this is my annual blog where i take a look back at all the "work" i did and calculate all my personal numbers for the Cleveland Indians season. as usual, i have many memories in the form of pictures and videos that i took, as well as player autographs and baseballs that i received at games. you won't ever see me at an Indians game just sitting back and relaxing. i bust my ass to get as much as i can, so that when i go home and get everything organized, i can reflect on it and be happy. these things are what help me to not be so angry that i 1. don't live closer to Cleveland, 2. can't go to as many games as i'd like, and 3. don't get STO where i live because of blackout restrictions.
i spent the last 8 months of the year totally encapsulated in Indians baseball and Michael's season. for the fourth year in a row, i did not miss so much as one out of one
inning of one single game in real time. i was present for all 162
games, plus the preseason games. (again, i can't say "watched"
because i have to listen to most of the games on my computer.) fortunately, despite my crazy schedule and life obligations, i was able to arrange everything that i needed to do around the Tribe's schedule
for yet another season. i scheduled appointments around games and skipped out on certain social outings to ensure that i didn't miss one second of anything. do i regret it? absolutely not. especially since this turned out to be a career year for Michael. i was present for every single plate appearance of his and i am very grateful that i was. i can't guarantee that i'll be lucky enough to continue this trend next season, so i really am appreciative that i've been around for as much Tribe baseball as i have--all of it--in these last 4 seasons. the laughs, the smiles, and even the tears that the Indians bestowed upon me, it was all worth it.
last year, i had some serious health problems. this year, it was more of the same. except this time, i had a new health issue pop up. figures, right? just like last season, i went to 8 games, but we paid for tickets to 10. i had to skip 2 games because my body could not tolerate sitting through them. i couldn't tolerate anything other than lying down to be honest. i was hoping that 2013 would be the end of my bad health, but those hopes were quickly squashed.
so what happened? get ready, because i'm about to get real. it all started a week before preseason games began in February. after many doctor's appointments and testing, my issue was properly diagnosed in March. i started taking medication for it, medication that i was warned had some unpleasant side effects. i was also told that if the specific medication they prescribed was making me sick, i could stop it and try another one, because there were a dozen different pills for my particular problem.
i took this pill for about 2 weeks until, as if right on cue, it made me sick on (the Monday of) Opening Day 2014. when consulting with the physician's assistant, i was told that this pill could potentially make me sick for a short period of time and then things would go back to normal. so if i felt better the next day when i got up, i should continue taking it. well i did feel better the next day, and i (stupidly) kept taking the pill. i should have known better. i should have known what was at stake.
i've been going to Indians' home openers for the past 3 years. i made it a tradition. and this year, the schedule allowed me to go to Cleveland the day before the home opener--on Thursday, an Indians' off day. we booked a hotel room for 2 nights and planned to see not only the opener on Friday, but the Saturday game as well. my health issue still hadn't been fully rectified, but i felt good enough to go on this trip. everything was fine with me on Thursday. then the Home Opener came on Friday. i arrived at Progressive Field 2 hours before the game was supposed to start. however, the 3 pm start time was being delayed due to rain in the area. they anticipated a quick shower would pass through and then we could play ball uninterrupted.
at about 2:45 during the rain delay, the sun was shining and no rain was in sight. but the forecast on my health was getting cloudy. i started feeling weak and dizzy and my stomach was kicking my ass. by 3 o'clock, i made the decision to go back to the hotel room. (thank god we had one.) i barely made it and by the time i got there, i was in horrible pain. my stomach hurt so bad i couldn't stand up straight. soon after, i threw up in the bathroom. there was no way i was going to be able to go back to the home opener, which officially began shortly before 5 pm. i stayed in the hotel room all afternoon and had to listen to the game on my computer, in between crying in the bed in pain and throwing up more in the bathroom. when i woke up on Saturday, i still felt very weak. so instead of going to that game like originally planned, i sadly just drove home while listening to the game on the radio, which miraculously came in for the entire drive back to NY.
if i thought it was devastating missing out on 2 games due to illness last year, well i was utterly destroyed about what happened this year. NEVER IN MY LIFE have i walked out of a Tribe game before it even got started. i was embarrassed even though nobody other than my mother knew what was going on. i mean, what kind of Ride Or Die fan punks out like that? it's a good thing the game didn't start on time, cause i would have been totally mortified having to leave during it. actually being in Cleveland and NOT being able to watch and enjoy a home opener because of something that could have been avoided left me heartbroken.
and you better believe i let my doctor have it. he took something away from me that i'll never get back. there will never be another Indians Home Opener 2014. i lost out on seeing the entire 2014 roster being announced, something they only do at the Home Opener, and the special tribute to the late Mike Hegan, which i had been looking forward to since Christmas. i missed the chance to see a great game, take lots of pics and vids, possibly get several player autographs, and, my favorite, do some daylight parking lot stalking. that's unforgivable.
