Best In The Business: Indy’s Field Leaves Others Dreaming

Imagine hundreds of thousands of people coming to your house and critiquing your lawn. Dream or nightmare? For Indianapolis Indians Head Groundskeeper Joey Stevenson and his staff, it’s reality.

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Joey and his crew work day-in day-out to maintain what many in professional baseball consider among the very the best playing surfaces in the game. Their efforts have once again paid off as Victory Field has been recognized for the third time in the last four years with Stevenson being awarded the International League’s Sports Turf Manager of the Year.

As of Aug. 27, only four opportunities remain to come experience the International League’s best playing surface. Whether you’re a green thumb or stick to house plants, one can’t help but appreciate the meticulous effort put into Indiana’s premier natural grass baseball diamond.

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Stevenson, who also won the award in 2011 and 2012, gives credit to his crew for helping making Victory Field the best. “It’s a testament to Assistant Groundskeeper Joey Gerking and our entire crew,” remarked Stevenson. “My team puts in long hours, hard work, and are especially dedicated to our craft and love of the game.”

Indians' head groundskeeper Joey Stevenson, sat down with the Indianapolis Star's Autumn Allison earlier this season to discuss the labor of love that is maintaining Victory Field.

Indians’ head groundskeeper Joey Stevenson, sat down with the Indianapolis Star’s Autumn Allison earlier this season to discuss the labor of love that is maintaining Victory Field.

With the award, Stevenson joins Toledo’s Jake Tyler (3) and former Indians’ groundskeeper Mike Boekholder (5) as the only International League Sports Turf Managers to be honored at least three times in the 23-year history of the award.

The award is voted on by field managers and pitching coaches throughout the IL, and they once again took notice of the Big League aura that Victory Field boasts. “Victory Field is a big league playing surface,” said Indianapolis Indians Manager Dean Treanor. “Joey and his crew work their tails off at all hours of the day. He’s a big league groundskeeper and he does a big league job.”

See the work of Indians' Head Groundskeeper Joey Stevenson and his crew up close and personal.

See the work of Indians’ Head Groundskeeper Joey Stevenson and his crew up close and personal.

In addition to the 72 Tribe home games each season, Victory Field also hosts a variety of outside events including the Indiana Baseball State Finals, the City/County Championships and Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition. Through it all, Stevenson and his crew help keep Victory Field looking like every day is Opening Day.

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“Joey Stevenson’s care of the Victory Field playing surface has made it second to none,” said Indianapolis Indians Vice President and General Manager Cal Burleson. “He does an excellent job of leading his grounds crew through some very challenging activities and is totally deserving of this award.”

The award automatically places Stevenson in contention for the Triple-A classification’s Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award (which he received in 2011 and 2012) as selected by the Sports Turf Managers Association and presented annually at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

 

Recap (8/26): Indians 5, Bats 2

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Phenom Polanco Rejoins Tribe for Final Homestand

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Top prospect and Pittsburgh Pirates phenom Gregory Polanco is set to rejoin the Indianapolis Indians during the Tribe’s final homestand of the regular season from Tuesday, Aug. 26 – Saturday, Aug. 30. The five-tool farmhand dominated the International League throughout his original stint with the Indians, earning the Tribe’s Player of the Month Award in April and later becoming the first player in team history to win two IL Batter of the Week awards in the same season (April 14, May 19).

“He’s the kind of player you like to cheer for,” Indians hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo said. “He’s a classy kid and a gentleman, the kind you want to root for, and you could see that in his teammates.”

At the time of his recall to the big leagues on June 10, Polanco’s unmatched performance featured leading all International League batters in:

  • Runs (47)
  • RBI (49)
  • Triples (5)
  • Hits (86)
  • Extra-Base Hits (29)
  • Total Bases (134)

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The Tribe’s electrifying outfielder also ranked second in the IL with a .346 batting average after hitting safely in 45 of 62 Triple-A games with 26 multi-knock efforts, reaching base in 50 of 62 appearances and scoring or driving in a run in 45 of 62 contests.

“I would say he’s both physically and mentally ready for the challenge,” Indians manager Dean Treanor said after the initial news of Polanco’s promotion to Pittsburgh. “He wants this challenge.”

Polanco then burst onto the major league scene by tallying hits in each of his first 11 games to establish Pittsburgh’s franchise record for the longest hitting streak to begin a career. He eclipsed Roberto Clemente’s seven-game streak and shattered the previous mark of an eight-game streak set by Spencer Adams in 1923.

“Some young players are out for stardom. He’s not out for stardom. He’s out to be a master craftsman,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said earlier this season. “(The hitting streak) is special…It gives you goose bumps anytime you hear a ‘Not since Clemente,’ that gets your attention.”

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Click here to purchase tickets for the Tribe’s homestand: http://atmilb.com/1B4JhOs

Recap (8/25): Indians 9, Clippers 11

Official Box Score

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Indians Homestand Highlights: Tuesday, August 26 – Saturday, August 30, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians wrap up the 2014 regular season with series against International League West Division rivals, the Louisville Bats (August 26-27) and the Columbus Clippers (August 28-30). The final homestand includes, the last chance to take advantage of McAlister’s Deli 2-for-1 Tuesday (August 26), the second sold-out Bark in the Park event of 2014 (August 27), and back-to-back fireworks to finish out the schedule (August 29 and 30).

