A newbie’s first Tribe game.
Friday, May 20, the girlfriend and I made a trip over to Progressive Field on East 9th to see the Cleveland Indians face-off against the Cincinnati Reds. The sky was clear, the temperature a perfect 67º, and we were ready for what many in the anxious crowd were dubbing the “Ohio Showdown.”
We arrived at the game fashionably late following a lovely dinner at Zocalo. Donning the customary baseball cap attire, we joined the sea of red, navy and white and made our way to our seats. And amazing seats they were! We found ourselves just six rows from the dugout in the Field Box … many thanks to Melamed Riley management!
Unfortunately, the Indians had a rough start and struggled for most of the game, and the fans were none-too-pleased (cue the heckling). Down two runs by the third inning, we decided to eat our sorrows away and began summoning every walking food vendor within 60 feet. The girls went with Cracker Jack, a classic. But I couldn’t resist the calling of the old-fashioned Sugardale dog with its spicy complement, the Bertman Ballpark Mustard (unchanged since 1920). This was just the beginning of my downward spiral into Field Box food coma.
By the fifth inning, things were looking pretty dire, so we decided to leave our seats and investigate further options for indulgence. The choices were limitless. Among the traditional fare, we could order up thick slices of saucy pizza, super-salty loaded nachos, “I” shaped soft pretzels – we could even pick up Genesee Beer (a Rochester favorite) at the “Your Dad’s Beer” stand. These were just a few of the things we could get and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try all of them.
Luckily, we made it back to our seats with all of this just in time for the sixth inning, where the Indians loaded up the bases and managed to tie up the game 4-4. Everyone was on their feet in an instant, and Slider the purple monster was juking and jiving.
At this point, we felt like there were bricks in our stomachs. We winced every time we heard the phrase “peanuts” or “popcorn.” The intensity of the game had been kicked up a notch and suddenly everyone was paying attention. It was now the eighth inning; the Indians were at-bat with two outs, one man on third and one man on first. Everyone was wondering who would come up to bat and score us a decisive win, when they announced pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera, a virtual unknown with no stats! I looked at my girlfriend and she returned my flabbergasted glance. Then we watched as Carrera successfully bunted, dodged a tag and scored the game winning RBI.
The Tribe’s legion of followers cheered, we all embraced one another with pride, and then we respectably shook hands with the nearest Reds fans. Our first Indians game was a sight to behold. It was just the treat we needed and made the post-game fireworks that much sweeter.