Monday, October 22, 2018

My Final #s for the Cleveland Indians' 2018 Season

this is my annual My Final #s blog, where i go through everything i collected throughout the latest baseball season. i wrote it a little earlier than usual because i'm still having a hard time dealing with the Indians' postseason elimination (which is why i pushed back my Analyzing the Tribe's Season post) and the fact that Michael Brantley is about to explore the free agent market for the first time in his career and he's all but done in Cleveland. yeah.😞

this post mainly features the number of games i went to in 2018, how many games i missed, the number of player autographs and baseballs i got at games, and the grand total of pictures and videos i took at games. there's also a section where i've noted which players usually sign autographs and where it's best to get those autographs, for those looking to increase or begin their own collection. i understand this won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's why i don't really promote it too much. i'm not trying to come off as bragging. i know i'm very lucky to not only go to the games that i do, but also occasionally come home with a nice souvenir. so my intentions are not to throw anything in other people's faces, i just want to see how this season stacked up compared to past seasons for me personally. if you're not interested, you don't have to read this. i won't be offended and i'll see you in the next one.👊 otherwise,
let's get started.

My Story👩

let me tell you a little bit about me in case you don't already know or forgot. i am a Ride or Die Tribe fan who lives outside the city of Buffalo in Western New York. it's a bad place to live if you like the Indians because SportsTime Ohio is blacked out on the MLB Package here. the only way i can actually watch games on TV is if they're being broadcast on FOX Sports 1 or ESPN, or my NY sports channels YES and SNY. even games on FOX and MLB Network have now been blacked out in my area, it's ridiculous. so i have to go online to see game highlights and photos. but i always follow along with games in real-time by listening to the amazing Tom Hamilton on WTAM 1100 or 100.7 WMMS via my Gameday audio subscription. it's not ideal, but i have no other choice if i want to support my Tribe.

of course i do get to watch the boys play when i travel to Cleveland for games. so i like to take as many pictures and videos while there for my own memories to look at whenever i choose. i have an old SONY Bloggie Touch camcorder that i record some videos with, but i mainly use my Nikon Coolpix S9700 digicam for both photos and videos. once i get home and have time, i sort through everything, delete any bad or blurry shots, and then upload the best ones to a photo album on my flickr account. besides that, all my videos get uploaded to my youtube channel. this year i went a little camera crazy at games, simply because i figured this was Michael Brantley's final season as a member of the Indians, so i made sure to take a lot of pics and vids of him so i would have them to look back on and remember Michael forever even after he's gone.😔

And That Makes 8 Straight

i have not missed an Indians game in eight straight years. i swear, i'm not lying. the last time i voluntarily missed a game was August 29, 2010. so my record spans from August 30, 2010, to the final game the Indians played this year, ALDS Game 3 on October 8, 2018. in 2018, i was once again present for every preseason game, every regular season game, and every postseason game. i use the term "present for" in place of "watched" since, as i stated above, it is not possible for me to watch all the games, but i do listen to every one through Gameday audio on my laptop. though i have to confess, my internet was terrible this year and my audio dropped out quite a bit. no matter, because when that happened, i still followed along with MLB Gameday's pitch-by-pitch and/or used the At Bat app if the internet was knocked out for a longer period of time. there was even another case, much like last year, when the internet was down for the day, so i had to pack up my stuff and go to where i know i can always get online in an emergency.🚗🏠

there's really no secret to this. i simply made sure to make myself available for every Tribe game by not scheduling anything else during those times. seems like an easy thing to accomplish for the night games, but the afternoon starts can complicate things. any appointments i had got scheduled around games, and any socializing i wanted to do, well, i either did that before/after games OR had the At Bat app/audio going while i was away from home.📱

i was around for each inning of each game this season. i'm not the fan that gets angry when the team is losing and then shuts the game off and walks away. i go from first pitch to last out every time. and of course my main motivation is not wanting to miss out on any of Michael Brantley's plate appearances or defensive plays. i get excited each time he goes to bat because i never know what he might do and this year, he did some pretty amazing stuff. (shameless plug: check out the Wrapping Up Brantley's 2018 Season + Postseason for some specifics and his best moments of 2018.) being present for all Michael's ABs is why i'm so confident in the blogs i post, because i know i'm documenting every pitch he sees, writing down correct results, and calculating accurate situational statistics.🖩 i've made this my work and have no regrets about it.

