Game 1 of the World Series proved to be a thunderous victory for the Tribe and its fans, winning 6-0 while ace Corey Kluber fanned nine batters on the night. In an effort to support the home team and graciously help their employees, a legion of staff members and volunteers from the Friendship APL showed up to Game 2, ready to do whatever needed doing at Progressive Field that night. Employees of the Cleveland Indians provided us all with navy blue ‘Staff’ sweatshirts and assigned us to any number of duties throughout the friendly confines of the stadium. Some went to the Terrace Club, others throughout the stadium selling programs, but yours truly got to reside in the section 107 team shop.
Now there’s been no secret of just how expensive some of the World Series tickets have been going for. Some reports have claimed figures up to $1,800 and beyond. I kind of think of it like buying a Ferrari. Most people can’t afford it. For those that can, the expenses that come with the purchase are just part of the experience. That brings us to the plethora of both Cubs and Indians fans spending their dollars on a massive array of clothes and memorabilia including hats, shirts, mini-bats, pens, programs, baseballs, stuffed animals…you name it. Just like a $200 oil change to a $200,000 Ferrari, what’s a few hundred bucks in apparel to an $1,800 ticket? It’s all relative I suppose, but I digress.
Amidst the cash flow and merchandise flying off the shelves, it was the duty of myself and former FAPL board member Kevin Priest to assist shoppers in locating merchandise, find the exit, restock goods and make sure folks didn’t come in the exit. I only had one fan amped up on liquid courage try and come in through the exit to which I ingeniously stated, “This is the exit. Entrance is that way.” The man exclaimed, “That’s nice!” and stood his ground. When he saw I wasn’t taking the bait, he got bored, discarded his half-hearted challenge and left.
The evening’s entertainment did not end there, however. One woman approached me asking where all the Cavaliers merchandise was. My face must’ve bore an expression of someone visiting this planet for the first time. This is due to my thought process crashing head-first into her question. I politely explained that this was Progressive Field, it was Indians only and the Q was next door. The woman repeated her question. It was in that moment I visualized myself karate chopping a block of ice with my forehead. “I’m sorry ma’am. There is no Cavaliers merchandise available here at the Indians game.” Her reply was, ‘This was all Cleveland,” then she hurried off.
The next dose of curious questions came from a series of Cubs fans over the course of the evening. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Cubs fans. After all, I’m one myself. I grew up between the two great cities of Cleveland and Chicago so my allegiances are split between the Indians and Cubs during the regular season (but I’m all in for the Tribe right now, no question). Nevertheless, one fan after another asked me, “Where is all the Cubs stuff?” I guided them in the direction of the World Series baseballs that displayed both teams’ logos. “No, just Cubs stuff only,” I was told. The first few times I responded with, “I’m sorry, it’ll either be Indians only or merchandise with shared logos.” By the time the last fan that asked me that, I looked at him and said, “This isn’t Wrigley.” He gave me an humorous, “What??” acknowledging the irony in his own question. I replied, “You wouldn’t find Indians stuff at a Cubs home game, right?” He saw my point, nodded in approval and said, “Oh you’re right, ” then walked away.
Aside from the antics and a most unfortunate Tribe loss in Game 2, FAPL folks represented their shelter and cause professionally…except for me, apparently. Hey, my nonsense meter was going crazy, but I kept smiling and helped everyone out. We helped out the fans, the employees and promoted the FAPL/Indians 2017 calendar as well. Thank goodness Kevin was in the same area as me. The guy’s a natural at hocking swag, especially in the case of selling the calendars. My anemic sales skills were overshadowed (thankfully) by his success. Hey…teamwork! As for the calendars, there are some still available if you’re heading down to the game, or you can always pay us a visit at the shelter, check out our residents and pick up a calendar. They’re going fast though so don’t hesitate! As for the World Series, while the Cubs are the heavy favorite to win it all, that won’t stop this Cleveland fan to keep root, root, rooting for the home team, and if they don’t win it’s a shame.