PHOTO GALLERY: Cleveland Indians Batting Practice, May 12

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–Photos by Sarah Sachs

From the AP: ‘Former pro Julio Franco stays busy in Japan as player-manager’

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Photo: AP, Koji Sasahard & Cleveland Indians Archives

 

Julio Franco is still playing professional baseball. Yes, you read that correctly. AP reporter Jim Armstrong recently profiled Franco and his baseball exploits in Japan. Franco played for the Tribe from 1983-88 and notched a Silver Slugger award in the ’88 season. His career lasted across 23 years, and still seems to be going strong. (Jim’s full profile can be read by clicking here)

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Julio Franco is getting the best of both worlds as a 56-year-old player-manager for the Ishikawa Million Stars of Japan’s semi-professional Baseball Challenge League…..

“I don’t see myself out of baseball,” Franco said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I can go fishing, go play golf or go to Starbucks but at the end of the day, I love baseball and this is what I want to do.”……

Playing in 10 of his team’s 14 games this season, Franco has a .333 batting average with four RBIs and six runs scored.”I wasn’t planning to play this much but one of my best hitters got hurt so I have to play first base or DH,” Franco said. “I was thinking about just pinch-hitting and playing once a week but since he got hurt I’m playing a lot more than I expected.”……

“I want to play until I’m 66,” Franco said. “That’s the goal.”

PHOTO GALLERY: A fun Sunday at Progressive Field as the Indians beat the Twins

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–Photos by Dan Mendlik/Sarah Sachs

VIDEO

Inside Bruce Chen’s long, winding journey to Cleveland, and why he might be the most interesting man in town

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The Tribe purchased the contract of veteran left-hander Bruce Chen from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, as the 37-year-old will make his 2015 season debut and first career appearance as a member of the Cleveland Indians this afternoon against the Minnesota Twins.

The Indians will be the 11th club that Chen has played for since making his Major League debut back in 1998 with the Atlanta Braves and he has a collectible from each stop to prove it.

“I either keep a hat, or I have a bunch of the baseball bags,” Chen said. “But, every single team is special for me and hopefully I can make this a very special time here in Cleveland. Eventually I’m going to sit down with all my kids and I’m going to talk to them for hours about every single team that I played for and what I accomplished.”

The Panama City, Panama, native pitched for the Kansas City Royals the past 6 years, but was released last September before the end of the season. After a tough season, Chen entered the offseason with some doubt about his baseball future.

“After the season, I did a self-evaluation,” he said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then I started getting the urge back and one of the most important things was my daughters. I always tell them never give up, always follow your dreams, and work very hard to get it.”

Chen signed a Minor League contract with the Tribe two days before spring training camp began, knowing he would have to battle to earn a spot in the club’s rotation.

The Indians placed the left-hander in the rotation with Triple-A Columbus to begin the season, a decision that meant Chen would have to prove himself on the mound.

“It all depends on how bad you want it,” he said. “When you go down there, you realize how good you have it. A lot of guys have never been to the Big Leagues, they’re making very little money and they play hard. And you’re saying to yourself, ‘well I don’t want to be here’, you can’t be like that. For me, it wasn’t putting my ego aside; it was like, ‘hey, you know what’? I have done this before and I have to go out there and earn my way back.”

Chen excelled in 5 starts with the Clippers, throwing a club-high 31.0 innings and striking out 23 batters (2-1, 1.74ERA, 19H, 6R-ER, 3BB). Now, he hopes to continue that success with the Indians and prove to everyone that he can still get it done in the Major Leagues.

“I want to go out there and I want to give this everything I can and you know what? My kids are going to learn from this,” Chen said. “They aren’t going to give up just because something doesn’t go their way. That was one of the things I most wanted to do. I wanted to show my kids that if you want something, you don’t give up.”

Chen has won 82 career games and is one win away from passing Mariano Rivera as the Panamanian-born pitcher with the most MLB wins. Chen’s parents and family will all be at Progressive Field to watch the left-hander in his Tribe debut, but he said that won’t bring any additional pressure.

“I’m a dad and a father and I’m going to love my kids no matter what. So, hopefully they’re going to love me no matter what,” he said with a laugh. “You want to go out there and you don’t want to let anybody down, but the best thing you can do is give it your all, your best effort and hopefully things can come out well.”

–TribeVibe contributor Jerod Scheetz

100-year-old Chuck Yasenka throws first pitch at Progressive Field Friday night

 

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Chuck Yasenka, a 100-year-old Broadview heights resident and Indians fan, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday night’s Indians game against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.

