Our final day was the Royals at the Guardians so we were going to see Bobby Witt, Jr again. Rick was decked out in his Indians attire as were many Cleveland fans. We headed over to the practice fields but it was harder to get to see the players since the closest that fans could get was at chain-linked fence at left field. I had to squint to see who was batting. According to Andy and Rick, two older guys that we met, they used to have the practice fields very open to fans but it changed after COVID. We saw Josh Naylor bat and then go over to the right field fence to take pictures with fans. Figures. We were on the wrong side! A little boy next to me belted out, “Stephen Kwan!” The leadoff player headed our way! After the boys got his autograph, I timidly asked for a picture with him and he obliged.
The Goodyear Park was our favorite of the three ballparks. The parking was free and they permitted purses in as well as sealed bottled water. When I was leaving the restroom, our usher was in there and she said, “It will be very sunny in the seats you are in and you’re going to need sunscreen.” I was glad she said something but unfortunately, I didn’t have sunscreen with me. She pointed to a dispenser adjacent to the restroom door. Complimentary sunscreen! I coated my nose with it and headed out. The guys from the practice field, Andy and Rick, were on the concourse on the lookout for us. “We’re going to show you where you can get player pictures and autographs.” The area was the rail between first base and right field. I got my picture made and my Lotta Sports T-shirt autographed by several players including Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor, his brother Bo and a few pitchers. I was a kid in a candy store! When Josh Bell came out to warm up, the fans went crazy yelling for his autograph – me included! A guy next to me said, “Forget it. He doesn’t sign.” Well, guess who came over and signed!?! Josh Bell! He was bigger than life! During the game, Cleveland’s David Fry was brought in to pitch hit. A voice boomed from a few rows behind us, “Hit it to Colleyville!” That’s where Fry was from and also home of Bobby Witt, Jr. as well as a town away from where we lived in Grapevine, Texas. Unfortunately, the former Indians players were scalped in their game getting beat 12 – 6 by the Royals.
We headed back to Tempe to meet up with Michele for dinner. We had asked him what kind of foods he liked and he responded anything but Thai. He loved sushi so Rick found a seafood restaurant in Tempe that had several sushi dishes. Michele was amazing with the chopsticks! We had a real nice dinner and we discovered our waiter had played baseball. I think he told us it was in high school but he got injured pitching so he didn’t get to play after that. After dinner, I asked Michele to sign my T-shirt. “It’s all Cleveland players!” “Well, I just started it! They’ll be more!” We both laughed and he signed it.
We dropped Michele off his hotel and wished him the very best. The next day he was leaving for Taiwan to play in the World Baseball Classic! Little did he realize, that Taiwan would not be his only destination in the WBC journey or did he….