Hot dog, if winning isn't fun.
And by mid-August, with the Indians challenging the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central Division, Cleveland was once again eating up that familiar Jacobs Field excitement.
Give our success-starved sports fans even a whiff of contention and they can become ravenous. Witness the 109,062 fans — including only the second sellout of the season — who attended the three-game series against Minnesota Aug. 13 through 16.
It matters little that many are still getting to know this team. Autograph seekers waiting along the fence that surrounds the team parking lot at the Jake wondered aloud about the identities of some of the guys in street clothes at whom they were shoving hats, pens and balls.
"I think he just got called up from Buffalo," one fan remarked. "I bet he's just the batboy," some else offered.
Others are recognizable even without a scorecard. Every so often, a ripple of "Has Victor come out yet?" would make its way along the fence as someone new joined the crowd. Fans seemed to be on a first-name basis with Travis (that's Hafner, not Fryman), Omar, Casey and Coco, too. When the players emerged from the stadium, kids scampered to vantage points closer to their parking spaces, barking out their names.
No one anticipated this. It's like trying sushi for the first time and discovering the unappetizing raw fish you expected is really yummy — an unexpected combination of flavors, colors and textures.
Sure, September's when we'll really know if this team has the chops make some noise in October. But right now, don't mind me if I order another helping.
With more than 660 online votes (as of Aug. 16) to determine your favorite marketing campaign for the city of Cleveland ("No Plums Allowed," August 2004), Liggett-Stashower's "Moses the Downtown Dog" was ahead by a nose. That's not surprising, considering the poll was taken during the "dog" days of summer in a town famous for its Dawg Pound.
But the competition was barking at Moses' heels. Marcus Thomas' "Explore Cleveland" campaign trailed by a mere five votes with the others not far behind.
We'll have final results in an upcoming issue.
Cleveland Magazine did some winning of its own this summer. The magazine earned 16 awards overall in the Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards presented by the Press Club of Cleveland, including a second-place honor for Best Magazine.
We'd like to congratulate the editors, writers, photographers, artists and designers who make that possible.
First-place winners in the Magazine and Open Print categories included News: Erick Trickey for "Aaron Phillips' Deal with the Devil"; Features-Consumer: Jennifer Bowen, Jennifer Haliburton and Colleen Mytnick for our November cover story, "Top Spas"; Public Service/ Investigative: Colleen Mytnick for our February cover story, "Brainstorming Cleveland," and Technology Writing: Erick Trickey for "The NASA Files." Also, in Print Visuals, reporter Richard Rainey and illustrator Jim Kopp took home first-place honors for "Meet the Lake" in the Infographics, All Other Publications category.
Second-place and honorable-mention winners in the Magazine and Open Print categories included News: Colleen Mytnick, Lynne Thompson, Jim Vickers and Erin Ward for "The Lighter Side of the Dark"; Features-Personality Profile: Kathleen Murphy Colan for "The Columnist and the Congressman"; Features-General: Jacqueline Marino for "Women of the Cloth"; Features-Consumer: Colleen Mytnick and Dalia Wheatt for our December cover story, "Quiet Renaissance"; Public Service/Investigative: Cleveand Magazine staff for our June cover story, "Rating the Suburbs"; Departments or Columns: Jim Vickers for "CityLife"; and Single Essay: Richard Osborne for "Before the Storm."
Second-place and honorable-mention winners in the Print Visuals and Photography categories included General Photo: Multiple Images: Nannette Bedway for "A Shot and a Bar"; Portrait/Personality Photography: Steve Vaccariello for "Mr. Football"; and Multiple Illustrations/ One Story - All Publications: Matthew Vincent for "Rock and a Hard Place."
The magazine also took home accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists in the under-100,000 circulation category.
First-place winners included Best Public Journalism: Colleen Mytnick for "Brainstorming Cleveland" and Best Religion/ Values Coverage: Jacqueline Marino for "Women of the Cloth." Erick Trickey also took home a second-place award in the Best Criminal Justice Reporting category for "Aaron Phillips' Deal with the Devil."
Correction: Real estate agent Sue Mayher works in Realty One's Strongsville office, not Avon as was listed in our Dream Makers awards listings.