Yasenka is a two-time colon cancer survivor who played golf into his 90s; he last attended an Indians game in person 10 years ago. Over 100 friends and family members were in attendance to celebrate the occasion with him.

After his three great granddaughters sent a birthday card to the Indians with a hand-written note, some members of the organization – including Corey Kluber, Michael Bourn and Sandy Alomar — signed the card for him; that card will be presented to him before the game on Friday.

And now, the night in Tweets:

PHOTO GALLERY: Cleveland Indians Batting Practice, May 8 vs. Minnesota Twins

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Chuck Booth stops at Progressive Field on his quest of seeing 216 games in one season

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How do you top a world record of visiting all 30 Major League ballparks in just 23 days? By seeing 216 baseball games in just one season.

In 2012, Chuck Booth claimed the official world record for fastest time to visit all Major League Baseball parks by seeing 30 ballparks in just 23 days. But when he set out to accomplish this, the goal was always to see at least one baseball game every day of the season.

“This trip (seeing one game every day of the season) was my ask for the MLB Fan Cave when they had auditions. I was one of the final guys to get cut from that in 2011,” explained Booth. “I said why not have someone go to the park every single day of the year, and that way my quest. I wanted to do it in 2012, but I just didn’t get enough worked out, so then I decided to go for my record.”

After breaking that record in 2012, Booth started planning his quest – one game for every day of the season. But he went above and beyond, planning 216 games in what is typically a 180-day season.

In addition to doing these trips for the fun of it, Booth decided to use his story as a way to campaign for the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), which aims to advance the study and prevention of head injuries. This mission is very personal to Booth, who has a history of concussions from his time playing sports.

When seeing 216 games in one season, some doubleheaders are necessary. But unlike in his record of 30 parks in 23 days, Booth doesn’t have to fly in order to make the games.

“I have about 45 doubleheaders scheduled,” Booth said. “Mostly they’re New York to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Washington, Chicago to Milwaukee; usually 100 miles or under.”

Booth will see the most games, about 40, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia due to family living nearby. Other frequent visits for the season are Nationals Park with 30, Yankee Stadium with 25, Fenway with 15, Camden Yards with 15 and Citi Field with about 10.

Booth’s visit to Progressive Field on May 2 was his 36th game since the season started on April 6. That’s 36 games in just 28 days. His only day without seeing a game in person was April 7 when the Cubs and Cardinals game was rained out at Wrigley Field.

Good luck on your quest, Chuck. We look forward to having you back at Progressive Field!

 

-TribeVibe contributor Angela Martin

Fans guide to Cleveland Indians 6-game homestand vs. Twins, Cardinals beginning May 8

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A guide to the six-game homestand that begins Friday at Progressive Field vs. the Twins:

Note: District Tickets are sold out for Friday and nearly sold out for Saturday — if you want District Tickets for remaining home games, especially weekend games, get them now by clicking here.

6:10PM starts: The Cleveland Indians remind fans that Tuesday and Wednesday’s home games against the St. Louis Cardinals at Progressive Field will begin at 6:10PM ET, an hour earlier than typical weeknight games.

The club is testing an earlier weeknight start time during the season’s early months to support the best interests of our players and fans, in an effort to avoid potential weather issues. Additionally, families and children who may be attending the games will arrive home an hour earlier.

Indians, Uber team up: The Indians are proud to partner with Uber Cleveland to provide Tribe fans with safe, reliable transportation to and from Progressive Field.

Fans can use code “TRIBE20” to take $20 off their first ride. Uber will also be at the The Corner at Progressive Field this Friday, May 8 as well as numerous times throughout the season distributing items and signing up riders.

All-Star Game voting now open: Voting is now open for the 2015 All-Star Game, and for the first time, it will be done completely online through the 2015 MLB All-Star Game Ballot at Indians.com.

Fans can vote for Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and the rest of their favorite Tribe players to get them to the 2015 All-Star Game, July 14 on FOX from Cincinnati. Fans can vote up to 35 times at MLB.com/vote, or visit the voting booth at Progressive Field, near Section 153. Indians staff will be on site to assist fans in voting for their favorite Tribe players

 

Friday, May 8 vs. Twins @ 7:10PM

ALL GATES: OPEN at 6PM (Right Field Gate/Family Deck open at 5PM)

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WMMS/IRN (radio subject to change)

Sugardale Dollar Dog Night: Friday will be the first of 15 dollar dog nights throughout the 2015 season. There will also be a Sugardale sampling on Gateway Plaza before the game.

50/50 Raffle: The 50/50 Raffle will be available for all home games in the 2015 season. The raffle supports Cleveland Indians Charities in its mission to provide softball and baseball programs to the underprivileged youth of Cleveland, among other philanthropic efforts.

