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Tribe Fest Review

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Tribe Fest

A winter event the Cleveland Indians have held in the past which I enjoyed was Tribe On Tour. Several players, the manager, broadcasters, mascots, and the Fun Bunch made their way to a few different malls across northeast Ohio to sign autographs, allow for photographs, and answer questions from interested fans.

This year the organization announced it would not be holding the mall tour. Instead, the Indians introduced Tribe Fest, a more elaborate version of Tribe On Tour held in the basement area of Progressive (Jacobs) Field.

Though I enjoyed the mall tour, mainly because it was free as opposed to a $10 charge, Tribe Fest sounded much better in theory for a few reasons. First, Tribe On Tour was only held at each venue for only a few hours while Tribe Fest was slated to run for an entire afternoon into the early evening.

Secondly, the main attraction for Tribe On Tour was the autograph session with the players. As a result, in addition to the short amount of time, fans had to arrive two hours before the event began to ensure a good spot in line and a timely exit.

Finally, there was only so much a mall event had to offer. Holding the event at Progressive Field appeared to solve all of the problems I just mentioned. Tribe Fest boasted autograph sessions which ran for the entire duration of the event, photograph opportunities, baseball skills clinics for children to attend, and full access for self-guided tours of the Indians clubhouse. Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus conducted interviews with players, alumni Mudcat Grant and Tito Francona, and Chris Antonetti. The team barber even gave interested fans their own personalized haircuts.

I purchased tickets for myself and one of my friends to attend the Sunday session of Tribe Fest. Despite hearing and reading reports over social media that the Saturday event was overly crowded and horrendously unorganized, I kept the faith that Tribe Fest would still be worth my time and money.

After seeing pictures on twitter of a lengthy line outside Gate A before they were opened, my friend and I made sure to arrive more than a half hour early. Unfortunately with Sunday came an extreme drop in temperature, making for a very frigid wait. Luckily those in charge of the event made the decision to have mercy on those of us who arrived early and allowed us to enter a warmer tunnel until the noon start time.

As Tribe Fest began it was clear the problems from the day before were addressed. Tickets were handed out for each autograph session as opposed to fans in attendance flocking to the area. Upon arriving to the autograph area, staff members stood by, directing attendees to a designated line. Also, to avoid terribly long lines, players listed in back to back sessions on the program were included in two sessions in an effort to prevent fans from missing their favorite players.

At first glance everything seemed well organized. My friend and I quickly made our way through the first autograph session with Nick Hagadone, Corey Kluber, and Lonnie Chisenhall, who was a last second replacement for Carlos Santana, who chose to move to another session.

Next we moved on to the clubhouse tour, which was an impressive sight. I came to find out why Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano get along so well.

Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano are locker neighbors.

Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano are locker neighbors.

Thanks to my friend who holds a Key Bank card, we were allowed access to the KeyBank Lounge (the visitor’s clubhouse), which provided food and other autograph sessions, first with rookie pitcher Cody Allen and next with Jason Kipnis. I was relieved to find out Kipnis would be signing in the Key Lounge because his group session was scheduled for the same time as the Tribe Fest Tweetup, held in the Terrace Club, which I was set to attend. Kipnis is one of my favorite players and, after missing out on his autograph at Tribe On Tour last year, I was determined to get the chance to finally meet him at Tribe Fest.


The Tweetup, attended by those who RSVP’d by email earlier in the week, was host to a Town Hall gathering atmosphere. Mark Shapiro and Terry Francona addressed the crowd while fielding questions from the fans. Excellent insight was provided. In addition I saw many familiar faces from the social media spectrum and matched some new people to the twitter names as well. Overall the two men in charge of the team appeared to leave those who attended the Tweetup with a positive outlook.


From this writer’s perspective, Tribe Fest was a complete success. There was something for every one of the fans to enjoy at their own pace. I did not get to experience everything the event had to offer. However, that was of little concern to me.

Because I did not attend Saturday’s event, I am not personally aware of the problems that were reported by those who did. But from what I gathered from those I met who were there on Saturday, it was a distinct improvement. There were attendees who still felt the event on Sunday was too crowded. However, large crowds have never been a problem to me.

I am thankful to the Cleveland Indians organization for holding Tribe Fest instead of the mall tour that I attended the last two years. It was well worth the $10 price of admission and I hope it lasts for many years to come.


