Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Final #s for the Cleveland Indians' 2017 Season

after weeks of focusing on Michael Brantley and the rest of the Tribe's performances for the 2017 season, now i get to look back and see how i did. this is my annual My Final #s blog, where i peruse through all of the baseball stuff that i acquired in 2017. my collection generally consists of player autographs, baseballs, pictures and videos i took while at games, and photos of me with baseball players. i never heavily promote this blog because it's one of my more delicate posts on here and can be perceived as bragging. but if you're subscribed to my mailing list, then you got direct access to the link. so let's see if i achieved any records or personal bests during this past baseball season.


for those of you who don't already know, i am a Ride or Die Tribe fan currently living in the Western New York area outside of Buffalo. this is not the most ideal location to be a fan of the Indians because STO is blacked out on the MLB Package here. so i cannot watch the games on TV unless they're on a national channel such as FOX, MLB Network, ESPN, or YES. thankfully, i can rely on the internet for game highlights and photos, and i always listen to Tom Hamilton broadcast the games on WTAM 1100 and/or 100.7 WMMS through my Gameday audio subscription. Hammy's the best! when i do go to Cleveland for Tribe games, i still
take pictures and record videos of the guys for my own special memories using both my Nikon Coolpix S9700 digicam and SONY Bloggie Touch camcorder. once i'm at home, i keep everything from the game organized by uploading the photos to an album on my flickr account and the videos to a playlist on my youtube account.

Lucky Number 7

it's been seven straight years now, from 2011-2017, that i have not missed an Indians game. yeah i know, that's pretty incredible and almost unheard of. but it's true, i did not miss any games in real time once again this season. i was present for all the preseason games, the 162 regular season games, and the five postseason games this year. i have to say "present for" instead of "watched" since i do not watch all the games and only have the ability to listen to most of the spring and regular season games on my laptop. that, i think, makes my streak all the more impressive because how many people are gonna be THAT dedicated to a sport that's as long as baseball? not a lot.

let me delve a little deeper into this for you. for yet another season, i was able to schedule all the things in my life (appointments, family obligations, socializing, etc.) around Tribe baseball. to be honest though, it was more difficult than ever before because this year, i dealt with major internet issues for a stretch of four days. something went wrong with the modem and i had no way to connect to the internet and it took a couple days to get someone to fix it. (this happened in June, the day before Michael Brantley went on paternity leave.) in order to keep up with my daily blog work and do all my typical baseball documentation, i couldn't simply use the MLB At Bat app for audio. i literally had to pack up my laptop and all my papers and camp out at other locations, which was somewhat of an inconvenience to family members and friends but... i had to do what i had to do to keep my record going!

of all the four hour marathon games, extra inning contests, blowouts, and days filled with doubleheaders in 2017, i did not miss one minute of it. i'm not the fan who gets so easily frustrated with a game or a player that i'm gonna turn the game off before it's officially over. no matter what's going on, i'm sticking with the team from the first pitch to the final out every single time. now yes, being Brantley's #1 fan and documenting his numbers gives me more incentive, if you will, to be present for every game and pay attention to each pitch so i can have an accurate game line for him at the end of the night. but still, i would want to listen to the complete game whether i did what i do or not.

can i extend my record to EIGHT years in a row? you know i'm definitely going to try. that said, it's inevitable that there will be things popping up unexpectedly that are out of my control and may force me to finally miss a game or games. i feel very fortunate that i've been around for every part of the Tribe's last seven baseball seasons, but if my streak ends in 2018, nobody can hold that against me.

Sick Days

being incapable of taking in games due to illness has become a regular occurrence for me nowadays and i'm really getting sick of it, no pun intended. as sure as the new baseball season's going to roll around again come springtime, i'm always going to end up skipping at least one game that i'd planned on going to, and this past year was no different.

every time the Indians promotional schedule is released during the offseason, i scan through all the giveaway games and then pick out which ones i want to go to. in late January 2017, the promos were publicized and i selected 10 games to attend. of those 10, i made it to nine. (but i did go to 10 games total if you include Game 1 of the American League Division Series). i had to stay home for one game early on in the season because i was too sick to leave the house. and it made me extremely upset. i never seem to have good luck with health in the month of April anymore, so i'm probably going to bow out of trips to Cleveland in that month from now on and save myself the disappointment.

in addition, i had to force myself to make it to one of my pre-planned games in May this year. when i woke up, i felt very weak and it didn't get any better once i arrived at the ballpark. the Indians were doing a statue unveiling ceremony and it was hotter than i'd anticipated. i was overdressed and the sun was beating down on me and i almost passed out during the ceremony, which i of course was recording with my camera. i was likely dehydrated, but i pushed through because i did not want to miss that special occasion.

My Final #s

now here are my final #s for 2017:

i went to 10 games this year
--nine were regular season games and one was a postseason game.
(vs. 12 in 2016, 13 in 2015, 8 in 2014, 8 in 2013, 11 in 2012, and 7 in 2011)

i took 9,812 pictures
--including batting practice, pregame ceremonies, player warm ups, the actual game, and the players in the parking lot.
(vs. 10,447 in 2016; 11,535 in 2015; 5,445 in 2014; 4,809 in 2013; and 6,680 in 2012)

of those pictures, 1,166 were of Brantley
--he only played in seven of the 10 games i was at this year. he missed one game on June 24 while he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain; he missed another game on August 26 when he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time this season; and he also sat out the October 5 postseason game i went to, where he was going to pinch hit off the bench if needed, but he was not needed.
(vs. 172 in 2016; 1,998 in 2015; 1,290 in 2014; 853 in 2013; and 2,010 in 2012)

i took 184 videos
--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. 171 in 2016, 211 in 2015, 176 in 2014, 199 in 2013, and 300 in 2012)

i got 13 autographs
--either on player baseball cards, in my autograph book, or on a jersey.
(vs. 21 in 2016, 36 in 2015, 25 in 2014, 16 in 2013, and 40 in 2012)
     --0 from Brantley, which is the second straight year i haven't gotten an auto      from him.
     (vs. 0 in 2016, 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
--Nick Goody along the 3rd baseline before a game.
(vs. 1 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 0 in 2013, and 3 in 2012)

i got 2 baseballs
--one ball from Glenn during the Indians' Home Opener on April 11 and then one along the 3rd baseline from a cop during batting practice on June 24.
(vs. 0 in 2016, 3 in 2015, 6 in 2014, 3 in 2013, and 4 in 2012)

Money Well Spent💸

in the past, many fans used to complain on a regular basis about how expensive it was to go to Tribe games. and it certainly can be depending on how much you spend on tickets, where you park, what you're going to eat and drink at the ballpark, and whether or not you decide to buy any souvenirs in the Team Shop. but now that the Indians are true championship contenders, i've seen those gripes decrease. if you win, they will come.

i always keep track of how much money my family personally contributes to the organization yearly. even though we are non-season ticket holders, we've definitely given some STHs a run for their money, especially over the last two seasons. i'm not going to be that gaudy as to report the dollar amount, but believe me, i know what it was. between game tickets for 10 games, food, drinks, 50/50 raffles, and merchandise, not to mention hotel costs for two overnight stays plus gas money for a 300-mile round trip times 10, we didn't spend quite as much as last year (which was a record high), but it was close. it's hardly a blip on the team's overall profits, but i continue to try to do my part as the Ride or Die Tribe fan that i am.

this year, i sat in Section 171, Row A at every game i went to. i love those seats! be that as it may, the owner(s) of those seats increases the price of them more and more each season. i'm an admitted seat snob, mainly due to my obsession with taking good photos and not wanting rows of people's heads in my way, so we're gonna pay whatever is asked more often that not. besides, who doesn't like sitting in the front row?😁

No, He Won't Sign Autographs

okay so let's get into some autograph talk. i have three types of items that i habitually try to get baseball players to sign. if i have the player's baseball card, i prefer him to sign that. if i don't have his card, then i try to get him to sign my autograph book. (more on that in a minute.) conversely, if i don't have a guy's card, but i was lucky enough to get a baseball during batting practice, then i'll have him sign my ball. BUT, if the Indians gave away a replica jersey of a player at the particular game i'm at, that takes precedence and i'll do my best to get that jersey signed above anything else i might have. 

this is the second year that i've taken an autograph book with me to games to try and get signatures. really, a book with blank pages in this day and age of the autograph dealers is not the greatest item to bring with you. i know that, i knew that, but i bought one with this intention anyway. the problem is that certain players, ie. the big stars and top prospects/rookies who are on their way to becoming stars, are told by their agents NOT to sign "blank cards" for fear that their signatures will be lifted and resold. i myself would never do that, but again, those older men/dealers have ruined the experience of getting autos for many fans and kids. i understand the concern, yet i won't abandon my effort. normally, i can get platoon players and relief pitchers to sign my book, should they decide to sign at all.

now let me tell you who will sign and who usually won't. in my experience, it is not easy to get Indians players' autographs anymore. maybe that's partially because now the team as a whole is much better than it was in the early 2010s when i used to get autos by the dozens. it could also be because i don't try for autos at the most convenient times. a lot of autograph seekers go to the players parking lot as the players are arriving at the ballpark in the afternoon, and that's when guys have more of a tendency to sign. since i live so far away, it's not feasible for me to get to Cleveland that early. so i only have before games along the 3rd baseline and after games in the parking lot to try for my autographs.

in regards to getting autos before games, there are two ways to do this. if you're one of the first people in line outside the gates, then you can run in and get a spot in the front row along the 3rd baseline while Indians batting practice is still going on. then you might be able to call someone over to you as the Indians leave the field once their BP is over. but typically, the guys just keep running towards the dugout and don't stop to sign for fans. and if you don't get there early enough, you will miss BP entirely. (and keep in mind, sometimes batting practice isn't even held outside or is optional.)

your second opportunity occurs when the players come out and start doing their pregame routine. however, if a guy is not in the starting lineup for the game, then you don't even have a chance to get his autograph because he won't be warming up on the field. the pitcher and catcher for that day's game won't be available to sign either because they practice over by/in the bullpen. i've become a recurring fixture in Section 171; i don't think i've sat anywhere else (minus the World Series last year) in the past three seasons. so i'm always up front along the 3rd baseline behind the tarp. and i can say with sadness that players never seem to sign for the people in 171. for whatever reason, they frequent Sections 167--right outside the dugout, 169, and 170. once in a while, someone will run all the way down to Section 174, but they won't come to 171. of my record low 13 autos this year, only two came from before games along the baseline.

so that means i have to fight hard for autographs after games in the players parking lot. and as i've been noticing over the last couple years, there are a lot of players who just will not sign. the main excuses are if a player has his wife and kids with him, if it's late and there's an early game the next day, or else he'll "lie" and yell "tomorrow!" which does me no good because i can't come back "tomorrow." 

when i went to the parking lot 10 separate times in 2017, which wasn't much compared to the total number of home games that were played, the biggest name i saw sign was Francisco Lindor. he didn't sign every time, but he made it a point to sign after a few games at least. who never signed? the big names that would not sign this year were Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Andrew Miller, Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Jay Bruce. one time after a game, a male fan asked Lonnie if he would sign a couple autographs real quick. Chiz straight up said, "no," and then got in his truck and left. geez. this isn't to say these guys that i listed never EVER sign, but they sure didn't after the 10 games i went to.

on the other hand, players who were routinely good about signing in the lot before going home this year included Cody Allen, Bradley Zimmer (who even signed with his broken hand on the last day of the regular season), Tyler Olson, Abraham Almonte, and Giovanny Urshela. Gio in particular was very sweet, even allowing fans to take selfies with him, as his adorable son would hang out next to him and watch. in my opinion, autograph seekers are going to have the best luck getting autos from the guys who park at the fence directly across from Carnegie Avenue. most fans pile up on the side that's parallel with East 9th Street, but i don't think that's always the best location.

I Missed Getting Michael Brantley's Autograph By a Firework🎆😢

for the second straight year, i am sorry to report that i was not able to get a single autograph from Michael. the only time i even came close was after the game on September 30. i was at the players parking lot and Tyler Naquin had just started signing at the fence facing Carnegie. while a large crowd of people began to congregate near him, i saw Michael come out of the building and start walking to his truck. i RAN all the way around to the side fence where he parks near and saw no other fans were there. unfortunately, at this time, the damn fireworks were still going off. (it was the last fireworks night of the season.) in spite of being out of breath from running, i managed to call out Michael's name as he was approaching his truck, but it was too loud and he did not hear me. next thing i know, he's opening the door and getting into his truck. after he sat down, he looked over and saw me standing at the gate alone as he was closing the door. we made eye contact for sure, but there was no way he was going to get back out and sign for me.

and so i will always wonder, if it hadn't been fireworks night at the ballpark, would i have gotten Michael's autograph? he absolutely WILL NOT sign when there's a big crowd, but with me being the only person over there, and me obviously not being a dealer, you'd think he would have. doesn't matter now i guess.

on the bright side, i am VERY happy that i have one final season to try and get at least one more item signed by Dr. Smooth before he becomes a free agent. (in case you missed it, the Indians picked up his club option for 2018 on November 3.) i currently have three unsigned baseball cards of his that i'd love to get autographed and add to my collection. that is my goal for next year. if it's meant to be, it will be.

if you want to read stories about the 13 autographs i got from Michael between 2010 and 2015, you can refer back to these old blogs:

so that's that. now i can officially close the book on 2017. but should i ever want to look back on some of the amazing things that happened this season, i can always pull up my photos and videos to reminisce and put a smile on my face when i'm going through offseason Tribe withdrawals.

(fwiw, in my Final #s blog from 2016, i explained in more details exactly why i like to take all the pictures and videos that i do at games. if you didn't read that and/or are curious about it, then click here and scroll down to the My Photograph Collection section.)

thanks to the Cleveland Indians for a fun and memorable year. and let's get that World Series title in 2018!😉

did you get any baseballs, autographs, or another souvenir at a Tribe game this year? leave your stories in a comment below!

i'll be tweeting all offseason about Michael Brantley's recovery and rehab from his right ankle surgery, so be sure to follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for that. and if you're not already on my subscription list, you can sign up by entering your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar. then you'll get notifications every time i publish new blogs!📧

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