball; it’s really fun. I like watching it. Jason Kipnis [is my favorite]. He is really good.” -Katie Schraff, West Shore YMCA Sports Camp
“Eating popcorn and watching the game [is the best part of being here]. Choo is good.” -Kelly Conaway, West Shore YMCA Sports Camp
“I have never really been to an Indians game; this is my second [game]. I like Choo. I get to watch the game with my [friends].” -Riley Atkins, YMCA French Creek
“My favorite part of watching this is when they hit and catch all the balls. I hope [we win]. Last year, we lost.” -Cole Schulke, Berea City Schools Summer Camp
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor