Cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer recently started a blog called Cleveland Remembers – where anyone in the community can submit their memories of Cleveland people, places and events. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the city from before my time.
It has also made me think about my own experiences in Cleveland since moving here a few years ago, and how I’ll look back in a decade or two and reminisce about these moments. I know for sure that my Saturday night at the Indians game will be high up on my list of favorite Cleveland memories.
Inside the suite before the game. Loved the free wifi access.
I was invited to Saturday’s game as part of their new Cleveland Indians Social Suite. Presented by Time Warner Cable, the Indians Social Suite was unveiled this year and offers a unique experience for social media users.
Attendees get stunning views of the on-field action and the ability to network in the private, Wi-Fi enabled suite. The best part is that this first-of-its-kind Major League experience is open for anyone to apply to.
The Social Suite's view along 3rd base gave an excellent angle of the team as they celebrated their 13th inning win over the Tigers.
Before this weekend, I’d never seen a game from a suite and, as I tweeted my reaction when I got there, it was an overwhelmed “Wow.” The couches and tv made the inside of the suite a comfortable setting for hanging out prior to the game, and the view from the suite’s balcony along the 3rd baseline was remarkable.
While the suite was definitely a part of Saturday’s winning experience, it wasn’t the only reason the evening bowled me over. Keeping in line with their performance so far this season, the Tribe put on an incredibly exciting game (read the recap here). I’ve never been so worked up, but I’m pretty sure that’s what 13 innings and a walk-off with a loaded-bases finish will do to you.
The Indians' fireworks show - set to music of the 70s - was a breathtaking end to our evening.
However, regardless of who you were cheering for during the game, Indians and Tigers fans alike went home happy after enjoying the Cleveland Indians’ renowned post-game fireworks. Each Fireworks Night usually has its own theme and Saturday night’s was the music of the 70s. I’ve never seen the Indians’ fireworks before and could not have asked for a better experience for my first time.
Because we couldn’t watch the fireworks from the suite, we were moved to the Visitors Dug Out, which offered a breathtaking view of the show. In addition to sitting directly across from where the fireworks erupt from, it was amazing to walk along the field and hang out in the dug out. And as they were cleaning up the area, I got my very own souvenir – a ball from the game – something I had always wanted, but never gotten at games I attended as a child. (The fireworks dug out seats are available to any ticketholders who upgrade for $40.)
I’m typically a cynical sports fan (my mantra is to take things one game at a time even when we had a month like the Indians’ April). However, if my giddiness by the end of the night was any indication, the Indians turned this pessimist into a Believer. It was hands down my most memorable sporting experience and will be difficult to top.
The kid in me was giddy at not just getting to sit in the dug out, but also to get a ball from the game.
The Social Suite experience is part of a 2011 program by the Indians to engage with fans via social media. In addition to the suite, fans have the ability to follow many different Indians Twitter users, including the club’s President, Manager and General Manager – giving unprecedented access to the team. Those who follow the team on Twitter and Facebook can also take advantage of social media discount offers and ingame seat upgrades.
This one-of-its-kind social media strategy has garnered the Indians a lot of attention, including being named one of “MLB’s most Twitter-friendly teams” by ESPN the Magazine.
Saturday night was a Tribe Memory this Clevelander will never forget.
However, the strategy works not just because it’s unique, but because the team at Progressive understands the social aspect of social media. Every time we’ve been to the stadium – whether it was for a game or this winter’s Indians Snow Day, each person we’ve interacted with has been personable, helpful and engaging. Saturday was no different – from @tribetalk‘s Robert Campbell to our suite’s attendant, the people were an integral part of the night.
I’m looking forward to more games this season like Dollar Dogs Nights and Fill the House for Charity – each one a new Cleveland memory to treasure.
Cleveland Indians Social Suite 411:
*** Disclosure: After applying for the Cleveland Indians Social Suite, I was invited to use two free tickets at Saturday’s game. However, the opinions about my experience in this post are 100% my own. ***