looking ahead... nine years in a row is most likely not going to happen, i'm putting that on record right now. without Michael on the team next year, i admit my incentive to not miss any part of any game is gone. so i might relax on my policy of always being available come game time. hell, i might have no choice depending on what unexpected things come up in 2019. i did great with the eight straight and if it ends there, that's still pretty impressive if i do say so myself.😤

My Crappy Health Didn't Keep Me From Progressive Field This Year😷

when the Indians promotional schedule comes out during the offseason, usually around the time of Tribe Fest, that's when i decide which of the games i want to go to for the year. typically, i pick games that have cool giveaway items. upon looking over the 2018 promos in January, i circled nine games to purchase tickets for.

now i've never hidden the fact that i have health problems and, unfortunately, they've caused me to miss a lot of games in the past. however, for the first time in several years, by some miracle, i was able to attend every game that i planned on going to this season. that's not to say i felt great at each game, because i definitely didn't. in fact, the first game i went to on May 12, i almost didn't due to extreme nausea. i ended up just taking an hour nap and delaying the time i was supposed to leave town. the extra rest helped enough so that i could tough the cold and rainy day out, but it wasn't easy.😵

following the nine regular season games, i went to the one and only Indians postseason home game on October 8, when they played in the American League Division Series. i felt really sick all day at that one merely because i knew it would be the last time i ever saw Michael Brantley play with the Tribe. so i was sick to my stomach and by the 7th inning, when it was apparent that the Indians were going to lose and be swept out of the playoffs, i was fighting back tears. man was that awful.😭

knowing that this was Michael's final year as an Indian, i was determined to see him in person as much as i could, so i'm really glad things worked out for me for a change.

My Final #s

now here are my final #s for 2018:

i went to 10 games this year💺
--nine were regular season games and one was a postseason game.
(vs. 10 in 2017, 12 in 2016, 13 in 2015, 8 in 2014, 8 in 2013, 11 in 2012, and 7 in 2011)

i took 10,652 pictures📷
--including batting practice, pregame ceremonies, player warm ups, the actual game, and the players in the parking lot.
(vs. 9,812 in 2017; 10,447 in 2016; 11,535 in 2015; 5,445 in 2014; 4,809 in 2013; and 6,680 in 2012)

of those pictures, 2,834 were of Brantley❷❸
--for the first time in a long time, Michael played in every game i went to this year and i was very thankful for that because i not only got to see him as much as i possibly could, but i also got the opportunity to take so many photos of him to have forever.
(vs. 1,166 in 2017; 172 in 2016; 1,998 in 2015; 1,290 in 2014; 853 in 2013; and 2,010 in 2012)

i took 203 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. 184 in 2017, 171 in 2016, 211 in 2015, 176 in 2014, 199 in 2013, and 300 in 2012)

i got 11 autographs🖊
--either on player baseball cards or a baseball.
(vs. 13 in 2017, 21 in 2016, 36 in 2015, 25 in 2014, 16 in 2013, and 40 in 2012)
     --0 from Brantley, which is the third straight year i haven't gotten an auto from him.
     (vs. 0 in 2017, 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 0 players👨
--the opportunity just never really presented itself this year for that.
(vs. 1 in 2017, 1 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 0 in 2013, and 3 in 2012)

i got 2 baseballs
--one ball from a staff worker at the LF gate before it opened on June 16 and one from a staff worker along the 3rd baseline during batting practice before Game 3 of the ALDS on October 8.
(vs. 2 in 2017, 0 in 2016, 3 in 2015, 6 in 2014, 3 in 2013, and 4 in 2012)

