CLEVELAND, Ohio – Fans were out in full force for the sold-out American League Divisional Series Game 3 between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field.
Downtown from E. 4th Street to the Gateway District and surrounding areas were filled hours before the game. Here are sights and sounds from in and around the park:
Wedding date to remember
A wedding party came up from Brunswick in Medina County to take pictures on E. 4th Street. Jennifer Trivett chose the date long before the postseason schedule was out, and the entire wedding party posed and strolled amid the fans and patios in the pedestrian alley. The wedding was held at 2 p.m.
Lines started forming more than three hours before first pitch. The crowd was entertained with music and dancers, and the game was set to air on a pair of large screens. With about two and a half hours before first pitch the temperature was 56 degrees. The screens will remain for Sunday’s game.
What a difference a few hundred feet makes when it comes to downtown real estate, apparently. The 900 Tower garage at E. 9th Street and Euclid Avenue and the premier parking garage on Erie Court were the bargains at $40. The lot at E. 9th Street and Bolivar cost $60. Parking at The 9 was listed as $50, though overnight valet was $42. Sports Parking Inc. next to Thirsty Parrot cost $60.
The most intriguing price swing could be seen at the platinum parking lot on E. 9th across from the players entrance. About 4:30 p.m. a sign was posted for $100 at the entrance of the then mostly empty lot. Less than 10 minutes later, it had dropped to $80.
Outfit of the day
Jim Sable of Cleveland, wearing his homemade colorful Guardians outfit, sauntered around the Gateway District before the game. It took him “a while” to make it, he said, but unfortunately he didn’t have a ticket to Saturday’s game. He said he planned to watch “through the gates.”
Signs of the times
We spotted this one near the centerfield gates: “Will trade my brother for Aaron Judge #99.” Since Judge has swung a light bat against Cleveland in the postseason before his third-inning home run, Yankee fans who booed Judge in his home park Friday might have taken this fan up on her offer before the game.
We have to give a hat tip to the father-son duo of Josh and Andrew Donay, for donning a pair of classic jerseys – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Josh said he is originally from New York, but they live in Cincinnati and came up for the game. Andrew is a junior at Bowling Green studying marketing, while Josh has been a Yankees fan “my whole life.” He’s already planning on seeing his Yankees next season. They have an interleague three-game series at Cincinnati in May.
By the way the bravest fan we saw outside the stadium was the guy wearing a Yankees jersey and Michigan cap.
Like birding, jersey spotting can pass the time when you’re standing in line outside the gates. On downtown streets, at bars and all around Progressive Stadium we tallied more than two dozen Cleveland player names on fans’ backs: Sandy Alomar, Shane Bieber, Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yu Chang, Mike Clevinger, Larry Doby, Edwin Encarnacion, Bob Feller, Terry Francona, Andrés Giménez, Yan Gomes, Travis Hafner, Nolan Jones, James Karinchak, Jason Kipnis, Steven Kwan, Francisco Lindor, Kenny Lofton, Oscar Mercado, Mike Napoli, Manny Ramirez, Franmil Reyes, Carlos Santana, Mr. Smile, Myles Straw, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel and Ricky Vaughn.
As it advertised last week, The 9′s shoe-shine stand offers an array of services, including ballcap cleaning for $5. “It does happen,” said Paris Dillard, who said he hasn’t cleaned any personally but knows a co-worker who has. He said when the hotel has convention or wedding guests, business is busier at the stand. Sports fans, though, tend to be a bit more casual. “They’re usually not into it as much,” he said.
The game’s prime-time start on a Saturday allowed for brisk business at several bars more than two hours before first pitch: Mabel’s BBQ was the hot spot on E. 4th while folks also hit Butcher and the Brewer across the street. Busiest place downtown seemed to be The Clevelander, with a packed patio. Barrio Gateway on Prospect Avenue also had tables filled.
Praying for a win
Many Catholic fans probably thought with last week’s 12:07 p.m. start for the Wild Card Game 2, they would be out in plenty of time for Saturday vigil mass, usually 4:30 p.m. Nope. Cleveland and Tampa Bay were still playing ball at that point; the game took 15 innings over four hours and 57 minutes. How was Saturday-mass attendance at St. Sebastian Church in Akron? “Terrible,” said the Rev. John Valencheck the following morning. Though when he announced the final score, the congregation cheered.
This and that
More than 100,000 people will converge on downtown Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns host the New England Patriots at 1 p.m., and the Yankees and Guardians go at it again at 7:07 p.m. … Danielle Danburg, accomplished singer and wife of Guardians vice president of communications Curtis Danburg, has sung the National Anthem more than 100 times since 1996. She was at the microphone again Saturday. … Carlos Baerga, who played eight of his 14 Major League seasons for Cleveland, tossed the ceremonial first pitch. … Loudest it got during player introductions – other than the first of three fireworks bursts – was when Emmanuel Clase was announced and the decibel meter hit 101.9. Moments later, it climbed to 104.5 when Aaron Judge struck out on a 3-2 pitch. … It took about 180 volunteers to hold and wave the giant American flag unfurled across the outfield. … The wife of Andrés Melendez, Michelle, delivered the game ball to the mound. Melendez, a Guardians prospect, died last December. … Several Cleveland Cavaliers were in attendance at the game. … Mustard threw a pumpkin at onion to remain undefeated in the post-season hot dog derby. And that’s a sentence we’ve never written and never will again.
Line of the day
“Never did the maker of that cartoon envision that in Cleveland.” – announcer Tom Hamilton when Oscar Gonzalez, whose walk-up song is “SpongeBob SquarePants,” came to the plate in the first.
Hating the Yankees runs deep for Sen. Sherrod Brown
Cleveland Guardians fan dog, parking prices, Akron pride, more – Game 2 sights, sounds
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Westlake softball player nabs Gonzalez’ memorable home run
Game 2 ALDS: TBS’ coverage of Guardians-Yankees game includes Francona hat tip, ‘The Whammer,’ more
Game 1 ALDS: How did TBS do with its Guardians-Yankees coverage?
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I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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