This week only, fans can also take advantage of special savings on all Indians in-store merchandise. Fans will receive $10 off any in-store purchase of $75 or more at the Hot Corner Gift Shop from Aug. 25 -30, 2014. This offer cannot be combined with other offers or previous purchases.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26 VS. LOUISVILLE             7:05 p.m.
PRESENTED BY MCALISTER’S DELI , 99.5 WZPL AND YP

Two-for-One TuesdayFor the final time in 2014 fans may receive two tickets for the price of one to a Tuesday home game by picking up a voucher at any central Indiana McAlister’s Deli location.

Wheeler Mission Awareness Night – Wheeler Mission is a non-denominational, Christian, social services organization, which provides critically needed goods and services to the homeless, poor, and needy of central Indiana. Founded in 1893, Wheeler is the oldest continuously operating ministry of its kind in the state of Indiana. As part of Wheeler Mission Awareness Night, representatives from Wheeler will participate in a ceremonial first pitch and staff an informational display in the PNC Plaza, located in center field.

*Hot Corner Gift Shop Featured Item of the Game: Red UA Official Logo Tee ($25)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 VS. LOUISVILLE             7:05 p.m.
PRESENTED BY TOYOTA

NHRA Night – If you have the need for speed you won’t want to miss NHRA night at Victory Field as courtesy of Toyota, a NHRA top fuel dragster will be on display in the PNC Plaza and eight Toyota NHRA drivers will be on hand to sign autographs for fans.

Bark in the Park For the second time in 2014, the Indians are giving fans the chance to share their favorite game with their favorite pets. Though all dog tickets have sold out for this event, plenty of “human” tickets still remain. Nearly 200 dogs in the right field lawn are sure to make for a unique ballpark experience you won’t want to miss.

During the event fans can browse the pet expo and see dogs available for adoption from the Indianapolis Humane Society. IndyVet Emergency & Specialty Hospital will also have veterinary specialists onsite for emergency situations and to answer pet-care questions.

*Hot Corner Gift Shop Featured Item of the Game: Grey Allbright Tee ($25)

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 VS. COLUMBUS             7:05 p.m.  
PRESENTED BY PEPSI, FOX 59 AND 97.1 HANK F.M.

Thursday Value Night – For the final time this season fans can get the full ballpark experience in one $20 package that includes a reserved seat ticket, T-shirt, hot dog and unlimited soda. Fans may upgrade the package with a box seat ticket for just $4 more.
Note: Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

WTHR Blue Pledge Night – The Indians are partnering with WTHR – Channel 13 to support our Police and build safer neighborhoods by taking the Blue Pledge against crime. WTHR will promote taking the Blue Pledge by handing out non-stick window decals and blue light bulbs, while also staffing an informational table in the PNC plaza.

*Hot Corner Gift Shop Featured Item of the Game: Grey Stride Visor ($10)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29 VS. COLUMBUS             7:15 p.m.
PRESENTED BY INDIANA FARM BUREAU INSURANCE AND AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF INDIANA
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Friday Night FireworksFor the final Friday this season fans are invited to stick around after the game to catch a fantastic fireworks show courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and the American Legion Department of Indiana.

Military Appreciation NightThe Indians will honor those who serve our country with a special pre-game ceremony, which will include honorary first pitches from the American Legion Department of Indiana and the VA Hospital.

*Hot Corner Gift Shop Featured Item of the Game: Nike Pursuit of Perfection Tee ($15)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 VS. COLUMBUS             6:05 p.m.
PRESENTED BY B105.7

Post-Game FireworksFans are invited to stick around after the game for a spectacular fireworks show in celebration of the regular-season home finale.

Shirt Off Our Back NightFans can register to win a game-worn jersey to be awarded by Indians players and coaches immediately following the game. All jerseys worn in Saturday’s contest will be part of the register-to-win contest.

Player AwardsThe Tribe will announce its 2014 Player Award winners during a special pre-game ceremony before the game.

*Hot Corner Gift Shop Featured Item of the Game: Charcoal Heather Zip Hood ($30)

 

For a complete list of the 2014 Indians promotions and special events, visit IndyIndians.com/promotions

Make summer something you’ll never forget with your Indianapolis Indians. Tickets for the Tribe’s final homestand of the 2014 regular season are currently available online at IndyIndians.com, through the Indians’ single-game ticket hotline at 317-269-2282 or by visiting the Victory Field Box Office on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Recap (8/24): Indians 3, Clippers 4

Official Box Scorerecap-8-24

Recap (8/23): Indians 9, Clippers 2

Official Box Score

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Recap (8/22): Indians 5, Mud Hens 0

Official Box Score

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Catcher Sanchez Makes First Career Start at First Base

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Tony Sanchez will make his first career appearance in the field at a position other than catcher in tonight’s game, as the former first-round pick is penciled as the Tribe’s starting first baseman against the Toledo Mud Hens.

Sanchez was rated by Baseball America as the “Best Defensive Catcher” in Pittsburgh’s system in each of his first five pro seasons and has previously seen action in 422 minor league contests behind the dish and three as the designated hitter. The 26 year old has also appeared in 35 big league games as a backstop and three as the DH.

Sanchez confirmed he did not suit up at the corner infield spot in 161 collegiate contests at Boston College. He said tonight will mark the first time he has ever played first base.

Indians coach Mike Pagliarulo, who made 15 appearances at first base during his 11-year career in the majors, credited Sanchez’s bat for his extra action in the infield.

“I’m not sure as far as strategy on the switch, that comes from [the Pirates], but if it can help our club in Pittsburgh, then I’m all for it,” Pagliarulo said prior to tonight’s game. “I played a little first base in my career, so I can help him out there a little, but you have to get Tony’s bat in the lineup.”

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The Indians’ new first baseman battled through a slow start this season and has since rebounded from a .214 average to hit .276 (16-for-58) with three doubles, three homers, 10 runs scored and 10 RBI over his last 17 games. As he continues to fine-tune his stroke at the plate, his power is consistently on display with 26 of his 53 Triple-A hits going for extra bases this year.

“He’s been really swinging the bat well now, and that’s a good thing, that’s what we’re looking for,” Pagliarulo said. “I’m sure he’ll do well first thing over at first, and we’ll see what happens.”

Pagliarulo has confidence in a smooth transition for Sanchez from behind the plate over to first. He said Sanchez has the ability and tools to succeed at the position, and the coach’s only concern tonight is debuting at a new position with full-game speed.

“My concern for anyone playing a new position is…(not playing) conservatively; making the right moves and knowing where to go with the ball,” Pagliarulo said. “You never know, Tony is an athlete and a tough kid and a gamer – so hopefully he’ll pull one off tonight.”

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Indianapolis Clowns Jersey Auction

This Auction Is Now Closed.

The Tribe will look a little different when they take the field tonight.

Your Indians will honor the baseball history of Indianapolis by donning throwback, red-white-and-blue jerseys of the former Negro League team the Indianapolis Clowns during tonight’s 7:15 p.m. game.

You don’t just have to be a spectator in this fun promotion, you can also bid on the game-worn jerseys and take one home (sweat and dirt included).

All proceeds from tonight’s auction will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum– a charity dedicated to preserving the rich history of African-American Baseball.

Since tonight’s auction is powered by Qtego, you don’t even need to be present at tonight’s game to bid on this unique design. Bid by text or phone through the end of the 7th inning of tonight’s game. (If you’re not present and want to watch for the 7th inning tune in to HTSN-digital channel 6.2, on the radio at  WNDE 1260 AM, via  iheartradio (a mobile app) or at IndyIndians.com for the pitch-by-pitch.)

TO REGISTER TO BID ON A JERSEY:

Register using your mobile phone by texting “CLOWNS” to 79230

Phone in your bid by calling: 1-877-891-4752

OR Register online here: http://www.qtego.net/auc/indians

TO BID BY TEXT:

Use the chart below to determine the item number for your desired player.
Hint: add 100 to the jersey number of the player to get the item number.
Text the item number AND your bid amount to 79230
(Example, for a $75 Rowdie jersey bid, Text “100 75″ to 79230)

TO ENTER A MAX BID

Text the item number AND max bid amount AND the letter “M” to 79230.
(Example, for a $500 max bid on Rowdie’s Jersey, text “100 500 m” to 79230.)

TO CHECK THE HIGH BID:

Text the item number to 79230

OR Watch the current high bid on all jerseys here: http://www.qtego.net/auc/indians

COMPLETE LIST OF ITEMS FOR BID

Item Number Number Player
100 0 Rowdie
102 2 Robert Andino
103 3 Mel Rojas Jr.
105 5 Brent Morel
107 7 Michael Martinez
110 10 Blake Davis
112 12 Clint Barmes
113 13 Mike Pagliarulo
114 14 Jaff Decker
115 15 Chase d’Arnaud
116 16 Tyler Waldron
117 17 Adam Wilk
118 18 A. J. Morris
119 19 Chris McGuiness
123 23 Rudy Pena
124 24 Dean Anna
126 26 Tony Sanchez
127 27 Dean Treanor
128 28 Omir Santos
129 29 Nevin Ashley
130 30 Josh Wall
131 31 Jose Tabata
132 32 Nick Kingham
134 34 Tommy Field
135 35 Wirfin Obispo
136 36 Ernesto Frieri
137 37 Vin Mazzaro
138 38 Andrew Lambo
139 39 Andy Oliver
143 43 Adrian Sampson
144 44 Josh Kinney
145 45 Casey Sadler
146 46 Tom Filer
148 48 Rafael Perez
149 49 Jake Brigham
150 50 Elias Diaz
152 52 John Holdzkom
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