photo i took during Astros' batting practice on October 8

How Much Are Those Seats?💰

i've been a regular in Section 171, Row A for years now. i love sitting front row because that gives me the best view of the action on the field. other perks include the potential for catching a foul ball (or getting hit by one if you're not paying attention or fast enough to move outta the way) and taking a lot of great pictures and video. i'm used to sitting in the front, but some people are not. i can always tell when someone is new to Row A, because they don't sit back and relax in their seat, they'll lean forward and sit towards the front of their seat, and that blocks my view of home plate, which i don't appreciate considering how much front row tickets cost. however, once people learn the etiquette of being a front row-seater, there generally aren't any problems.

this year, in 2018, the only game that i was unable to sit in Row A for was the one postseason game i went to. and that's kind of a long, confusing story. something about the Cleveland Indians reserve the right to take tickets away from season ticket holders to give to other people at their discretion, so my Row A's were taken away and i was given Section 172, Row B for compensation. as a result, my photos and videos for that game are not of the same quality as my reg season stuff because there were so many heads in my way from tall people sitting in Row A all down the 3rd baseline. basically i got f*cked in what was the last game i ever saw Michael Brantley play with the Tribe (or so i believe) so that the Indians could give my tickets to a couple of other season ticket holders who also had their tickets taken away. wtf? and, sounds about right.🙄 (if this happened to you this year, please leave a comment below and offer any explanation you might have for why this was. thanks.)

anyway, now let's talk money. between the 10 games, food and drinks consumed at those 10 games, the many souvenirs purchased from the Team Shop, a three-night stay at a hotel for one weekend in Cleveland, and gas money for the nine separate trips, well, i'm sure you can imagine it wasn't cheap. i don't like to publish the actual monetary amount here because that would be tacky. but ballgames are really the only big splurge in my life at this point. i've made baseball my life and a job for a while now and i'm not ashamed to admit that. so after adding everything up, i found that the total for this year was about $500 less than was spent last season, which was down considerably from 2016 (when i went to 12 games, including the very expensive World Series). i don't know how much that money truly affects or impacts the organization, but as someone who can't go to as many games as say a fan who lives in Ohio and closer to the city, i think my family's contribution is exemplary. i'm not a person who puts a condition on supporting the team either, nor will i ever be. i'll go to games whether the Indians have a winning or losing record because i'm Ride or Die. you can count on it.

Who Signs Autographs Anymore?🖉

as noted in the My Final #s section, this year i wound up with the least amount of autographs since i started collecting autos. it wasn't for lack of trying, that's for sure. let me start by explaining my process and then i'll get into who signed and who didn't (from what i saw).

when i go to games, i always bring my baseball cards with me. those are my first choice to get signed. but, i don't have every player's card, so there have been times where i've passed up an autograph because i had nothing for a guy to sign. however, when i'm lucky enough to get a baseball during batting practice, i can use that for signatures if i don't have a guy's card. but i rarely get balls, so that's not ordinarily an option. when the Indians give away replica jerseys at games, that's another alternative, but that doesn't happen much. i used to bring an autograph book to games for situations such as that, but i stopped this year because, in my experience, players are very hesitant to sign blank pieces of paper. and frankly, i got tired of handing it to a guy and him saying he can't sign it. it got to be embarrassing so i don't even attempt it anymore. i'm not a little kid at Disney World with my autograph book getting fictional characters' autographs. these are Major League Baseball players and they take potentially having their signature ripped off very seriously. adult dealers have ruined this for us genuine collectors.😠

okay, so i was armed and ready with all my baseball cards this year. i have several cards of the same players because those particular guys don't sign autographs unless they're at an event where signing autographs is expected. for example, i have Corey Kluber cards from each of the 2013-2017 seasons and i don't think i'll ever be getting them signed because i never see him sign anymore. i'll tell you more of who doesn't sign, but first let me say where you can get signatures. fans who line up in the front rows of Sections 167, 169, and 170 have the best chance to get a player or two to come over to them during warm ups prior to a game. i sit in Section 171 and am usually SOL because that's right behind the tarp and most players don't like to sign there. or at least they never do when i'm at a game. case in point, i didn't get one of my 11 autographs this season before a game in my section.

when i can't get autographs that way, i try the players parking lot. this is very hit or miss because you never know who's gonna be willing to sign on any given day. fans go there both before and after games, but i am normally limited to just after since i live far away and don't get to the ballpark early enough to see the guys arrive. however, there was one exception this year, when i spent one weekend in Cleveland and was able to hit up the parking lot before one game. (and i got three autographs that day!)

though i'm not a regular autograph seeker who goes to the parking lot before/after every home game, i've been there plenty of times throughout the last couple of years so that i can tell you with certainty that there is a group of Indians players who just don't bother sign there anymore. that list includes Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Lonnie Chisenhall, Andrew Miller, (former Indian) Zach McAllister, Josh Tomlin, and Jose Ramirez. those are the ones that stand out to me and if you've ever gotten an auto from them after a game, kudos to you and please leave a comment telling your story. oh, and once the Tribe acquired Brad Hand and Josh Donaldson in the second half of the season, i didn't see them sign autos either. the same can be said for Shane Bieber and Adam Plutko, but i have a feeling they probably did sign for fans at some of the games i wasn't at.

Michael Brantley hasn't signed autos in the parking lot in years and this season, the gate near where he parks became totally inaccessible. the sidewalk that led to the gate on the far side of the lot got fenced off, so you can no longer run down it to get to that gate. i'm sure he loved that, but it about made me cry.😢

i can tell you Cody Allen will sign for fans most of the time and that's probably due to his parking spot right near the fence parallel with Carnegie Avenue. Tyler Naquin, when healthy, is typically good about signing before going home, too. i feel like Trevor Bauer used to sign a lot in the lot in previous years, but not so much in 2018.

on the contrary, some players seemingly restrict themselves to signing only before a game during warm ups. off the top of my head, that list features Brantley, Yonder Alonso, Greg Allen, occasionally Encarnacion and Rajai Davis, and rarely Ramirez.

i've seen Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis sign both at the baseline and in the parking lot. and i have to say, Lindor surprisingly signs often and is very good to his fans. i'm sure the time will come when that changes, though.

i really don't have any tips for you to get an autograph. maybe make a sign, get to the park early, and stand in one of the sections i mentioned above. and don't expect to get an auto every time you go to a game because then you'll be really disappointed. i'll leave you with the list of players who i did get autos from this season (since it's so short compared to previous years):
Lindor (2 times)
Oliver Perez (he signed my baseball from June 16, the only player to sign a ball vs. a card)
Brandon Guyer
Cody Allen
Mike Clevinger
Roberto Perez (2 times)
Kipnis (2 times)
thanks to all who signed for me!👍

if you have a question about a specific player, leave it below and i'll try to answer with what i know!

I Couldn't Get Michael Brantley's Autograph To Save My Life😢

Michael doesn't sign in front of my section anymore. coming into this season, i hadn't gotten his autograph since 2015. so i devised a plan to get his attention at a game this year and hopefully lure him over to me. hey, it worked once in the past.

i got my very first Michael autograph back on August 28, 2010. i brought a sign that i made with me to that game, which read: MICHAEL BRANTLEY'S #1 FAN. after he came onto the field and did some warm ups, he walked over to where i was standing and signed my baseball. i remember he smiled at me and that made my whole freakin' day. so i thought, if i bring that sign to a game again this year, because i still have it, perhaps that would get him to finally come over to me and sign one last auto. i have this plaque with Michael's rookie card in it, so i unscrewed the casing to remove the card from the plaque and i've been taking it to every game i go to. i've been trying to get it signed for three years.⓷

the date that i put my plan into action was July 7 and the Indians were playing the Oakland Athletics. it was a 4:10 pm start time, so that meant the Tribe players would come out onto the field to warm up around 3:45. i was standing in front of my seat in the front row of Section 171, as usual, taking pictures of the guys who came out before Michael. while waiting, Gabriella, one of the in-park hosts for the Tribe, saw my sign as she was going down the baseline high fiving everyone. i remember she said to me, "Michael Brantley's #1 fan! i need a high five from you!"✋

for some reason, Michael was later than usual, not emerging from the dugout until almost 3:55. at that point, i pretty much knew this was a lost cause because Michael needed to go through his routine of running and getting stretched out. but i put the camera down and started calling for him anyway. i had to try. sadly, he didn't notice me. he was on the field for a quick minute or two, then went over to Joe Kessler, the strength and conditioning coach, at the 3rd baseline. Kessler barely finished stretching Michael's legs before it was time for the National Anthem. after that, Michael ran a few more times and i called for him a few more times to no avail. he eventually jogged back to the dugout and it was over. mission failed.😞

Michael never so much as looked in my direction and he never saw my sign. (but Tyler Naquin did.) i was yelling loud for him and i'm not that type of person. the fans around me most certainly heard though, and i'm sure he did, too, but he's so used to having fans call for him that he doesn't seek out every one in the crowd. and i spent so much time holding my sign and trying to get Michael's attention that i didn't take the normal amount of player warm-up pics that i like to take either. so i missed out on that, too. the whole thing was disappointing, yet i understood. maybe if he'd have come out five minutes earlier. the one good thing about my attempt was he didn't sign autographs for anybody. i would have been so devastated had he signed for other people and not his #1 fan.💔

i didn't bring my sign to any more games after that because i didn't want anyone to recognize me from this game and be like, wtf is she doing with that sign again? idk, maybe i should have. still, he didn't sign autographs anywhere near me at any of the games i went to this year. when he does sign, he likes to walk straight back from where he is on the field, which is near the 169-170 area, clear of the tarp. and he did sign over there for at least five games that i saw. since i have a front row seat already, i find it unnecessary to go stand in a different front row section, but i realize now i probably should have made an exception this season so i could have gotten Michael's auto one last time. now i'll never have the chance again. and so the baseball card is back in its plaque, unsigned.😢

don't get me wrong. i am very grateful for the 13 autographs that i did get from Michael while he was an Indian and i will cherish those and protect them forever. if you're interested in all the stories about how i got his auto 13 times between 2010 and 2015, you can read these old blogs:
My 10 Michael Brantley Autographs

and so another season of hard work has come to a close lol i feel very fortunate that i have all the pics and vids that i do, particularly of Michael from this year, since he's most likely not going to return to the Tribe. i will definitely be looking at my pictures and watching the videos a lot in 2019, especially when i'm sad and having withdrawals from seeing Michael bat and play a mean left field.😭

(btw, if you want an explanation for why i take so many pictures and videos at ballgames, i provided one in the My Photograph Collection section of the My Finals #s for 2016 blog here.)

do you have any stories about getting a baseball or autograph at an Indians game this season? let me know your experiences in the comments below!💭

don't forget, i'll be tweeting all the news i find about Michael Brantley's offseason free agency adventures, including whether or not the Indians make a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to him in early November (five days after the World Series ends), so be sure you're following me @clevelandgirl23 to keep up with everything. and i have one more Monday left in my #CelebratingMichaelBrantley series. it's been a long ride, but it's not over yet! see the last thing i highlight from Michael's outstanding career with the Tribe on October 29! if you missed any of the previous things i celebrated, just search the hashtag, browse through the thread, and leave your thoughts and comments about Michael's best moments as an Indian.🎉

you can also join my subscription list if you like. simply enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar on the upper right-hand side of this page. this ensure you will get a notification sent directly to your inbox whenever i publish a new post.📧

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