A Lesson in Unprofessional Journalism

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If you got paid to watch and write about a game, would you enjoy it? Better yet, would you be grateful for the opportunity? These are questions I have been pondering ever since the dog days of August when the Cleveland Indians were mired in a terrible slump that effectively ruined their season.

During that fateful stretch of time one Tribe game went into extra innings after an already lengthy affair that lasted past 1a.m. When this occurred, several reporters were caught on twitter making jokes about the game continuing on much longer and how they could be subjected to anymore bad baseball. Others tweeted about how they could not wait until all the baseball talk on twitter would be silenced because football season had begun. Suffice to say, I and others I follow on the social media forum were not amused.

Lately on nights when I don’t have to get up early the next morning for work I find myself staying up late at night for different reasons. Sometimes I read news articles and other interesting stories I did not have time to during the day. Other times I watch random video clips for nostalgia purposes or catch up on my DVR recordings.

A relative once suggested I stay up so late because I am always afraid I will miss something if I turn off my computer and go to bed. I am extremely inclined to agree. Wednesday night was a perfect example of such a time where I would miss something big if I turned off my computer.

This is the big week of winter meetings in Major League Baseball. All eyes in Cleveland, well diehard baseball fans’ eyes anyway, are on the Indians, hoping they make some kind of trade or acquisition that would positively benefit the organization for at least the upcoming season. My twitter feed has been abuzz as many of my fellow diehard fans I follow and reporters in the business discuss rumors of these potential deals.

One such deal suggests the Indians trading two-time all-star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Arizona Diamondbacks and receiving two prospects from the Diamondbacks in return. Evidently this potential deal does not sit well with one particular Indians beat reporter.

According to this writer the rumored trade would be an epic failure because all the Indians would be receiving in return would be two high ranking prospects. Shortly after midnight Wednesday night, a young man I follow who covered the Indians farm system this past season and sees the value in young prospects stepped in to debate the writer, citing multiple examples in which a deal such as the proposed has benefited both sides. The latter failed to see the point, stating that the young journalist “loves him some prospects” while he loves “real players.”

The debate snowballed and turned into an ugly situation. The writer in question got into another argument with another person who I do not follow. He launched a tirade of unprovoked offensive tweets, using vulgar language and name calling.

While I have seen this happen many times on my twitter timeline, this was completely different than anything I had witnessed before. Here a writer of 15 years, known by any diehard Cleveland Indians fan with a twitter account, resorted to mudslinging on a public forum when someone stepped in and disagreed with what he had to say.

These young men did nothing to deserve the treatment they received. All they did was attempt to show the writer a different side to a story that he immediately dismissed. His behavior was extremely unprofessional for a man of his status. Furthermore, the man’s job title and the name of the organization he writes for is clearly stated in his twitter bio. Anyone who witnessed his outrageous tweets could report him to his employer as well as spread the news like wildfire throughout the community and make the organization look bad.

Finally, this outburst, coupled with the reactions I mentioned at the beginning of this writing of other Cleveland reporters, sparked a discussion among me and other amateur writers. We see this type of behavior and are appalled. These people are being paid to watch and report on a game that we all love and respect. We would do their job for nothing. Yet they sit back and criticize and complain when they are “forced” to watch a game go into extra innings.

These people are living the dream young sports writers aspire to have. They know that and they take it for granted. Their egos become inflated when uneducated fans assume the truth from their reports and heap unwarranted praise. What the uneducated fans fail to realize is there is another perspective when it is not presented by reporters such as the one in question.

I understand the Cleveland Indians are a poorly run franchise and have been for several years now. No, they have not made any significant moves that would impact the team during the winter meetings despite being involved in many rumors. But that is no reason to assume the worst or completely dismiss any potential moves based on history. Rather, look at them from all sides and do some homework. Do your job.

That is what a true professional reporter does. He or she does the necessary research. If you want to complain, step away and let someone with a true passion for the game have an opportunity.

Written by apokorny

December 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

He’s the Miz, and he’s awesome!

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WWE champion The Miz returned home to Cleveland with his title belt.

The title of this post is the paraphrased catchphrase of the reigning WWE champion. Fans of the Real World remember him as Mike Mizanin. Wrestling fans know him as the Miz. Recently, he became known as Cleveland’s champion.

I have never watched an episode of the Real World in my life. So when Mike Mizanin showed up on World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) Tough Enough competition in 2004 I had no idea who he was. I do not remember much about the competition itself, which took place over two months of WWE programming. All I remember is what happened afterward.

Mike Mizanin did not win the competition. However, those in the WWE must have seen some potential in him, because he was signed to a contract anyway. In professional wrestling, many new wrestlers with very little experience are slowly eased into the business. Many times they play the roles of bodyguards or sidekicks to other wrestlers while they learn to wrestle off camera. Mizanin’s role was the “host of WWE Smackdown.”

Each week, Mizanin was shown somewhere among the audience. He would introduce matches in the most obnoxious manner, including verbally trashing the participants. He ended each of his segments with his catchphrase “Hoo-ra!” Suffice to say, I was not a fan. He annoyed me to no end, much like he did those who watched him on the Real World.

He eventually entered the ring to compete in matches, where he officially became The Miz. His role was the ultimate rookie bad guy. Not only did he continue to annoy fans with his loud, obnoxious personality, but he also cheated to win many of his matches. But like many wrestlers, the Miz was not a star right away. He had to work for his spot.

Over the next three years, the WWE moved the career of the Miz along slowly, giving him every opportunity to succeed. Though he was not the best in the ring, he had amazing charisma. Due to his history in television, the Miz could cut a promo. He was good at making the fans hate him. Because of this ability, the WWE rewarded him with multiple championships and high profile programs; first with a tag team partner and later as a solo competitor. He even garnered a few awards from pro wrestling magazine and internet writers.

This year Mike “The Miz” Mizanin hit his peak as a professional wrestler. He began the year as a mentor on a new concept WWE television show in which rookies were paired with pros in another competition series. The Miz was paired with a “rookie” Daniel Bryan (real name Bryan Danielson), who actually had over ten years of prior wrestling experience. This controversy was the centerpiece for the new program’s first season. To continue the story, the Miz was brought back for season two, paired with a rookie with no experience and a personality much like his mentor.

While serving as a pro for the competitions, the Miz continued to shine and rise up the ladder as a top heel in the WWE. Once again he found himself in storylines with the bigger names of the company, including a short program with the legendary Bret “Hitman” Hart.

This past July, the Miz won the WWE’s “Money in the Bank” briefcase. Rules stipulated that winners of the coveted briefcase were allowed to “cash in” a contract for a title match at any time. This storyline, which has taken place every year since 2005 has made for great entertainment. Due to the stipulation, fans are left wondering when the winners will cash in their contract. Most of the time, the contract was cashed in during the most opportune times, with the champion in a state of peril. As a result, a new champion was crowned each time. When the Miz won the briefcase, fans and wrestling critics alike saw him as someone who could actually be the first to fail in his attempt to cash in his title match. Like previous “Money in the Bank” briefcase winners, the Miz kept the fans on edge, even teasing the cash in a few times on national television.

The guaranteed title shot only increased the Miz’s display of arrogance. Not only was he involved with top WWE storylines, but he was also able to take part in “extracurricular” activities. This year, the WWE has acquired the services of mainstream celebrities to serve as “host” of Monday Night Raw. On September 13th, Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Ochocinco (formerly Johnson) hosted Raw. The Miz wasted no time getting in Ochocinco’s face and cutting a promo on him and the Bengals. One could even make the argument that the Miz foreshadowed the problems the Bengals have had this football season. On November 1st, Paul Reubens hosted Raw under his classic Pee-Wee Herman character. Again, the Miz made his way to the ring and ran down the popular children’s television star.

Then, after months of teasing, it happened. On the November 22nd episode of Monday Night Raw, the Miz, like many others before him, took advantage of an injured prey, cashed in the “Money in the Bank” contract, and won the WWE championship. Immediately, the media blitz began. His title win was covered by outlets such as ESPN, TMZ, and MTV. Recently he made an appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

The day after he reached the pinnacle of his career, the Miz returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio for his yearly pre-Thanksgiving celebration, Miz-Fest. He made appearances at several bars from North Royalton to Parma to downtown Cleveland. This time, however, he had the WWE championship belt in tow. His first words to those at the Sip-N-Post in North Royalton were “Lebron couldn’t win us a title, but I did!”

Those who appeared at the Sip-N-Post for his autograph session cheered. He oozed the same cockiness that he made a career of. Only this time, the same fans he was able to make hate him for the last decade, smiled with admiration. Where Lebron James failed, the Miz succeeded.

Professional wrestling is generally not considered a sport. Many people consider it to be a joke. To be a wrestling fan is considered taboo. I am guilty of watching professional wrestling since I was eight years old. Since that time I’ve learned that, while wrestling is scripted, professional wrestlers have to have some talent in order to be a champion. Vince McMahon does not decide to give the title to just anybody. Over the last six years since he joined the company, the Miz showed the WWE brass that he has what it takes to be a World champion.

To a city that has not seen a championship since 1964, those who do not watch wrestling may consider making an exception. To this writer, after what has gone down with Lebron James, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is Cleveland’s champion.

Written by apokorny

December 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Browns Fans Rally Against Municipal Lot Time Change

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Larry Oliver has pulled his van into the Muni Lot at 4am for several years now.

Cleveland Browns fans have often been called some of the best fans in the world. Reason being no matter how bad the team may be (one of the worst in the NFL since their return in 1999), its fans still flock to the stadium every Sunday to watch the games. However, this season, unless the Browns show marked improvement, that may change.

While Al Lerner answered the fans’ cries for a new team management structure, the city of Cleveland now must answer to them as well. This past Saturday, while tailgating before the Browns’ preseason game against the St. Louis Rams, many fans caught wind of plans to not only raise of the price to park in the Municipal Lot from $15 to $20, but to also push back the lot’s opening time from 4a.m. to 7a.m.

The result was a massive outcry. Outraged season ticket holders, led by Larry Oliver and Chuck Dean, are protesting this change to the best of their ability, while still following the first amendment to the Bill of Rights.

In addition to creating a Facebook page called “The Muni lot should open at 4am on game days,” the two men also created an online petition addressed to Cleveland Commissioner Liegh Stevens, asking him to reconsider the decision.

Furthermore, the controversy was also covered by Cleveland channel five news affiliate WEWS. Larry was interviewed by the station and the report was aired on a recent newscast.

The efforts are not going unnoticed. Browns fans all over the city are rallying around Larry and Chuck, as the petition as of this writing garnered almost 1,000 signatures in only two days.

Because I have only been to one regular season Browns game in my entire life and did not participate in any tailgate activities, I cannot fully come to grips with the impact of these changes to the “Muni Lot.” However, I do have some understanding of what it means to season ticket holders.

Larry Oliver is my cousin’s long-time boyfriend and a good friend of mine. During Browns discussions with him at family parties, I heard many stories of tailgating rituals and how it enhances relationships between the fans. Last year I experienced that for the first time when I joined my cousin, Larry, Chuck Dean, and many of their friends for my first tailgating experience. I stood in amazement as I witnessed the interaction between those in the Muni Lot that day. Though it was only a preseason game, fans embraced the culture they have shared together as if it were a real regular season game. Many of these fans have attended these sessions for so long that it seemed like they banded together as an extended family. This past Saturday I joined them all again. Despite the nonstop pouring rain which plagued the entire time, nothing changed. They answered all my questions as to why they would wake up at 3a.m. on a Sunday and spend over twelve hours downtown near Lake Erie, especially once cold weather set in for the year.

Because I am not much of a drinker, I did not see much point in tailgating until I finally witnessed it for the first time. Tailgating is not about fans having the opportunity to drink in public without fear of incarceration. I encountered many fans who choose not to indulge. Instead, it is about fans banding together and connecting at a deeper level to better support their team. Fans who do not participate in tailgate activities still do come together at the stadium during games, but the season ticket holders who do this every Sunday know each other better than a few random fans sitting near each other in their seats during select games.

The theory is the time change for when the Municipal Lot opens is another part of Browns President Mike Holmgren’s efforts to crack down on unruly fans. The thought is by opening the lot later, that is three hours less the fans get to drink, resulting in less intoxication during games.

While there is some weight behind this theory, I truly believe that this time change is really cutting down on time between Browns fans and their extended family. Right now, in support of a struggling franchise, there is nothing more important than family.

Credit for image: Larry Oliver

Credit for video link:

Written by apokorny

August 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm