• by Ryan Isley

    There were plenty of negatives from Thursday’s Opening Day for the Cleveland Indians, which they lost 7-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays in 16 innings.

    There was the Indians offense that made the Browns and Cavs offenses look efficient, Chris Perez showing that he shares the same clutch gene as LeBron James and enough bad fundamental baseball that I wondered if Eric Wedge had taken over in the dugout again.

    But over all of what happened on the field, it was what happened in the stands that was the most embarrassing to Cleveland.

    First of all, let me give Indians fans credit for their pregame participation prior to the gates at Progressive Field being open. Josh and I arrived downtown around 11am and headed straight to Flannery’s, which was already busy. By the time we left there a little bit after 1pm, the place was so packed that you could barely move. Most of the people we talked to at Flannery’s weren’t even going to the game – they had just come downtown to soak in the atmosphere of Opening Day. To me, that was awesome – and those are the fans I would have wanted at the ballpark.

    The one thing about going to Opening Day is that you know there are about 30 minutes of pregame festivities prior to the first pitch, so Josh and I headed over to the stadium around 1:15pm for the 3:05pm start.

    When we arrived, there were very few fans inside yet but we figured that they were still outside at Rally Alley or in the bars finishing off their last pregame beer before heading over. By 2:30pm, there was still just a small amount of fans in the stadium when the festivities began. Those who did not make it into the stadium before 2:30pm missed a pretty good show and credit to those who were inside for the loud ovations they gave not only to the Indians players, but also the standing ovation they gave Omar Vizquel when he was introduced to the crowd he played in front of for 11 seasons.

    The problem was that once the game started, the stadium was still not full. They may have announced 43,190 as the official attendance, but that was tickets sold, not butts in seat. It was Opening Day – where were the fans who had tickets? There are so few excuses for missing an Opening Day if you have tickets that it would not be sufficient enough to explain the lack of fans.

    Was it a little bit cold? Of course it was – it is April in Cleveland! Man up and get to the ballpark.

    Those fans that did show up were great from the opening pitch until the end of the 9th inning. They cheered when they should have cheered and then they booed so loudly for Chris Perez that even he could hear it with the hair covering his ears.

    Things changed, however, once the 9th inning was over. I looked around and saw a number of fans headed for the exit after the Indians made their 27th out of the ballgame. I asked Josh at one point if they realize that there aren’t ties in baseball and that there would be extra innings. After the 10th inning, the same thing happened. After the 11th inning, it happened as well. It happened after every inning leading up to that final 16th inning.

    It was an embarrassment to the city of Cleveland to see all of the fans who claim to be diehards and some of the best in the country leaving early. What did you have to do that was so important that you left Opening Day early? I understand that there are 81 home games a year, but you only get one Opening Day at home.

    There was no excuse for all of the fans who left to do so when they did.

    Would you have left a Cavs game when overtime started? What about if a Browns game went overtime – would you have left at the end of the 4th quarter? Of course not – and the weather would probably be worse.

    The game started at 3:05pm, not 7:05pm, so it couldn’t have been that it was getting too late for people. Perez blew the save around 5:45pm and the 10th inning began around 6pm. Sure it was a long game, but once it was over, Josh and I drove back to his house in Medina, where I picked up my car and drove to Akron. I was home by 10pm – or about two hours earlier that I would have been for a 9-inning game that started at 7:05pm.

    When I saw the highlights of the game on ESPN SportsCenter, you could see all of the empty seats in the bleachers as J.P. Arencibia’s three-run homer that turned out to be the game-winner cleared the wall in the 16th inning. What a great message to send to not only the team, but the rest of the country about Cleveland fans.

    Besides the fans leaving, the other thing that Cleveland fans should be embarrassed about is the chant that was started throughout the game of “USA! USA! USA!”. Have you taken a look at the Indians roster lately? It isn’t exactly a roster made up of players who were born in the United States. Just because the Blue Jays are from Toronto does not mean that their players are Canadian. This isn’t the Olympics or the World Baseball Classic – chanting “USA! USA! USA!” was just completely ignorant.

    I expected better from Cleveland fans on Thursday – after all, this isn’t Miami.

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    Ryan Isley (238 Posts)

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    • Boltbloger

      Well done, Ryan…couldn’t agree with you more.

    • http://n/a Mario

      I guess based on what you said I should cancel my season tickets of 10 years since I’m not as worthy as you are to buy them.

      When will it sink in for you that Opening day is more of an excuse to party celebrating the end of winter (even though winter was cancelled this year) than it is the start of baseball?

      Personally I didn’t get a vote in the matter due to the fact that I had to work and if I left work early I didn’t get paid for a full day off today. I showed up in the 5th inning after I was done working. It is safe to say that others have the same story as the odd scheduling of a THURSDAY opener threw a curve in the schedule of many. Had the game been played today I am sure things would be a lot different as far as the number of people at the game before the game started.

      The thing that irked me the most when when you stated the following “It was an embarrassment to the city of Cleveland to see all of the fans who claim to be diehards and some of the best in the country leaving early. What did you have to do that was so important that you left Opening Day early? I understand that there are 81 home games a year, but you only get one Opening Day at home.”

      WEll Ryan, I know of people that went to the game that work evening jobs and have family obligations that have a higher priority to them than the Indians are. Think about what you said when you said would you leave a Cavs game in overtime? It would be about 10 at night when overtime started and very few people have obligations that late at night where is isn’t that unrealistic for someone to have something to do at 7:30 in any given evening. Forgive me if I sound rude in saying this but to me it sounds like you sure have a care-free lifestyle which in your mind makes others less loyal than you are.

      Im closing Ryan, your website is called “More Than A Fan” which from what I read is pretty accurate in describing you as we are all different which is what makes the world go round. That having been said I do have to say that because you are more than a fan DOES NOT give you a license to discount the loyalty of others. I think you need to watch the movie Fever Pitch (again). Take in the line that the kid told Jimmy Fallon “You love the Red Sox but have they ever loved you back?” Take that into consideration before you call other fans “embarrassing”

      • lessthanafanofdolans

        I agree with you 100 percent, and I wouldn’t have been as nice about it. I was puzzled at the lack of buts in the seats, but wrote off a lot of it to the over-flowing “Pepsi Patio” (or whatever it’s called THIS year), and any other standing area (especially in the sun). This is the first opener that I pretty much stayed in my seat, since I was fortunate to be in the sun all day. Usually, I’ll spend an inning, wandering around the park, which is still one of the best in baseball.

        However, after watching that incredible meltdown, followed by two more dormant innings of offense, enough was enough. I felt making it home in time to see my children before bedtime was more important. The last thing I need is some fanboy telling me or anyone else that I’m not a loyal fan. Between the Indians and the Browns, they got enough seed money from me in the form of season tickets while they gloriously trotted out inferior product.

        Sports are a diversion, not a life. Oh, unless you’re a blogger.

    • Matt

      Agree with everything minus booing Chris Perez. They guy blew ONE save and we’re going to boo him? Let’s just boo every player who doesn’t get a hit on the way back to the dugout, and boo the pitcher every time they give up a run. That will be great for team morale. Especially boo Ubaldo Jimenez. With enough persistent goading, we should be able to crack his already fragile ego like kinder egg on easter morning.

      @Mario- It will never sink in for anybody that opening day is more of an excuse to party than watch baseball, because it’s not. Many are, I don’t know, actually excited for the season to start. I guess to some people opening day is right in line with a fourth cousin-in-law’s wedding reception; they don’t really want to go, but there’s booze and it’s socially acceptable to get wasted and yell obscenities at strangers.

    • Lisa Pitz

      You already know that I disagree totally with this post, since I already said it on Twitter. But here it is anyway…not everyone can drop everything to spend an entire day in the middle of the week at the ballpark. I left the seats in the 9th and went to the homerun porch. We left in the 10th. It doesn’t make me less of a fan, especially since I had four hours of sleep and put in a full day’s work before I ever met you at Flannery’s at noon. Unfortunately real life sometimes intrudes on being the fans we want to be and, when you’re dealing with a Thursday game, responsibilities with kids, night jobs or even early work days on Friday, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Everyone that was with me had the same issue – we all worked long before we got there and all of us had to work early the next morning. When you add up a 7 hour work day, 2 1/2 hours at the bar, 3 hours at the game all on 4 hours of sleep and knowing that I had to be up and functioning at 6 am, I’m pretty sure that you’ll see the reasoning.

      Also? Yesterday was my 592nd game. I’ve had season tickets for 13 years before i ditched them for the $10 tickets last year and have missed only one opening day in the last 17 years. I’m pretty sure that my hard core status is still well intact despite my bailing in the 10th inning.

      I still love ya though!

      • Josh Flagner

        Well, you met us close to noon. I seem to remember it being closer to 12:30, but your point still stands.

    • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com WFNYCraig

      I agree with Lisa. I left in the 13th because I said I was going to be home for my kid’s bedtime and that was what I wanted to do. The Indians took a huge priority for me on Thursday and I did what I could to fulfill my obligations as a fan. Ultimately though, Tom Hamilton had to tell me the rest on the way home as I wanted to at least see my kid before he went to bed around 8 PM. I could have stayed and my wife and kid wouldn’t have cared, but that’s not what I wanted to do.

      It happens. I still love the Tribe and will go to tons of games this year.

      I blame the Indians more than I blame myself. I sat through the Chris Perez blown save. I sat through Casey Kotchman and Kipnis failing to score a man from third with only one down. I sat through Asdrubal swinging at the first pitch into a double play (I think the bases were juiced at the time.) I would have loved to sit through more, but my priorities changed as the clock kept churning.

      I won’t apologize for it.

      • http://www.neohawk.org rob hawkins

        “I did what I could to fulfill my obligations as a fan”

        For some reason that statement just strikes me as wrong. As a fan, I have no “obligation”. Oh, I don’t know, but I do get your overall point.

    • Luke

      Wow you really are lost arent you. People go to opening day because its like going to church on christmas. They dont want to but they do it anyway. Cleveland pretends opening day is another celebration for them to get hammered at. Kind of like a browns game. Not to mention the amount of lame old people, little kids and their parents that all go to the game because they arent creative enough to do something funner. People left the game because, quite frankly, THEY DONT CARE! the majority of indians fans dont actually care about what the **** is going on. Notice how the stadium was empty today, and for the rest of the season. This is all old news.

      Now, to your point on the USA chant. WHAT FREAKING PLANET ARE YOU ON???? DID YOU NOT SEE AND HEAR ALL THE CANADIANS??? seriously they are obnoxious and god help me if any of them are americans because they should be ashamed. The USA chant is the perfect way to drown out the bandwagon blue jay fans that actually think they can compete with new york, boston, and tampa bay.

      Dont call the fans shameful for leaving when our crap closer is too much of a hot head to actually get a save. That was an utter, pathetic, embarrassment. Dont call the fans shameful when our owner and GM didnt make a single offseason move that made any difference. There were so many problems at seasons end last year and they fixed none of them. Heck, they even brought back the problems of falso Carmona and Grady Playsless.

      I was wondering why the city is so obsessed with the browns this offseason, and now it seems as if all 3 teams are just trying to fight for the worst team in america right now.

    • Kim

      I stayed all 16! But my real gripe with tribe fans, is the hoochieswho come to the game dressed like they are going to the pole and then are puking in the bathroom by the 3rd inning. I think they still think Carlos Baerga is our 2nd baseman ;-)

      Anyway, I know a lot of “diehards” that left too…it makes me sick. I drive from out of town to see my boys play and if I lived in Cleveland, I would be there almost every night. The Indians have a way better product on the field than the browns and cavs do currently.

      Get your butts to the seats Cleveland! These guys have heart & soul, but you know if we make a run at the playoffs all these diehards will make it impossible for real fans to get tickets. :-)

      • LY

        I drove 350 miles and watched innings 1–13. There are 81 games in baseball season. That makes one game, 1/81 of a season, the equivalent of one fifth of a football game (less than a quarter). I’m sorry for making you sick.

    • LY

      I was at the game. I was psyched when the megatron showed that our attendance was the HIGHEST EVER FOR OPENING DAY. I was psyched when the Tribe played a great game. I was psyched when they loaded the bases with only one out in extras.

      I left after thirteen innings and four and a half hours.

      No NFL or NBA overtime can go that long unless it’s the playoffs. Your argument is invalid.

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