Our local newspaper, The Plain Dealer, along with The Cleveland Indians recently held a contest for Indians fans. You were to write a short essay about your most memorable game. They received over 600 submissions. Originally they were awarding one grand prize winner a ball signed by Indians greats, 4 tickets to a game, and the chance to throw out the first pitch at a game. Four additional finalists would win 4 tickets to a game. Apparently they were so surprised at the number and sincerity of the entries they decided to award 162 (one for each game of the season) extra winners a 4 ticket prize. All 167 winning essays were or will be published in the paper. My essay was not chosen as a winner. I'm still not sure how since my children are named after Indians, but in any case, that doesn't mean it can't be published in some capacity.
I have been an Indians fan as long as I remember. Indians players are household names for us. Literally. My oldest daughter, Maris, is named for Roger Maris. Her sister, Paige, born in January, is named after Satchel Paige. I drove a car for 10 years with the license plate O MY OMR. I own enough Indians apparel to clothe the team itself. There is an authentic Indians jersey with my maiden name on the back framed and hanging in our Indians themed basement family room. I even wrote my 8th grade “how to” speech about how Indians pitchers pitch.
So, each and every Tribe game I have been to holds a special memory. I saw my first games at Municipal Stadium when I was a child. I’ve attended playoff games that were so exciting you can’t sleep when you get home. My husband and I have traveled to Detroit, NYC, and San Francisco to watch the Indians play ball. I even got to watch my dad don an Indians uniform and play a game at the Jake – albeit a fantasy camp reunion game.
However, there is one game that stands out. July 29, 2008. The Tigers were in town and beat us 8-5. By comparison, it was probably a pretty boring game. That didn’t matter. I had my little girl, just over two months old, in her tiny little Indians onesie, at her first game.
Maris won’t remember it. But I will. And my mom and dad will. Three generations of Indians fans enjoying a game on hot summer night in July. A wonderful Indians customer service representative saw us and offered a certificate to commemorate her first game. I think he was just as enamored with the fact we named our daughter Maris as we were with his stories of his parents actually befriending her namesake many years ago. We ended the night with a group photo at the front gates with the field behind us.
My parents taught me to love Indians baseball. Being able to share my daughter’s first game with them was something I’ll never forget. All of us look forward to a similar memory when we take Paige to her first game this summer. The only thing that could make it better? Writing in her baby book that she helped us throw out the first pitch!