Major League Baseball today announced the 31 winners of the 2014 Honorary Bat Girl Contest that recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Cleveland Indians is Charlene Wuthrich, who will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony on Sunday, May 18.
Charlene is one of each MLB Club’s selected winners who will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony, and will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. Charlene, a life-long Indians fan from Sullivan Township who has had sheep named after Tribe players, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She had a double mastectomy performed in 1988 and since has worked tirelessly as an advocate for those dealing with cancer. She has facilitated the cancer support group at Ashland’s Samaritan Hospital, where she’s been a nurse for over 25 years. She’s also worked on the mobile mammogram van and twice has been chosen as the American Cancer Society’s Nurse of Hope.
Fans from across the country and Canada shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. The Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar and Atlanta Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink. Games will use a pink stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game day baseball. Numerous MLB players will use pink bats and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many of the game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight against breast cancer.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative celebrated on Mother’s Day. In five years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 4 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.
Over 19,000 Tribe fans signed up to be a Designated Driver at Progressive Field this year, beating the number of Minnesota Twins fans (16,831) and increasing well over last year’s total of 18,156.
The Budweiser Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge is a competition between two MLB Clubs, with the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians facing off for the 2013 season. Tribe fans that pledged to be a designated driver at any Fan Services kiosk or Concierge Desk received a coupon for a free small Pepsi product and were entered to win a prize pack courtesy of Budweiser.
One lucky fan that signed up — Sharon Mackertt — received autographed baseballs, Tribe gear, and other items from the Cleveland Indians and the TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) coalition. She will also be entered into a drawing at the Winter Meetings for the chance to win a trip to the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota!
You can find more information on the challenge and the TEAM Coalition at http://www.teamcoalition.org.
Thank you for your support, Tribe Fans. We are looking forward to growing these designated driver totals even more next year!
– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling
This November, Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson traveled to Kenya to participate in the Feed Their Future project with Bright Hope, an organization that helps bring hope to those living on less than $1 a day.
Justin visited Mathare Valley, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Children there are faced with having to decide whether to go to school hungry or spend their day searching for food. Feed Their Future combines education with two warm meals every day, so that children can earn a degree and create better lives for themselves.
Masterson met the with children, ladling soup and speaking at the school and church. Check out Feed Their Future in action with these videos from Masterson’s trip to Kenya:
When he was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award, Justin said, “To whom much is given, much is required, and I try to live by that.”
You can learn more about Justin Masterson’s partnership with Bright Hope at http://www.brighthope.org/feedtheirfuture.
– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling
Longtime Cleveland Indians fan Kim Lauver-Fletcher – the ubiquitous @princesswikki on Twitter — has two of the biggest Jason Kipnis fans around living in her home, Will and Elise.
So when the Fletchers attended a game earlier this season in the Family Social Suite, they brought a surprise for the others joining them in the suite – Kips on a Stick. They’re simple, really: Kipnis’ headshot, printed in color and glued to a stick.
She also provided the Indians with a handful for safe-keeping – which came in handy on Wednesday morning.
Kipnis and Indians pitcher Justin Masterson represented the Tribe well in New York in each’s first All-Star Game appearance. Kipnis, of course, delivered a big hit for the American League, an RBI double in the eighth of a 3-0 win, securing home-field advantage in the World Series for whichever team eventually represents the AL there.
As a thank you to Kipnis for representing the organization so well, we put the Kips on a Stick to work: at The Q, inside the Progressive Field offices, at one of our employees’ favorite lunch hangouts, Vincenza’s, and even with an employee’s dog.
Take a look at the above photo gallery, which includes Will, Elise and, of course, Slider, who also joined the Tribe players in the Big Apple. Which Kip on a Stick is YOUR favorite?
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond/Photos by Dan Mendlik
Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro will be among a number of sports executives in attendance at Progressive Field this afternoon to help launch the Cleveland chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance.
The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is an organization that focuses on educating youth sports coaches, parents and athletes to emphasize character building and life lessons in addition to competition in the youth sports environment.
The PCA was formed at Stanford University in 1998 and offers a variety of workshops and online courses for people involved in different areas of youth athletics. Shapiro joined the National Board of Directors in 2012.
“I joined the National Advisory Board of PCA after I learned about the great work they were doing in helping to insure that youth sports is the positive, life forming experience it has the potential to be,” said Shapiro. “Sports has been a big part of the fabric of my life but my exposure to youth sports through my son’s experiences made me realize how much of the eyepiece depends upon the coach and his approach. PCA has a program and philosophy that is scalable and approaches the sports from a holistic approach guiding the coaches, parents and athletes.”
After joining the National Board of Directors, Shapiro quickly focused on bringing a chapter of the organization to Cleveland, and he spearheaded the effort to open the PCA’s 8th regional office in the city.
“Cleveland is my home, my community and where I am raising my family. I want the Cleveland market to benefit from the great work that PCA does. The natural way to insure this happens and happens soon was to partner with PCA and other like-minded local leaders to help being a chapter to Cleveland,” said Shapiro.
The Indians President said his goals for the Cleveland chapter of PCA are to impact the youth sports experience of as many local coaches, athletes and families as possible, and that youth sports provide valuable building blocks of successes both on and off the field.
For more information on the Positive Coaching Alliance, visit: PositiveCoach.org.
– TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom
The Tribe is happy to announce that for the first time, the club will have a Fan Correspondent in Goodyear, AZ! If you are a Cleveland fan who is also into social media, you’ve probably seen her online or near the sidelines: @ClevelandChick, also known as Traci. She will be covering Spring Training from a fan’s perspective — where to get autographs, how to watch batting practice, what it’s like to travel to other ballparks, and more. Traci also will be fielding your questions in interviews with some notable Cleveland Indians.
She is definitely a die-hard fan, who is also a big fan of Ketchup – “he doesn’t cheat, he improvises.” Traci also won her first 10-speed bicycle at an Indians game: “It was a powder blue Huffy with a denim seat and rainbow stripes.” TribeVibe caught up with this fashionable Cleveland Chick before she heads west to the Cactus League and asked her a few questions:
TV: Have you been to Goodyear/Winter Haven in the past? If so, what was your experience like there?
CC: Going to Spring Training had always been a dream vacation of mine and when the Tribe announced that they were moving to Goodyear, it was a sign. This will be my fifth season going to Goodyear. My experience at Spring Training has been nothing short of fantastic. Let’s face it: palm trees, sunshine, and Tribe baseball … how could you go wrong?
TV: Why do you like to go to Spring Training?
CC: I love the easy-going vibe that surrounds Spring Training. The players are loose and joking around. The ushers are amazing at Goodyear, letting you walk around and take pictures or try to snag autographs. Meeting other fans is a great bonus. Walking into the ballpark, you can’t help but smile seeing all the old-timers decked out in their Tribe gear. Did I mention the sunshine, palm trees and baseball?
TV: Outside of the baseball, what has been your favorite part of Spring Training in the past?
CC: Spring Training is full of baseball fans from all over the country. I follow the Tribe to all of their “away” games, checking out each of the other ballparks. I’m particularly looking forward to the game against the Cubs. Each home park tries to take on the feeling of their team. Goodyear has Stadium Mustard and the Cubs park has red hots and old style. At the last Spring Training game against the Cubs, I saw an entire row of grown men with fuzzy bear ears sewn on their hats.
TV: What are you looking forward to the most this year?
CC: I’m looking forward to meeting the players, getting some autographs and watching Tribe baseball. More importantly though, I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my dad. A few years ago after my second trip to Goodyear, my dad told me going to Spring Training had always been his dream. So, this year, my dad is my travel buddy. After all the Indians games he took me to as a little girl, I had to do this for him.
Check back next week as Traci begins her journey!
– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling
Traci, a Cleveland native, blogs independently at www.HappinessIsaHotPierogi.com and is in Goodyear this spring and writing about the Indians for TribeVibe. The Indians are not compensating her for her coverage, nor did they fund her travel. You can follow all of Traci’s Spring Training adventure on Twitter at @ClevelandChick and of course, here on TribeVibe.
The Cleveland Indians were recently awarded a Wild Card spot for MLB’s 2012 Green Glove Award, a competition designed to promote better environmental practices throughout the league. In recognition of the club’s sustainability efforts, Brad Mohr – the Assistant Director of Ballpark Operations at Progressive Field – was invited to the White House for a forum on sustainability in sports last year. Next month, he’ll be headed to Sydney and Melbourne to speak at the Sports Sustainability United Summit. He has also presented at the Green Sports Alliance Summit the past two years and is very active in the sustainability community in Northeast Ohio. TribeVibe caught up with this industry-leader and asked him a few questions about the Tribe’s green efforts.
TribeVibe: What did the Cleveland Indians do to improve their diversion rate — the percentage of waste materials diverted from traditional disposal — in 2012?
Brad Mohr: We continued to take a serious, thorough look at our trash and recycling procedures in 2012, which paid off in another dramatic drop in trash going to the landfill. The most impactful improvement was the composting of organic material. Organic material that can be composted is anything that will break down in a natural environment such as food prep scraps, leftover food that cannot be donated and grass clippings. Our organics are sent to a facility that makes and sells mulch. We began composting as a pilot program late 2010 and we discovered we could compost a great amount of our waste. We went full throttle on composting in 2011 and recycled over 20 tons of organics. With composting becoming more and more a part of our operation and culture with education and familiarity, we composted 53 tons of organic material in 2012. That amounts to 21% of all of our recycling weight.
We continued to be consistent recyclers of other materials by saving from the landfill:
- 34 tons of aluminum and plastic beverage containers
- 69.5 tons of cardboard
- 31 tons of paper
- 19 tons of metals
- 20 tons of wooden pallets
- 13 tons of fryer oil
- 2.5 tons of electronics
- and an astonishing 2/3 of a ton of light bulbs
All together, we recycled 248 tons of materials. Compare that with 408 tons of trash and we have a diversion rate of 38%.
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.
Then, this happened on Friday in Goodyear, Ariz.
We are proud to have two candidates in the running for the MLB Fan Cave contest! We asked each of our candidates some questions to help you get to know them better and explain why they should represent the Cleveland Indians in the Fan Cave. Don’t forget to go vote for Jonathan here and follow him on Twitter @jlevey!
What is your favorite Tribe memory? Where were you and why does it stand out?
My favorite Tribe memory is when Tony Pena hit the walk-off home run with two outs in the 13th inning to win Game 1 of the 1995 American League Division Series versus the Red Sox. It gave me goosebumps as a fan, as it was the Indians’ first postseason win since the clinching Game 6 in the 1948 World Series. I was watching the game with my dad and stepmom. It was a school night so it was even more special to get to stay up late that night to witness the extra-inning heroics.
Who is your favorite Indians player of all time, and why?
My favorite Indians player of all time is Roberto Alomar, because I was a second baseman growing up and viewed him as an idol. Well, he was the best second baseman of his era, and I enjoyed every moment of his three seasons with the Tribe. I admired him so much that I went to Toronto in July 2011 to see the Blue Jays retire their first number, Roberto Alomar’s No. 12, one week after Alomar became the first Hall of Famer to be inducted as a Blue Jay.
There are two Indians fans as hopefuls for the Fan Cave. Why should fans vote for you? What makes you a great representative of the Cleveland Indians?
Fans should vote for me because I’m a fellow Clevelander and I’m a loyal, lifelong Indians fan. It would be a dream of an opportunity to be in the MLB Fan Cave and to represent the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians.