Like many baseball fans, as a kid I dreamed about playing for my favorite team when I grew up. That’s kind of a dicey daydream for even the most talented little boy. (For little girls, you soon realize that your daydream is not only dicey, it’s sliced, diced and julienned, but that’s a whole other story.) You grow up and move on, but the love of the game remains.
Enter the baseball fantasy camp, which gives regular fans a taste of big league life by letting them play on a major league field in full uniform with retired stars from their favorite team. Baseball fantasy camps were started in the early 1980s by former Chicago Cub Randy Hundley, but within a few years, every team held one. The Indians held their first fantasy camp in 1990 and have run one every year since. According to Bob DiBiasio, the Indians Sr. Vice President-Public Affairs, the January 2013 camp is already sold out. He notes that almost half of the approximately 100 campers are repeats. I’ve occasionally daydreamed about doing the fantasy camp, but the cost and time away from work and family have always brought me back to reality. It seemed that even the fantasy camp would be a fantasy.
Enter the Indians One-Day Baseball Experience. It’s kind of a mini fantasy camp, but it takes place at Progressive Field during the regular season when the team is on the road. And it’s, duh, just a day. But you still get the chance to play two games on a major league field, in full uniform with Indians alumni as coaches/managers. DiBiasio says that the One-Day Experience was conceived “with the idea that some people can’t take a whole week off to enjoy the fantasy camp experience. We thought we could offer something a little different, a little special.”
It sounded so special to me that I decided to do it. And write about it. The cost was still an issue, but donations from a bunch of dear friends made it possible for me register. So that’s what I’m doing this Saturday: I’m going down to Progressive Field, putting on my uniform, and playing a double header. I’ll be sure to tell you about it.