It is seldom that I go to a Cleveland Indians game and actually see them win.
Think how I felt after seeing a weekend full of Tribe games and watching them sweep the Texas Rangers three straight times.
I loooooovvvvvveeeee it!
Being in Cleveland for the weekend was the brainchild of good buddy Chris Wheeler who also is a lifelong Indians, Browns and Cavaliers fanatic, even though he has lived in Colorado the past 25 years.
Even more amazing is that his son Luke is also an Indians and Browns fan.
You don’t see that very often from our younger generation with how those teams have struggled to win consistently, year in and year out.
I love Luke.
The Wheelers came to Cleveland for an 18th birthday present for Luke, and we made plans for the weekend when the Tribe schedule was first released.
You could not have asked for a better weekend.
It began Friday night at Progressive Field and the Indians won 12-2.
There weren’t 10,000 fans in the stands for the game’s opening pitch, but around the fifth inning, I looked around and the stadium was nearly filled.
It must have been about the fireworks show that followed.
Most of the late arrivals missed fireworks from the Indians offense which was awesome.
It was 12-1 good guys and three hours into the game when Luke yelled out, “this is the longest game I have ever been a part of.”
“Stop right there, Luke,” I replied. “When your team is winning 12-1, the game is never too long. Enjoy the moment, my friend.”
After the fireworks show had ended and we walked back to our hotel, we had been to the ballpark for more than 4 hours.
But I enjoyed every moment of it.
Saturday morning, we traveled to Akron for the Browns’ first scrimmage which was held at InfoCision Stadium, because the Browns stadium (First Energy) is undergoing renovations.
Nearly 25,000 packed the place to watch a scrimmage.
No question, northeast Ohio is “Brownstown.”
It wasn’t the most exciting of scrimmages, but there was a buzz in the air, and of course all of the attention toward Johnny Manziel.
His first two passes were disasters, but after that he played well enough to earn first team reps in practice Monday.
The MVP of the scrimmage was Browns kicker Billy Cundiff since the offense couldn’t score a touchdown, but overall it was great to be there in person.
We grabbed lunch outside of Akron in Bath township, and oh by the by, Bath township is the home of LeBron James.
We couldn’t help ourselves folks. We Googled LeBron’s address and wouldn’t you know it, his place was minutes from the restaurant where we were.
We had to see where he lived, and parked the car in the middle of the road to gawk at the gated palace, taking pictures of daughter Sarah in front of the estate, until a security guard awoke to check us out.
I felt like an ornery teenager again.
Then it was back to Cleveland and our second Indians game.
It was “Jim Thome statue” night, and the crowd began to form outside the stadium gates early in the afternoon even though the game wasn’t starting until after 7 p.m.
I decided not to go to the ceremony, and Wheel said it was a good thing because it was too crowded where the actual presentation took place (Heritage Park) and the video scoreboard showed the ceremony, but with no audio.
The Thome statue would be another column, for me if you know what I mean, so I was glad to have napped instead.
The Indians won the game 2-0.
Faster game for Luke, another big crowd, and another huge fireworks show after the win.
We are on a roll.
Sunday was the series finale.
Quite honestly, we wanted the Indians to win, but were happy that they had already clinched the series.
And they had to face one of the best pitchers in all of baseball Sunday — Yu Darvish.
Would you believe the Tribe won the game?
A dramatic game-tying two-run homer from David Murphy in the bottom of the ninth, and then a Michael Brantley walk off blast to win it in the 12th for the Indians.
Man, that was exciting.
And Wheel and his son were nowhere to be found.
Well, at least at the Indians game.
They left after the seventh inning to head to Akron and watch the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
And thanks to a delay, they were able to see much of it live at Firestone.
What a weekend for the Wheelers.
Three Indians games, a Browns scrimmage, LeBron’s house and a World Golf Championships event.
What a weekend for the Kozas, too.
It doesn’t get better than that.
I’m ready to sign up for next year, already!
You can comment to Vince Koza at firstname.lastname@example.org.