Uber representatives will be at The Corner: Uber Cleveland will be at The Corner bar passing out tchotchkes and providing fans with a passcode for a free first ride up to $20.

 

Saturday, May 9 vs. Twins @ 4:10PM

*ALL GATES: OPEN at 2PM

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WTAM/WMMS/IRN

1995 AL Championship Commemorative Pennant, courtesy of Northeast Ohio Media Group: 10,000 fans will receive a 1995 AL Championship Commemorative Pennant upon entering Saturday’s game.

RTA route changes: Due to ODOT construction and RTA rail repairs, the West Side Red Line will be replaced by buses between Tower City and the Airport from Saturday, May 9 through Sunday, May 10.

Pregame activities in the Right Field District: Come to the ballpark early and enjoy pregame activities with the Strikers including air hockey, jenga and more!

Terrace Club: The third floor of the Terrace Club will once again be open to the public in 2015. Check it out for great food and views – make reservations on OpenTable.com!

 

 

Sunday, May 10 vs. Twins @ 1:10PM

*ALL GATES: OPEN at 11AM

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WMMS/IRN (radio subject to change)

KeyBank Kids Fun Day: Back for another season, KeyBank Kids Fun Day will take place every Sunday of 2015. Families can enjoy kid friendly activities in the newly renovated Kids Clubhouse including performances from Manny The Magician, Great Lakes Science Center, Jungle Terry and a pregame interview with a current Indians player.

MLB Honorary Bat Girl presentation: Alecia Dennis, a 26-year-old mother of one from the Columbus area, is the Indians representative in Major League Baseball’s 2015 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which seeks to recognize those who have experienced cancer. Alecia will be recognized pregame.

Susan G. Komen Pink Ribbon: 100 people will be on the field pregame creating a large pink ribbon to honor those who are fighting breast cancer.

Kids Run the Bases Presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s: Young Tribe fans will have the opportunity to run the bases like their favorite players after the game. All kids (12 & under) can stay immediately after the game to take part, and will receive an item from Cleveland Clinic Children’s when they’re finished.

Purell post-game sampling: Fans are able to take free samples of Purell hand sanitizer after the game. Samples will be available at all gates.

 

 

Tuesday, May 12 vs. Cardinals @ 6:10PM

*ALL GATES: OPEN at 5PM (Right Field Gate opens at 4PM)

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WTAM/WMMS/IRN (radio subject to change)

Indians tote bag, courtesy of MLB Network: 10,000 fans will receive an Indians tote bag upon entering the gate.

50/50 Raffle: The 50/50 Raffle will be available for all home games in the 2015 season. The raffle supports Cleveland Indians Charities in its mission to provide softball and baseball programs to the underprivileged youth of Cleveland, among other philanthropic efforts.

Buy Early to Save: Fans who purchase tickets early and online will always receive the best prices on game tickets. Buying tickets online rather than at the box offices provide fans the best deals.

 

Wednesday, May 13 vs. Cardinals @ 6:10PM

*ALL GATES: OPEN at 5PM (Right Field Gate opens at 4PM)

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WTAM/WMMS/IR

Members of OSU wresting team to throw out first pitch: The Ohio State University wrestling national champions Logan Stieber and Nathan Tomasello will be throwing the ceremonial first pitches at today’s game.

Ballpark app: Download MLB.com’s Ballpark app and stay up to date on all things Tribe. Ballpark features mobile check-in offers from KeyBank, Majestic and New Era, an interactive concourse map, exclusive team videos and more.

 

Thursday, May 14 vs. Cardinals @ 12:10PM

*ALL GATES: OPEN at 11AM

Broadcast Information: SportsTime Ohio-HD, WTAM/IRN (radio subject to change)

Today’s Getaway Game is presented by the UPS Store: The UPS Store presents today’s getaway travel game. A representative from one of more than 40 local The UPS Store locations will throw out the first pitch.

 

FAQ: New Season Ticket Holder-only entrance at Progressive Field

Gate STH

Season Ticket Holders now have another exclusive perk at Progressive Field: Their very own, Season Ticket Holder-only entrance at the new Right Field Gate!

Upon announcing that news to Season Ticket Holders on Monday, we received a few questions – so we decided to put together a little Q&A on the topic.

If Season Ticket Holders have any other questions regarding the new entrance, they should contact their Client Service Specialist or call 216-420-HITS.

How will you know I’m a Season Ticket Holder, and conversely, that people aren’t Season Ticket Holders to prevent them from taking advantage of the new gate?

