Yesterday, after the Indians had their great walk-off win, the season ticket holders stayed back for an autograph event at the stadium. The event was a success and season ticket holders were happy that they could get some player autographs and some free food after a great Tribe win. That said, there were some small disappointments from the event.
I understand why the team had to clear out the stadium, though I’m not sure why season ticket holders were blocked off the way they were. Bronze season ticket holders had to exit and re-enter the stadium while silver STHs went to a tent in the stadium by Carnegie and gold/platinum STHs went directly to the Terrace Club. I’m not sure what it takes to become gold or platinum, but I’m assuming it means paying for good seats and a lot of games for a lot of years more than anything else. I’m also assuming that there was a pre-autographs reception of some sort for gold and platinum STHs.
My dad has been a season ticket holder for years and my parents, my friend Ari, and I went to the game and stayed for the event. One disappointment was that, even though we had to wait for an hour to re-enter the stadium and get autographs, we could not get maps ahead of time. So many people were running around the stadium in search of one or two specific players that it felt busy and tough to navigate. Most of this chaos would have been avoided had the team either e-mailed maps to STHs or given them out while we were waiting for re-entry. We knew the players would be spread out at various tables throughout the stadium, we just didn’t know who would be where.
Once we were let back into the stadium and got our maps, my dad went for the two players he wanted, Corey Kluber and Jason Giambi. My mom went up to a Q&A session with Tribe alums Carlos Baerga (her favorite player), Richie Sexson, and Sandy Alomar, Jr. in the Terrace Club that included a raffle and desserts (she said they were really good). In fact, as my dad waited in line and got a baseball signed by Giambi, my mom sat and listened to the Q&A and won the same thing in the raffle. Ari and I roamed the stadium finding short lines and players whose autographs we wanted. Right outside the door we entered through, Trevor Bauer was waiting to sign autographs. We made sure to stop by his line first, while it was still short.
Every player (aside from David Murphy, who was not at the event) was obligated to sign 250 autographs before their line was capped. Some players did not sign after the 250 while others kept signing until their line emptied. If you were behind the “This autograph line is capped” sign, you could press your luck, or you could find another line to stand in. After getting Bauer’s autograph, Ari and I got signatures from Cody Allen, Marc Rzepczynski, and Tyler Holt. I asked Zep if it was annoying when he had to fill out his name for the SATs and he said he had only one or two empty bubbles left once he finished filling in his name.
After seeing the long lines for so many players, including plenty of capped lines for the obvious gets (Nick Swisher, Danny Salazar, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana), we searched for a shorter queue to stand in.
Ari and I found Lonnie Chisenhall‘s line and saw that it was short, but filling up. By the time we got to the player himself, the line had been capped. One question I’d wondered about for a few years regarded his number change. Turns out, when he was called up, Chisenhall replaced Adam Everett (remember him?), who wore number 8 during his stint on the 2011 Indians. Out of respect for the veteran he was replacing, Lonnie made the decision not to wear number 8 until the following season, instead opting for 27.
Every player that we met during the event was nice, personable, and engaging, regardless of whether or not they wanted to be there. The Indians were smart in lining every table with pens, sharpies, and paper so fans who did not bring their own items or pens wouldn’t have to worry about not getting signatures. In order to keep lines moving, multiple autographs and pictures were both frowned upon, and I did not see anyone try and break the rules in this case.
Aside from autographs, STHs could register to play catch on the field. Though I did not register, the field was busy with a lot of people playing catch. There were also free food and drink options available, including hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, fries, popcorn, and pop. That said, if you wanted a cheeseburger, you had to pay for the cheese. On top of that, pretzels were offered if you wanted to pay for those. If you’re going to offer free food and soft drinks, it is silly to make fans pay for other offerings, like cheese on a burger. Does cheese cost that much? Why not only have the free food items instead of tempting us with soft pretzels that we aren’t going to pay for? I might be making a big deal out of a slice of cheese, but it’s puzzling if you ask me.
Overall, the Season Ticket Holder event was very good. It had its flaws with the maps and the food, but these were minor issues compared to getting player autographs and free food. It is nice that the Indians appreciated the die hard fans with the event. If you were at the event yesterday, let me know what you thought of it and if I missed anything from the event. Sound off in the comments below.