so after that disastrous ordeal, i finally got put on a different medication, one that didn't cause me any major side effects. it took a good 5 weeks, like they said it would, before my health issue subsided. by May, i was getting better, but still felt a little lethargic at times. i fought through that though, and didn't need to miss any more games that i wanted to go to. by June, i was pretty much back to my normal self and i've been doing fine ever since.
much like last year, i know i should just be grateful for the games that i was able to go to, but i can't not be maddened about the circumstances that forced me to miss 2 games this season. i think about all the money that was wasted and it really pisses me off. my doctor offered his apologies, but that doesn't reimburse my family the money or give me back all the moments i missed out on. baseball means everything to me, and this is something that i'll always be sad about. however, since there's nothing anyone can do about it now, i guess i ought to try and focus on all the happy times i had this season. there were plenty of those. but maybe luck could cut me a break and give me good health next year, whaddya think?
now here are my 2014 #s:
i went to 8 games this year
--but missed 2 due to illness.
(8 in 2013, 11 in 2012, and 7 in 2011)
i took 5445 pictures
--including batting practice (but no BPX), player warm-ups, the actual game, and of
course parking lot.
(4,809 in 2013 and 6,680 in 2012)
of those pictures, 1290 were of Brantley
--he played in 7 of the 8 games i went to, sitting out the season finale.
(853 in 2013 and 2,010 in 2012)
i took 176 videos
--it would have been over 200 had i not missed those 2 games in April.
(199 in 2013 and 300 in 2012)
--i got 6 baseballs, the most i've ever got in 1 season.
(3 in 2013 and 4 in 2012)
--i got 25 autographs
(16 in 2013 and 40 in 2012)
--1 from Brantley
(1 in 2013 and 6 in 2012)
--i got my picture taken with 1 player
(0 in 2013 and 3 in 2012)
between game tickets, food, souvenirs, merchandise, and hotel costs, we spent approximately $3700
this year. for the previous 3 seasons, that total was around $2500, so
we finally increased our spending. i think that was mainly due to the
ticket prices. i had tickets in Row A for every game except the opener
and they weren't always the cheapest. in the grand scheme of things, our
monetary total probably doesn't do much for the Indians, but i'm always trying
my best to help them out.
as i mentioned last year, it is really tough to get player autographs now. it's more up to chance at this point. you can't lure players over to where you are anymore; they either want to sign or they don't. and from my experience this season, no players had any interest in signing in front of my section(s) during warm ups before games.
i sat in Section 171 for every game i went to except one, when i was in
172. 171 is directly behind the tarp on the 3rd base side, and nobody ever came over there. it's like, what, are they afraid of the tarp all the
sudden? and it was rare that anyone would go down into the left field corner near Sections 174 and 175 anymore either. from what i observed, Sections 167 and 169 got the most action this season. once in a blue moon, one player would start signing autographs right outside the dugout and then go ALL the way down the left field line, but only if they came out extra early with the intent to sign. players sure as hell can't do that during their warm ups.
the main way i got any autos along the 3rd baseline this year is when i got into the ballpark early and the relief pitchers were all still playing long toss on the field. then, most of those guys, if you called to them, would come sign for you before going into the dugout and doing the rest of their pregame routines. other than that, 171 was a dry area. but i really like that section and don't
plan to move if i don't have to, so it's probable that i'm just not gonna get many
pregame autos from here on out.
as for the players parking lot after games, it seemed as though only the same people signed every time i went. after i got them once, i didn't need them again unless i had multiple baseball cards of theirs. so i could have gotten a lot more of the same player autographs, but chose not to. and to my disappointment, none of the big name players ever signed when i was there. no Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Bourn, or Corey Kluber autos. Nick Swisher only signed in the parking lot after the season finale, but he didn't sign for everyone and i didn't get his. and Asdrubal Cabrera never signed before he got traded to Washington either.
maybe the lack of autos from all these guys was just bad timing on my
part. it's very likely that they signed on the other days i wasn't
there. but you'd think i could have got some of them at least once
out of 8 tries...like i did with Michael Brantley. Michael has never been one to sign autos in the parking lot. however, when he took over Justin Masterson's parking spot in the back corner next to the side gate, he started to sign after games. but he would only sign for like a dozen people or less, so you really needed luck to get him. he signed 4 times that i was there and i got him once, after the final game of the year.
in spite of everything, i think i personally had a good season. i managed to get 6 baseballs this year, which i was pretty excited about. i took a lot of great pictures and have a lot of great moments captured on video. i also got my picture taken with Zach Walters, who's a very nice guy. all of these things will help cheer me up while i'm going through my annual offseason withdrawal and missing my boys terribly. these are all memories that i can treasure not just now, as i'm waiting for next season to get underway, but for the rest of my life. thanks to all the Cleveland Indians for providing me with another unforgettable baseball season and hopefully next year we can get back to the postseason. regardless, you know i'm still Ride Or Die Tribe. always.