Your tickets denote your support of our club as a Season Ticket Holder. Both Print at Home tickets and digital tickets managed through the Ballpark app explicitly identify Season Ticket Holder tickets, while Tribe Rewards Exchanges also have identifiers that ballpark staff will know indicates Season Ticket Holders.

If tickets are forwarded to friends and they add to passbook (don’t have ballpark app) will it say STH?

Only Season Ticket Holders using Passbook to enter the ballpark will be allowed through the gate. The gate staff will look at the Seat Locator on Passbook tickets to identify Season Ticket Holders. (Since this occurs after entrance through the walk-through metal detectors, we will monitor usage of this perk by non-Season Ticket Holders and adjust as needed. But we will allow Season Ticket Holders using Passbook to enter the new Season Ticket Holder-only entrance.)

Does this affect distribution of promotions?

It does not. Unless reserved through Promo Pass or through Tribe Rewards, promotional items will be given out on a first come, first served basis at all gates. We encourage Season Ticket Holders to arrive early, especially on high-demand dates, to ensure they receive a promotional item. New this year: Promotional items only will be available at the Tribe Rewards kiosk on the day of the game, and then available on the Tribe Rewards site beginning the morning after the game.

What about tickets outside of my plan? Can I use the Season Ticket Holder-only entrance for those tickets?

Only tickets exchanged via Tribe Rewards and those tickets that are part of your Season Ticket plan will have the appropriate designation to allow you to enter the new Season Ticket Holder-only entrance. Single Game tickets purchased in addition to your plan tickets and Tribe Rewards exchanges will not be accepted at the Season Ticket Holder entrance. We are actively looking for a way for those tickets to be accepted at new entrance, but at this time, unfortunately, they will not be.

From The Palm Beach Post: “Herb Score: Lake Worth’s Lost Legend”

CLEVELAND, OH - CIRCA-1958: Pitcher Herb Score #27 of the Cleveland Indians poses for a photo on the field prior to a game circa 1956 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Cleveland Indians Archives) *** Local Caption *** Herb Score

CLEVELAND, OH – CIRCA-1958: Pitcher Herb Score #27 of the Cleveland Indians poses for a photo on the field prior to a game circa 1956 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Cleveland Indians Archives)

The Palm Beach Post’s Dave George recently completed a lengthy profile of former Indians pitcher and broadcaster Herb Score, who once was one of the best pitchers in baseball before a line drive to the eye cut his career short. (George’s full profile can be read by clicking here.)

Here’s an excerpt from the lengthy story:

There is a way to tell the story of Herb Score that doesn’t begin with the sensational lefty being struck in the eye by a line drive and, in that instant, forfeiting the kind of momentum that carried Sandy Koufax, his contemporary, all the way to Cooperstown…..

It’s a fat scrapbook of memories, with a state baseball championship for Lake Worth included, but there is one day above all days that people connect to Score’s name. Might as well tell it right one time in his hometown, or at least as best as we can without input from Herb, who died in 2008 at the age of 75….

In 1955 he struck out 245 batters, which remains the American League record for a rookie and crushed the previous record of 227 set by Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1911. Included in that total was a 16-strikeout game against the Boston Red Sox in which Score struck out the side in each of the first three innings……

It was a line drive off the bat of Gil McDougald that stopped Score’s rise. The Yankees shortstop was the second batter in that May 7 game, looking for a low fastball and slashing it right back from where it came. Score never had a chance……

Score was rushed to the hospital, where he listened to the rest of the Indians’ 2-1 victory on radio. McDougald called repeatedly for updates in the coming days, but the only relief he got was a phone conversation with Anne Score, who told the player it wasn’t his fault and that everything would be all right. For years to come, whenever McDougald was in South Florida, he made it a point to stop by for a visit with Herb’s mom…..

“He had a chance at becoming as good a lefty as there ever was,” Colavito said years later. “He had that kind of stuff. He had hard knocks, but he never complained. You had to respect him for that. I loved him like a brother.”

The Indians must have felt the same way because they didn’t hesitate to give Score another opportunity to help the franchise.

They immediately hired Herb to be the voice of the Indians on TV and later on radio, and without a speck of training…..

There’s a way to tell the story of Herb Score, though, without ending it on a down note. Here it is, as bright as the sunny days he once spent in Lake Worth, throwing the ball so blindingly fast that he could just as easily have faked everybody out by keeping it in the glove.

First, a quote from Herb that he sometimes gave when others wanted to wallow in what never was. “I’m a lucky fellow,” he said. “I’m glad God gave me the ability to throw a baseball well for a few years. That drive could have killed me.”……

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