Monday, May 21, 2007

Are You Crazy?

That was the common theme I heard this weekend: From my brother, my mother, my sister, and many others. And maybe I am.

Motzei Shabbos at about 10:30 I left my apartment. 2:00am this morning I finally got back. In the middle, I went with two good friends of mine - Da Kirsch (whose annual NFL draft predictions I post) and ASLove, both of whom I first met in Lander - to Cleveland, Ohio. We went pretty much for one reason only: To watch the Reds and Indians play in Jacobs Field. The two of them are trying to visit a number of ballparks over the course of this season, and this weekend they had decided to go to Cleveland. Seeing as how I'm a big Indians fan and originally from Cleveland, they asked me if I'd like to join; Serach graciously allowed me to go away for the day, even though we generally only have weekends together; and so, we went.

We left Passaic at 12:39am Saturday night, and after a couple of stops along the way, much rain, and a little traffic, made it to Cleveland at about 8:00 in the morning where we hit one of the best Starbucks in the country. No, they're not all the same. At that point I called my parents and asked if they'd like guests for breakfast.
Mom (suspiciously): Who?

Ez: Me and two friends.

Mom: (after quick explanation of why we're in Cleveland) [laughing] Are you crazy?
There's going to a "Mom-and-Pop" place for breakfast, and there's actually going to Mom and Dad for breakfast. When we finished davening we had bagels and scrambled eggs, courtesy of Mom (we don't trust Dad to make anything since he burned macaroni), then headed out a little while later. A quick shiva call at a friend, a quick stop at Kinneret for pizza just because you can't go to Cleveland and not have the best kosher pizza there is (thank you Gloria), and we headed to the game. There's something to be said for free parking just a few blocks from the stadium which allows you to leave without hitting traffic or large crowds. :::cough NY stinks cough:::

My friends were wearing their Yankees regalia, which elicited a few good-natured barbs from Tribe fans and one hilarious exchange from a Mets fan, who walked over as if he were sweeping them away. There were a nice amount of respectful Reds fans in the park, but overall it was a nice Indians crowd of 32,524. We had decent seats behind home in the upper deck looking up the third-base line ($18), and were a bit disappointed that the ushers wouldn't let us move down to the lower bowl in the 7th. We also checked out the Monument Park - something that as a Clevelander you never do, really, but they wanted to; the Home Run Porch; and walked around the stadium a bit, of course pointing out the Lebron James shrine that is the "Q" next door.

The Indians won 5-3 thanks to some great pitching from Paul Byrd, clutch hitting from Jhonny Peralta* and Josh Barfield*, and a spectacular throw by Kelly Shoppach to gun down Ryan Freel trying to steal 3B with one out, two on, and the Reds trying to rally. In a purely ironic twist, Travis Hafner not only played first, but ended the game with a diving stop. If you've seen "Pronk", you know that there's a reason he normally plays DH.

After the game, we stopped at my buddy Groovin' whose wife recently gave birth to a baby girl, then headed over to the kosher Subway, where we picked up foot-longs for the way. Yum. Finally, we started heading back to New Yawk, getting stuck in almost two hours of traffic on I-80, and after we passed the traffic I let Love drive and was basically dozing on and off the rest of the way.

It wasn't that crazy. :)

* Barfield and Peralta are both on my team in the fantasy league all three of us are a part of. They were 3-8 with 2 runs, a HR, 3 RBI, and a SB for me, while I thought I had Aaron Harang (loser with 5ip, 5er, 10h/w allowed) benched but didn't; Brandon Phillips was okay for Love with a solo shot, but disappointed him by striking out in the crucial 8th inning; and DaKirsch was seriously saddened by Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez, who went 2-8 for him. Not only that, but Sizemore got caught stealing for the first time all year.