Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 9 at Cleveland Indians 3 - June 17, 2014

I'm in Ohio for a week of baseball featuring Toronto teams as the Jays are in Cincinnati this weekend while their AAA affiliate Buffalo visits Columbus during the week. However, flight options to those two cities were surprisingly expensive, so I ended up getting a flight to Cleveland instead. In a happy coincidence, the Indians were hosting the Angels tonight, so I decided to return to Progressive Field to see Mike Trout do some damage.

I took the Red Line all the way downtown from the airport, as I am not picking up the rental car until tomorrow. In an interesting pricing algorithm, the cost for the car for one week is just $133 with discounts, but adding an 8th day bumps the total to $200. Given that Cleveland's RTA is only $2.25 one way and goes right to Tower City, from where Progressive Field is just a short walk, I can live without the car for one day.

I was last here in October for the Wild Card game when the place was a zoo and I couldn't even get a ticket. I found an unorthodox way in, and today the baseball gods rewarded me for my devotion to the game by giving me a free ticket. As I approached the box office to see what might be available, a gentleman asked me if I needed a ticket. Upon my affirmative reply, he handed over a paper ticket, telling me it was 4 rows behind home plate. Great, I enjoy sitting low down in the upper deck. Then I checked the ticket: Section 153. I went over to the seating map and found this to be directly behind the plate, as you can see below. Thank you, anonymous benefactor.

So yeah, I got to see the best player in baseball for free. And he hit two home runs, including an opposite field poke that bounced off the fence for a three-run dinger, and later a solo shot that was a no-doubter. Amazing to see. That is Trout batting below in the first inning (he only doubled), the netting doesn't do these seats justice.

I did have a clear view of the Angels' dugout.

Matt Shoemaker was the starter for the Angels and pitched very well, giving up a couple of runs through 8 innings while tossing just 94 pitches. As Anaheim batted in the 9th up 7-2, lightning was sighted in the distance, but the Angels didn't hurry up, seeing 36 pitches from Josh Outman and tacking on two more runs. It started drizzling then, but when Shoemaker came out for the bottom half, the skies opened and the grounds crew rolled out the tarp. Shoemaker knew his day was done. The delay was only 11 minutes, but when the game resumed, Ernesto Frieri was on the mound for the Halos, and he got through the final frame, giving up another run. I thought afterwards that the Angels should have tried to get the game finished before the rain started, in order to give Shoemaker the chance at the complete game. A distinct lack of the team philosophy there I think.

That's the game summary. A note to all other major league teams: please adopt the full game summary on the scoreboard after the game, as above. The winning, losing, and saving pitchers with records, the attendance, and the time of the game, along with a few star players. Makes for a great picture and means I don't have to recap the game.


You notice how the attendance included 300 dogs? It was puppy-palooza and more than a few fans brought their pets out to the game. I guess pets limited to one or two sections, because I did not see a single mutt in the stands the whole time I was there. The theme was not limited to fans alone. During an inning break, a frisbee-catching canine was performing in left field, with the antics shown on the scoreboard. Before the dog walked off the field, she took a short bathroom break, making left field a little wetter than usual and not impressing Raul Ibanez, who fortunately had no plays there that inning.

Two rows in front of me there was a late-arriving heckler who screamed at Trout every time he batted, with highly creative jabs such as "We know you're juiced!" and "Get off the steroids!" Hilarious stuff. Well, Trout fouled out in his second plate appearance, earning raucous cackles from the loudmouth and his chums. Apparently, these did not go unheard on the field. The next time Trout batted, the loudmouth kept up his verbal assault. Boom! Three-run homer, and after Trout crossed the plate, he actually pointed at the heckler. You can see it in the highlight of the three-run homer on The heckler found the attention gratifying, so when Trout came up next, the screaming continued. This time Trout replied with the monster shot, shutting the heckler up for good. Fortunately, he left the game before Trout batted again.

Next Up

Off to Columbus tomorrow for the Bisons, who will finish up a four-game series with a Wednesday night game and then a businessman's special on Thursday. Check back Friday for a recap.



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