Instead of celluloid, this really happened: New skipper Terry Francona had major trouble finding his way to Progressive Field for the Cleveland Indians' home opener Monday. Even though he lives two blocks away from the stadium in downtown Cleveland, Francona said he "got lost three times" on his walk trying to find it, the Associated Press reported.
You'd think Francona whip out a mobile device and use the GPS, or just look up for the giant toothbrushes in the sky — the Progressive Jake's signature light towers. Being a man, of course, he wasn't about to ask anyone where the stadium was — even though he didn't want to be late to team up with his dad, Tito Francona, for the ceremonial first pitch. Francona did find a lot of nice people on the street — "the nicest" he's ever met, he said — but kept making wrong turns to the ballpark
Fortunately for Francona, an Indians employee located him, picked him up in a golf cart and got him to the stadium. Or next to it.
"Even when I got to the garage two people who work here said, 'Hey, do you know where you're going?' I was like, 'Nope.'"
The man who was born to lead the Cleveland Indians to the promised land, ladies and gentlemen! He must be a guy who gives directions better than he takes them. That might be one of the reasons Francona says he always prefers to stick close to the park.
"I like being close to the ballpark, always have," he said. "If I had my druthers on the road, I would rather stay in a motel next to the ballpark than have to drive a half-hour."
Francona has a scooter stashed at Progressive Field (it came in the big move from spring training in Arizona) and he'll probably use that frequently to get around. But since the person on the golf cart had to give him a ride on Day 1, there's a chance Francona still won't know how to find the ballpark the next time he has to this week.
So if you see a pleasant-looking man, aged 53, with glasses and a shiny head looking confused in downtown, and the Indians are scheduled to play a game in a few hours, you know what to do, nice people of Cleveland.
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- Terry Francona
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