Monday, November 14, 2016

My Final #s for the Cleveland Indians' 2016 Season

finally, i get to take off the baseball statistics hat and focus on my own numbers from this season for a minute. this is the My Final #s blog, where i go back through all of my baseball stuff and see what i acquired during the year. typically that includes player autographs, photographs taken with players, baseballs, and pictures and videos that i took at games. i don't generally promote these blogs because they can be presumed as bragging, but if you're subscribed to my email list, then you're getting the direct link sent right into your inbox. honestly though, i just like to see if i can set new records and accomplish personal bests with each new baseball season.


in case you're a new reader and/or unaware of my current situation, i am a diehard Tribe fan living in the Western New York area. my exact location unfortunately does not allow me to watch Cleveland Indians games on TV unless they're on a national channel because STO is blacked out on the MLB package here. luckily, in this day and age, i have the ability to get online and see game highlights and photos on a nightly basis. still, i prefer to take my own pictures and record my own videos when i attend ballgames. then, once i get home,
i go through everything and organize them into photo albums because i like having those as keepsakes. i use a Nikon Coolpix S9700 digicam to take the photos and my SONY Bloggie Touch camcorder to record video. although this year, i found myself using the Bloggie less and my Nikon more because it has much better zoom capabilities. the only down side of that is using my digicam to record videos uses up the charge in my batteries quicker.

Six Years

as always, my year was consumed with Indians baseball as well as the roller coaster of happenings regarding Michael Brantley and his health. and, for the 6th year in a row, i did not miss any games in real time. i was present for all the Tribe's preseason games, their 161 regular season games, and all 15 postseason games. (i use the term "present for" instead of "watched" since i can only listen to game audio in the spring and regular season on my laptop.) i also want to point out that i additionally listened to radio broadcasts online of all 11 rehab games that Michael played with the minor league teams. and when his rehab games coincided with Indians games, i listened to both--one on my laptop, the other with the MLB At Bat app on a cell phone. that's multi-tasking at its finest. it was a little hectic at times, but i was determined not to miss anything.

so yeah, i kept my streak going for the 6th straight baseball season. i really didn't think i'd be able to continue it; i thought for sure life would get in the way. believe me, it tried. yet somehow i managed to arrange everything i needed to do, appointments, family obligations, etc., around the Indians' schedule so that i didn't have to miss or be late for the games. i never quit on any games before they were over either. i always stuck it out with the team until the end no matter 1.) how long the games lasted--some were over four hours, 2.) how many innings they played late into the night--remember the 19-inning game against the Toronto Blue Jays?, or 3.) how bad the game became--such as blowout losses that ended with half a Triple A team on the field. and of course i followed all Michael's plate appearances, what few there were this year, as he was batting, then documented the results and posted my blogs as necessary.

can i go for SEVEN consecutive years? highly unlikely. 2017 is already shaping up to be a crazier time for me, and even though i hate the idea of having to be a box score fan, some things simply can't be helped. so i'm very grateful that i've been able to keep up with as much Tribe baseball as i have--every second of it--over the past six years. if it ends next season, well, it was one hell of a ride.

Sick Days

as soon as the Indians promotional schedule is released in the offseason, i habitually pick out what games i want to go to during the season. but, like clockwork, something always happens in my life (read: i get sick a lot) that causes me to miss at least one of those games, if not more. this year was no different. one game i missed was totally on me for not acting fast enough. i'd gone online to look for tickets, saw some that i wanted, but put off buying them. then when i went back online a week later to make the purchase, the seats were gone. and the seats that they had left weren't seats that i cared for, so i chose to skip the game altogether.

the other game i never got to see was the Indians Home Opener, originally scheduled for April 4, but was postponed due to snow/rain and cold and rescheduled for April 5. i had tickets for that game, and damn good ones, too. but about 10 days prior to the opener, i came down with a high fever and chills and felt really crappy for a good four days. then once i got rid of my fever issues, i inexplicably caught a cold and a bad cough. knowing that the weather for the Home Opener in Cleveland was going to be very cold with potential rain and snow flurries, i felt like i probably shouldn't go to the game. so, because we were going to go to Cleveland the day before the opener and spend the night, i had to cancel my hotel reservation.

turns out, Major League Baseball decided that the opener shouldn't be played in those weather conditions and before the gates even opened, they rescheduled the game for the following day. it was still going to be cold, in the low 30s, but there was no precipitation anticipated. good news, right? not really because since i wasn't already in Cleveland, i knew it would be too hard to drive up there the day of the game for an early game time of 1:10 pm. so despite getting a reprieve, i still did not get to attend it.

now had i gone to Cleveland on April 3, like intended before i became ill, and been there when they cancelled the April 4 game, chances are i'd have just come home to New York and skipped the rescheduled opener anyway. apparently i was gonna miss that game regardless of my health status.

on the bright side, i went to three more games than i initially was counting on going to at the beginning of the year because the Indians made it to the postseason. but of course, it wasn't that simple and i was sick for one of them. i had recently been put on a new antibiotic before Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on October 15 and it made me very nauseated and i could hardly eat anything. while at the game, i felt weak, didn't have much energy, and had continuous nausea almost the entire time. had it not been a playoff game, i would have said forget it and stayed at home. i pushed through because i did not want to miss what could potentially have been my final Indians game of the year. i guess my body thought October would be an okay time to come down with another issue since the Indians don't usually play at that time lol always something.

My Final #s

now here are my final #s for 2016:

i went to 12 games this year
--nine were regular season games and three were postseason games.
(vs. 13 in 2015, 8 in 2014, 8 in 2013, 11 in 2012, and 7 in 2011)

i took 10,447 pictures
--including batting practice, pregame ceremonies, player warm ups, the actual game, and the players parking lot.
(vs. 11,535 in 2015; 5,445 in 2014; 4,809 in 2013; and 6,680 in 2012)

of those pictures, 172 were of Brantley
--he only played in 11 games this year because of his shoulder and biceps problems and i did not go to any of those. so the pictures i got of him came at the end of games, after the game in the parking lot, when he was watching games from the Indians bullpen, or during player introductions in the playoffs.
(vs. 1,998 in 2015; 1,290 in 2014; 853 in 2013; and 2,010 in 2012)

i took 171 videos, less than usual because Brantley didn't play so i couldn't record his ABs.
--this year i used both my SONY Bloggie Touch camcorder and my Nikon Coolpix S9700 digicam to record videos, and they were all uploaded to my youtube channel.
(vs. 211 in 2015, 176 in 2014, 199 in 2013, and 300 in 2012)

i got 21 autographs
--either on player baseball cards, in my autograph book, or on a jersey.
(vs. 36 in 2015, 25 in 2014, 16 in 2013, and 40 in 2012)
     --0 from Brantley, which makes this the first year i haven't gotten a Brantley
     auto since 2009.
     (vs. 2 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 1 in 2013, 6 in 2012, 2 in 2011, and 1 in 2010)

i got my picture taken with 1 player
--rookie Tyler Naquin along the 3rd baseline before a game.
(vs. 0 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 0 in 2013, and 3 in 2012)

i got 0 baseballs
--though i had a few close calls along the 3rd baseline during batting practice, i did not take home any baseballs. i've also stopped going over to right field for BP, which is your best bet for acquiring baseballs.
(vs. 3 in 2015, 6 in 2014, 3 in 2013, and 4 in 2012)

Money Well Spent

some fans are openly frugal when it comes to spending money on tickets and other things in support of the Tribe. and i get that going to a game can be an expensive outing depending on what seats you get, where you park, what you want to eat and drink, and if you're gonna buy anything in the team shop. but i personally like to keep track of all that to see how my family is contributing to the organization. in the past, we spent approximately $4,100 in 2015; $3,700 in 2014; and $2,500ish each year from 2011-2013.

this season, between game tickets for 12 games, food, souvenirs, merchandise, and hotel costs, we definitely spent more than last year's total amount (which i won't report here). but you gotta remember the Indians made it to the World Series this year and tickets for that game were expensive. i sat in Section 171 for every game i went to except for the World Series game, and those seats seem to be increasing in price each season now as well. most non-season ticket holders are not going to willingly spend that amount of money for 12 games. i'm just trying to do my part as a Ride or Die Tribe fan.

Can I Have Your Autograph?

now i want to talk more about player autographs. let me begin with explaining what i ask players to sign. i have a lot of player's baseball cards, but not every player's. and when someone would sign whose card i didn't own, i would have them sign my Batter Up!--a free little Indians program, available at each game when you enter the gate. however, if i got a baseball during batting practice or a jersey was given away at a game, then i'd have them sign those things.

when i went to my first game in 2016, i was informed that the Indians no longer make and distribute Batter Ups. that posed a problem for an autograph seeker like myself. therefore, i went and bought a nice autograph book for players to sign. i have to be more careful with it, but i think that's probably a better place to keep autos. (however, one player told me he couldn't sign a "blank card" because his signature could be lifted. i won't name the player, but he spent a lot of time this season traveling back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus. and it's funny because the 12 other players i approached with my book had no issues signing it.)

so as i said last year, it's not as easy to get player autographs anymore. of the 21 i got, only three came from before games along the 3rd baseline, one of which was during an inclement weather delay. players really don't like to sign for people in the section behind the tarp--Section 171--where i'm always at. they're mostly going over to 167, 169, and 170, so i lose out. that means i have to hope i can luck out after games in the players parking lot. except it's getting more and more difficult to get certain guys to sign there now also.

again, i went to 12 total games this year, but i did not go to the parking lot after all of them. so my opportunities were limited. and the times i did go, i continually noticed that the big names were not signing. they'd merely give the fans who were screaming their names a wave, hop in their cars, and take off. those include guys like Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Michael Brantley. (and i'll get to Brantley in a minute.) that's not to say they never signed, they just didn't when i was there.

the players who i did notice signing quite often after games were a lot of the relievers, recent Columbus call ups, guys who park at the fence facing Carnegie Avenue, and rookie Tyler Naquin. i have to give credit to Naquin because he signed a lot this year. i saw him sign after every game i went to when i did go to the parking lot, and also before every game i went to when he was in the starting lineup. and if he did that much at the handful of games i was at, i'm sure he did the same at all the other home games i did not attend. he was really nice to the fans this season, even taking pictures with those who requested them, and i appreciate that. as his popularity grows though, i assume he'll sign less like all the rest. get him while you can people!

No Michael Brantley Autograph Story This Year😢

now on to Brantley. Brantley did have a legit excuse not to sign for a while, but not all season. there were times when he was building up his rehab and he could have signed for fans after games, but he didn't. and once he got his sling taken off for good at the end of September after his August 15 surgery, i thought for sure i'd get his autograph. but he still didn't sign then, nor did he sign during postseason October. that was disappointing. maybe he signed after some of the games i didn't go to, but normally i can catch him signing once or twice. he's now played in the league for parts of eight years. i didn't get his autograph when he first came up in September 2009, but i got it at least once every year after that. until 2016. so i'm bummed out.

it's customary for me to write a Brantley Autograph story blog at the end of each season, but i don't have one to write this year. if you're interested in reading my previous autograph stories, here are those older blogs:

My Photograph Collection

in the past, my hobby of taking pictures and videos during games has never been a point of interest to other people before. but this year, people inquired about what i was doing at three separate games that i went to. one asked if it was for my work. one commented that she noticed i'm taking a lot of pictures and i must be a really big fan to be doing so. and one simply wondered why i was taking so many pictures, then whispered to the guy he was with, "what could you possibly need to take all those pictures for? who's going to look at those when they can just look at their own pictures?" (yeah, i heard that.😒) well, the pictures are mostly for me, buddy, first off. and second, i'm from New York, and my friends don't like the Indians nor do they go to games. so no, they will not be looking at their own pictures. sheesh.

i guess all those people just found it odd. but their asking about it struck me as odd because i thought, why are they not paying more attention to the game? as long as i'm not bothering anybody, which i'm not, then i will continue to do what i do because it makes me happy. besides, watching the game and the guys through the zoom on my camera actually allows me to see more than the average fan in the stands.

honestly, my reasoning has to do with technology. once i got a digital camera and was no longer taking Kodak disposables to games, i began taking a lot more pictures. i loved that i could zoom, too. however, a lot of times if you zoom past a certain point, you run the risk of ending up with a picture that is blurry once you transfer your photos onto your computer. (avid photogs know exactly what i'm talking about.) and i don't have one of those real expensive digital cameras with the professional zoom lens. so when i want to zoom and take a picture of a player, i'll snap maybe three or four shots to ensure that i end up with at least one that came out. obviously i could never take pictures like this back in the day, so yeah it seems like a lot. but i only keep the good pics and scrap the rest of the files.

over the years, i've also gotten into the habit of photographing the "game story" as i call it. i like to get pics of every player's place in the field, pics of them when they're at the plate, pics of them if they get on base and such. and then i'll take pics of some of the graphics on the scoreboard, the lineup, when the score changes, when new pitchers enter the game, etc. afterwards, i'll go home, pick out my best stuff, and upload everything into a flickr photo album so my pictures basically re-tell the game story. and again, since i don't get to watch the games on TV and mainly see the guys in online videos and pictures, i just prefer to have my own stuff to look at.

as for my videos, i like to record things that are shown on the scoreboard, like the game preview, starting lineup, pregame video, Hall of Fame Inductions when applicable, etc. sometimes i will also record a player's at bat if there's someone on the bases and i think we're gonna score. i just like to have those mementos.

so for people who wanted an explanation of why i do what i do, there you have it. i won't apologize and i really don't care if you think it's weird.

and that's it. the season has officially come to a close. it was definitely one to remember, even though my boy had his least productive professional season. and while i'm waiting for 2017 to arrive, i can look back through my photos, watch my videos, and relive some of the fun memories whenever i feel like i'm going through Tribe withdrawals. thanks to the Cleveland Indians for an incredible 2016. next year, we will be the champions!😉

follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for health updates on Brantley during the offseason, and sign up for my email list over on the right side of the blog to receive emails whenever i post something new.

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