Category Archives: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland and the World Sports

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This is a great day for sports around the world. The beginning of “Le

Tour de France,” the Sprint Cup, following NASCAR rules at Daytona

Beach, the continuation of the World Cup FIMA Soccer rounds, and

last but not least, I have to hope that the Cleveland Indians will ‘rally’

and win against the Kansas City Royals.

I will be seeing KC Royals vs. Indians game, down in the nicely positioned

Progressive Field, hoping that the local Clevelanders are ‘wrong’ and that

we won’t experience any more ‘stage fright!’ We lost last night’s game,

with the score of 7-1, in our game against the Royals. We went into our

July 4th game, with some good statistics. Our Tribes held a .543 average

winning percentage of 83 wins to 74 losses.

I am looking forward to the firecracker display over Progressive Field,

with my brothers and sister in law. One in the group, complaining that

the music of KISS will be accompanying the fireworks. I am hoping my

presence alone will help us win! (Ha ha! This little Cleveland native, who

was baptized in Parma, Ohio, will have to cross her fingers, just like the

rest of the fans!)

I was sorry to read that the 22 year old Brazilian soccer player,  Neymar,

was seriously injured with a broken vertibra, changing the chances of his

team. The four goals he managed to accomplish in the first 3 World Cup

matches, has created a stronghold of youth who are very disappointed.

The Brazilian ‘hero’ will be still admired, kids will continue to be proud

of his accomplishments and be hopefully inspired by his abilities.

In Leeds, England the Tour de France started, a tradition since 101 years

ago. This race, as you know, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, goes

from England through the countries of Belgium and Spain, circling through

France. In the first leg or “Stage” the candidate favored to win, is Mark

Cavendish, who has had 26 times won this victory. It goes from Leeds to

Harr0gate, where his mother was born.

The other possible winners of the Tour de France are Chris Froome, (29 year

old from Kenya, raised as a Brit), from “Team Sky” and 2 time Champ, Alberto

Contador, (31 year old from Spain) from “Tinkoff-Saxo Bank” team. Or you

could wish to see the Italian, Vincenzo Nibali or one of the other Spanish

contenders, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez. I like to watch the

bicyclists, but mostly watch the unusual terrain and scenery. The cobblestones

and the different summits, throughout the European countrysides are so

beautiful to see. Many of the challenging roads that the cyclists tackle are ones

from the beginning race, since 1903.

Following NASCAR rules at the Daytona International Speedway, there were

two laps that had to be postponed due to weather. The setting is one that my

coworker, Kent, loves to watch with his wife. They have been down, almost

every year for the past twenty to watch! I am sure there are a few of you who

may choose this sporting event to watch over the sedate 181 miles of the first

“Stage” of Le Tour de France! It ends on July 26, 2014.  Much faster, right?!

On the last note for this post, my Mom has been a ‘trooper’ throughout all

of her Dr. appointments, the most painful being the podiatrist. She has had

to soak her toes in vinegar water, painting them all except her left big toe,

with a liquid to prevent any infection or fungal growth. The poor left toe,

which was infected, had to have its toenail removed, then we are carefully

drying it, putting a Band-Aid on it, and allowing it to ‘scab over.’ Gross

details, but important to let all of those know that are caretakers, to keep

an eye on your elderly family member’s toes. This could have led to an

infection that may have got into her bloodstream, leading to her heart. We

all tend to think of the teeth and its possibilities of gum disease, but feet

are also important to take care of.

I want to share something special about my Mom, every day is filled with

little moments where she looks so filled with wonder. I think that losing

some of her memory means that she ‘hears’ things that she exclaims,

“I never heard that bird’s song  before!”

Or when she sees some colorful flowers in a garden or in a bouquet at

the bank,

“I have never seen such a gorgeous collection of flowers before!”

These are what carry me through some of those moments when she is

childish and refuses to carry out Dr.’s instructions! It helps to remember

that I was once rebellious and annoyed my Mom, no end!

Go Mom!!

Go Tribe!

Sochi and Mom Visit

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Mom, my two brothers, one sister in law and I headed

out for dinner over by Crocker Park, in Westlake, Ohio.

We had decided that Max and Erma’s was going to be our

destination. Fun times, consoling and warm thoughts, along

with our being able to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony,

in Sochi, Russia were all reasons for our choice.

Max and Erma’s is a busy, pleasant restaurant which features

good food, friendly atmosphere and television screens.

One of the first topics, our little ’roundtable’ tackled

was the subject of my AWOL post. We talked about losing

someone special and the way our hectic, frantic lives and

sometimes just the winter season pressing down on us can

push us over the ledge. Susan, a professor at Baldwin Wallace,

mentioned several times in her college teaching years where

the subject of depression and suicide has been on her students’

minds. Students feel pressure, besides everyone’s outside view

of college being just for parties…

Rich mentioned how he has encountered this in his teaching

both elementary school (parents and family members being

the main ones who were overcoming challenges in his twenty

years of inner city teaching, special education.)

Randy and I talked about former classmates at our high

school, one a part of set of twins and another man who was

a brilliant genius, along with being a gentle and humorous

man. Andy C. had been on my list of ones to remember and

commemorate. His Science Club participation in recycling,

along with the way he chose a project in the 70’s to put

solar panels up on the top of the high school to ‘warm the

water’ were part of our memories. His sister, Alice, had

been in my class and Andy in Randy’s class. His death in

his fifties surprised and upset us both.

Mom told us of someone, in her family, who came back from

Viet Nam changed by his experience. Nowadays, she said,

they would consider it post traumatic stress. Her cousin,

Johnny, was an artist and a sensitive member of a set of

twins, too. He did not ever fully emotionally recover from

his war times, but did not kill himself. Family members had

wrapped him up, deciding to insulate him, and offer him

some security. His father had funded several business

opportunities and Johnny continued living ‘hand to mouth’

by creating art pieces. Some reflected depth and darkness

and others were of the Rockport seaside town he lived in.

We chose food that sustained us, but the ‘food for thought’

was what I needed and nourished on more. My brother asked

me about that ‘matchmaking deal’ that Felicia had done

with the political analyst. He wanted to know more of the

details than my blog had shared and wondered why I did not

get up and leave immediately.

First, I did feel that the man, Bill, needed to see what

he had done, realize after he spoke with me, that he had

made too quick of judgments on my family and other subjects.

I reasoned with him, filling him in on my background, which

I am never bragging about, really just proud of my parents

and brothers. I have succeeded in a few things, myself, I

wished to share. I didn’t want to let Bill ‘off the hook.’

Susan asked me why I didn’t throw a cup of Panera coffee

at him, regarding his remark about my children’s kids. I

told her, I responded back, “Well, for a Democrat you seem

to be not following the party line. Would you rather my son

not have married a single woman with 2 kids?”

We laughed about some other subjects, we grew pensive and

appreciative over our family unit that has a lot of good

qualities within it. I felt comforted and lifted up by

their presence in my life. My Mom was very witty, at times,

saying funny comments about men and women’s relationships

and politics. She also said she hoped we would stay out

long enough to see the Olympics. She expressed a wise

and simple thought, “Being the daughter of two immigrants

makes me especially proud to be an American!”

The lighting of the Olympic torch, with the ones who

were chosen to run with their own torches, moved us all.

The grand entrance with the Olympics’ theme music (or

Official Olympics’ Anthem) playing caught the table next

to ours, that had two little boys’attention, with bibs on,

eating a very late dinner!

We enjoyed the Swan Lake spectacle, the spinning dancers

with the beautiful music playing. We were very excited

when we saw the huge gathering and parade of U.S. Olympic

team members, with our flag waving. We thought the U.S.

(we don’t know what her name was but we called her this)

“Ice Angel” leading with her appearance of being a living

Statue of Liberty was very nice part of the group.

Mom and I got up early on Saturday, to get her grocery

shopping at Giant Eagle (also located at Crocker Park)

completed. The regular list always includes a certain

amount of chocolate, which had to be ‘amped up’ due to

her making bags for all the servers, mostly teens, in

the dining room. (There are about 25 different teens,

some who start with the breakfast serving and others

who run the café or dinner serving.) All have been part

of my Mom’s “emotional and well being therapy.” It is

about two full years of being at the senior living apts.

We also had to buy some Sangria, sharp cheddar cheese

and wheat crackers. We lingered around the Valentine’s

Day decorations and she was very happy that I had chosen

a singing dog, which is white with red spots that pops

out of a pink Valentine’s Day box, to be on her decorative

shelf outside her door. I asked her if she wanted a wreath

but we finally decided that the red berry decorated one

that has vines and she had stuck a President’s Day flag

in it, was adequate decorating for her simple door and

shelf. We each purchased a box of the childrens’ valentines,

mine being wacky cats and dogs and hers being Mickey Mouse

themed.

While watching the exciting and exhilarating snowboarding

later in the afternoon, we were busily writing notes to

my grandchildren (her great’s, of course) along with some

for her neighbors. She was not up to the task of bagging

candy in huge amounts but said she had almost a week to

go, and not to worry about her getting it done. We held

our breath when Sage Kotsenburg did his fantastic and very

artistic snowboarding run down the manmade slopes at Sochi.

We knew he had made it to Gold, before the scoreboard told

us, since his 4 1/2 rotations and magnificent flips were

just ‘mind blowing!’ Congratulations of the first Gold

medal for the U.S. team!

Later, after dinner, I think it was, we sat and watched,

Meryl Davis and Charlie White in their team ice dance

performance. It was part of the short dance skating

competition. Canada had a wonderful presentation, along

with France and Russia. We missed the others, having gone

to pick up our dinners “to go” from the dining room. It

consisted of chicken stir fry, mashed potatoes and

cheesecake. I liked the mushrooms, celery and carrots

in the stir fry and added more sweet and sour sauce from

Mom’s fridge.

My favorite part of the Meryl Davis and Charlie White part

was their loose and carefree style. It held tight turns,

precise movements but a commentator noticed this and called

their mood, “joie to vivre.” Their energy and passion shone.

Mom liked the fact they ‘danced/skated’ to “My Fair Lady.”

The two songs, “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “I’m

Getting Married in the Morning” were woven into their

poetic performance. I also thought that Meryl’s pink

high necked fluffy, floating short gown was beautiful

and Charlie’s longer styled blonde hair and tuxedo

clad clothing was excellently chosen, as did Mom. We

did like the all black on another couple and the way

all the teams danced/skated so well. So far, Meryl

and Charlie have ‘won’ the first part of the competition

and hope that their great ease and graceful fluidity will

earn them an Olympic Gold medal also.

There is an upcoming part of the Olympics I am looking

forward to, which includes a young woman with roots in Ohio.

She has spunk, grit, shockingly bright red hair and an

indomitable spirit!

This would be Katie Uhlaender, a member of the U.S. team of

“skeleton athletes.” They slide head first on a track built

for bobsleds! Talk about taking your life into your hands!

Her father was Ted Uhlaender, who died on Feb. 12, 2009.

He played for and coached the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati

Reds. He was also the Columbus Clippers coach and manager.

When Katie was only 15 years old, she developed a crush on

the player named, Jim Thome. I heard about this man often during

the period of the early 2000’s. Katie was born in 1984, while

my youngest daughter, who was an Indians’ fan was born in 1985.

I remember my brothers saying Thome was a great player, but my

daughter called him, “hot.”

This memory comes to me, since I look at Katie’s bright red,

short styled hair and think that she is cool looking. She has

been through a lot, including the loss of her father. The many

obstacles include a 2009 snowmobiling accident that shattered

her kneecap. She also had to have hip corrective surgery in

2011. In last October, 2013, Katie suffered a concussion while

practicing her extremely difficult Olympics’ skill. She gave

a verbal explanation that was rather poetic, saying she has

made a ‘mosaic’ of putting shattered pieces together. Katie

has come in 6th and 8th in this years’ two training runs. She

had placed in 2006, before her father had passed away of a

heart attack, after a difficult time with cancer, #6 in the

World Olympics. In 2010, only one year after her Dad’s death,

she placed at the Olympics, 11th place overall. In 2012, she

won the World Championship of skeleton sledding. She has the

Silver and Bronze medals and now, is “Going for the Gold!”

On her person, during every competition, she wears a combination

of her father’s baseball card, his 1972 National Championship

ring, (when he played for Cincy. Reds’ baseball team) and a

bit of his ashes held in a small, silver baseball.

Katie says her father was a great supportive person in her

life, “He would give me this undeniable sense of purpose.

That’s what gives me the drive of a warrior.”

Look up on Thursday and Friday, (Feb. 13th and 14th) Olympics’

schedules to watch this motivated and courageous U.S. athlete

in her Skeleton Run Competition and hope she wins the Gold!

“Cleveland Rocks”

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I have a follow up post about Kevin Costner and his friends,

the band he performs with, “Modern West.” When I wrote about

Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and the movie, “Draft Day,”

directed by Ivan Reitman, I did not have the “whole story”

to share with you! I had started by writing one post about

the movie being filmed in Cleveland and its “calling it a

wrap” around Thanksgiving!

The Brothers Lounge in Cleveland hosted Kevin Costner and

Modern West to a packed audience, all enjoying the music

with a few brews being consumed by members of the band,

actors and the “general population” who assembled there. I

am glad to say that Kevin Costner consumed a pop, Coke,

instead of partying like the others. It is always “refreshing”

(not to just drink a Coke! See advertising placement! No

money being exchanged, though. Darn!) to have a famous person

sharing and trading stories, along with setting a “good”

example for young movie goers who follow his actions closely.

The Modern West band is a country-rock band and performed lively

tunes, including “Red River.” Kevin Costner’s daughter, Lily,

played as a guest that night, on her guitar and joining in

by singing the songs with the band.

Kevin Costner often plays quiet parts, an easy going man, but

not very effusive or outgoing. I was pleased to hear that he

is a warm and friendly man, one reviewer, my old high school

cohort, Michael Heaton was writing about the stories Costner

told between songs, also friendly banter about Cleveland

Indians and thanking Cleveland for being so gracious and open

to the film being made in our town. It is appropriate that he

mention baseball movies because, even though I am not a sports

aficionado, I appreciate the Browns and the Indians. I expect

guests to our town to show their interest and enthusiasm to

the local teams, by ‘shouting out’ a word of encouragement.

I also have watched the beautiful movie, “Field of Dreams”

and humorous movie, “Bull Durham,” with Kevin Costner acting

in them. It is only “fair” to reciprocate to Cleveland, since

we have been faithful viewers of his fantastic movies!

Kevin Costner shared that his father was not too “keen” on his

being an actor and did not approve of pursuing his dream of

acting. It was not until his father watched Costner’s movie

directorial debut with “Dances with Wolves” that he earned his

respect. All of the audience could relate to disappointing Dads

sometime or other!

A funny comment about not drinking but enjoying watching others

came at the end of his rocking out the place, Costner says

Cleveland is known for their beer drinking ways. He added,

“You have not lived, until you’ve seen a girl from Cleveland

suck down an ice-cold beer. It’s really something to see!”

Lots of laughing followed that closing joke!

Wish I could say I was there but I was glad to hear both

the television news story and read the “Minister of Culture,”

Mike Heaton’s story. I have mentioned him before, his column

in the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a must-read when I travel

home, mostly because he graduated from Bay High with me,

but I always add a ‘shout out’ to his sister, Patricia Heaton,

who ably had us laughing on “Everybody Loves Raymond” but

pulls my heart strings for her being so “real” on the comedy

show, “The Middle.” Now, they just have to talk Kevin Costner

into coming to our 40th high school reunion in 2014!

A Hidden Love Story (found in weekend plans)

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Over the past weekend, Lenny and I went up to see the Cleveland

Indians play the Texas Rangers. The best night would have been on

Friday. when it went into the 11th inning! The Tribe won with a great

score of: 11- 8. The night we went was Brantley jersey night on Sat.

July 27th. Lenny was ‘psyched’ as we were driving up to Cleveland,

that we might make it to the gate before the last of the 10,000 jerseys

were passed out. We missed that “deadline” by just a half hour!

The $25.00 seats were nice, had backs, not bleachers like my brothers,

sister in law and I have had in the past. Some may call where they

were located the “nosebleed section.”  But I felt that sitting opposite

the large screen score board was a great asset to the seats.  Also, we

had courteous neighbors surrounding us. The last reason I liked

thoseseats was that it was under the roofing so, if the dark clouds

burst into rain, we might not have to pull out those rain parkas!

Little did I know, that Lenny is a die hard “stand up” guy. Oh, it would

be nice if “stand up,” in this case meant someone who stood up for

you,  or a person who would take your side. These qualities may be

Lenny’s but he literally wanted to stand up in the standing room

section!

He told me as we were walking away from those nice seats, going

down the stairs that sometimes that section we were heading to,

after going down two ramps that represent floors, “lucks out” in

that balls get hit into that section. Lenny was very excited when

he mentioned this and how it is a very social setting, where many

people are die hard Tribe fans.

This hitting the ball into that standing section, known as the Home

Run Porch, did happen the next day, on Sunday, during the third

Indians versus the Texas Rangers team. We were driving home from

staying up at my brother and sister in law’s house when we heard

there was a ball that hit exactly in the place we had spent seven

innings standing on Saturday.

If we had gone on Sunday, Lenny felt confident with his tall stature,

he would have caught the ball.  We had eaten lunch with my Mom

and brother, Randy, at Fatheads, a micro brewery and nice eatery.

My brother has done a lot of their artwork on the brick interior walls

and on the dock garage doors, too.

We had a nice meal, by the way, and the Tribes won that game 6-0.

This Saturday, we sat for all of one inning and we ended up in that

section that you wait to press forward and see through a fence

how the game is going. NO large screen scoreboard to be able to

scan and see if there is something you are missing and since I am

only 5’2″, not the best place for me to see the game. Lenny is 6′ 5″

tall and was able to see everything. He enjoys the “atmosphere”

he told me and likes to chat with the other fans. He sometimes

will find out any tidbits that might make the game even more

exciting.

Meanwhile, I did enjoy meeting a nice young man who was blonde

haired, blue eyed and was gazing into the bleacher section/area

from time to time. His eyes scanned that direction for the next

couple of hours.

I asked where he lived or was from. He grew up on the West side

of Cleveland and told me his recent two year love story with his

current “beautiful and intelligent girlfriend.”

Brian is twenty four years old, has taken classes at both Cleveland

State and also, Kent State. He is studying sports medicine and has,

I believe, the energy, enthusiasm and ‘smarts’ to succeed in his

pursuit of this dream.

Brian began his love story, telling  me that he was with his brother

and sister in law, right where we were standing in this area, two

years ago this summer.

He had chosen to lean down, talk to his 2 year old niece, Darcy,

who was, in his opinion, and retelling the situation: “tired but

always adorable.”  He emphasized this again, later in his story,

that “Darcy was the reason I caught Nicole’s eye.”

He picked Darcy up after leaning down to talk to her, as she

was wiping her eyes and yawning. He asked, “Do you want to

get up on my shoulders, Darcy?”

She just nodded and reached her hands up towards his Indians’

hat. He swung her up easily and she was soon leaning her chin

on the top of his ball cap.

While he was not aware, a young woman had started weaving

in around people to get to the gate/fence where Brian was

standing. She was from Youngstown, up visiting and sitting

with her sorority sisters.  She came forward and brashly

asked Brian, “Is that your little girl?”

Brian replied, “No, this is Darcy, my niece. She is two years

old and getting tired. My brother and sister in law are right

over there.”

The young woman asked him, “What is your name?”

He apologized, he told me.

“I did not remember my manners that day, didn’t say, ‘Oh hi!

My name is Brian, what is your name?'”

I was mesmerized by her deep blue – violet eyes. She is so

gorgeous. Do you want to see a photograph?”

We got sidetracked from the course of the story, but it was a

long game and we had plenty of time. The score the first inning

was 1- 0. (That is what it stayed until the last of the eighth

inning and we won the game.)

I looked at several pictures on Brian’s phone of Nicole who he

told me that she is nicknamed “Nikki.” (I asked at this point,

if I could tell their love story on my blog. He was very pleasantly

surprised and said, “Sure!”)

Brian told me a few details such as, “She is 22 now but when we

met she was only 20 and I was 22. Her parents did not like it that

Nikki was only a sophomore and not of ‘legal age.’ I was older

than she was and that worried them. She was up visiting her

roommate from her sorority house from Ohio Wesleyan.”

That took me a few minutes of exclaiming and saying, “This

was meant to be!” and “What a small world!”

Because if you have followed any of my posts, you know I

live right next door to OWU. In the past, as a single mother,

I also have rented a house by the campus.

I asked if Nicole was a Delta Zeta? I had drawn a pen and ink drawing

for that brick sorority house on Winter Street and loved the

interior with its hard wood floors. It had a long porch that ran

across 50% of the building with nice scrolling details on the edges

of the porch room that made it look ‘lacy’ and pretty. (Like a

‘gingerbread house’ detail.)

Turns out she is a Delta Zeta, so this was another coincidence to

remark about. Brian was very friendly and warm, he liked telling

me about his girlfriend, Nikki. He also told me that she was sitting

in the bleachers with her roommate again tonight. That evening

they met, by her boldly approaching him, had brought a lot of

long distance commutes from his family’s home on the West

side in Avon Lake, to Delaware, Ohio. Then, once they got more

‘serious,’ Brian had applied for a scholarship and try outs for OWU’s

baseball team. He had some bad news worked into this situation

due to his tearing a ligament in his pitching arm. He had been on

Kent State University’s baseball team.

The dream of being a sports medicine physician is still his goal,

he told me, “I will hope to be able to continue to be on hard ball

teams as an adult, along with coaching little league soft ball or t-

ball teams.”

Nicole, throughout our whole conversation, never made it up

from the bleachers since she was having such a good time, he

figured, catching up with her roommate and other friends.

But, at the last inning, Brian shook Lenny’s hand and let me give

him a hug. He told us both,

“I hope someday you will be up here and I have the scoreboard

lit up and paid the $500 to announce our engagement. You know,

this would be the perfect setting since we met at an Indians’ game

two summers ago. I could invite my parents and hers, too. I have

that hope this will happen in about 2 more years, when I am 26

and Nikki is 24.”

We would love to see that, hear about it or have my Mom still be

alive and sending me articles from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about

the Cleveland Indians. We are going to cross our fingers, Brian’s two

awesome dreams come true!  Both his career and his future marriage.

As Brian hurried off to find Nikki, I hoped they would stay to see the

fireworks show that was also going to be shot off with Motown

music.  I was sure at least one of those great songs would give them

a memorable moment to add to their Indians’ baseball love story

album!

Later, as I watched the fireworks and they played a double header

of two of the greatest Temptations’ songs, “My Girl” and “The Way

You Do the Things You Do, ” both seemed quite possible songs to

dance their “first dance” on the ballroom floor of Brian and Nicole’s

wedding reception. I can dream, too, can’t I?