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Cleveland Indians World Series Run

Amanda and Corey Kluber with one of their biggest fans.

Amanda and Corey Kluber with one of their biggest fans.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

For the Indians, the road to the World Series traveled through the Cleveland VA

Some say it’s a coincidence but here at the Cleveland VA Medical Center we know the truth, if you want to get to the World Series, your first stop is with us. If you don’t believe us, take a moment to read about our season with Corey Kluber and the Indians.

Early this spring, the Cleveland Indians asked if their star pitcher Corey Kluber could come and visit with our patients and if we’d be willing to bring our Veterans to a few of the games throughout the season as a part of Manager Terry Francona’s “Friends of Francona” program.

During Corey and his wife Amanda’s first visit, we gave them an opportunity to learn more about the medical center, our services and the Veterans we treat. They met with some of our Veterans in the community living center, talking baseball and were quizzed on the prospects for the season.

Corey’s first visit inspired four more visits to the medical center, each one furthering his commitment to thanking our Veterans for their service. The daughter of one of our Veterans noticed through Facebook that Corey was visiting and asked us if we could make a special trip to see her dad, a long-time Kluber fan.  We were able to connect the daughter, her dad and Corey on his very next visit.  She shared a photo with us saying “Thank you so much, Dad is on cloud 9!! You made his life a little bit sweeter.  Can’t thank you enough!”

Each of Corey’s additional visits focused on a different patient population. Corey met with patients on our oncology floor, visited with some of our hospice patients, signed autographs and posed for photos with Veterans in our infusion clinic, and even met one of our special patients suffering from an ALS-type disease.  The patient is a huge baseball fan and loved getting to meet Corey.  As an extra special treat, Corey gave the patient his jersey and signed it.  We are pretty sure the patient will be wearing his Jersey during the World Series.

Corey’s last visit with us was a bit different than the first few. He brought Mr. Paul Dolan, the owner of the Indians with him.  Mr. Dolan came to show his support for Corey’s work with our Veterans and to learn more about the VA.  They met with Veterans in our PTSD support group, taking the time to answer questions and talk about their experiences on and off the field

Also during this season, thanks to the “Friends of Francona” program, six different groups of our Veterans got to enjoy an afternoon at the ball park. They were treated to a suite, refreshments, in-game announcements, and special recognition.  These Veterans had the time of their lives getting an opportunity to cheer on their “friend” Corey and the hometown team.

The excitement in Cleveland has continued into the playoffs for our Veterans and now the World Series. Bank of America and their partnership with Major League Baseball made it possible for our Veterans to attend each of the home playoff games, and now a few of our Veterans are getting to go to the World Series.  One of our Veterans going to Game 2 is bringing his granddaughter, she’s in the Army and scheduled to deploy soon.  Another one of our Veterans attending Game 1 was there in 1948, the last time the Indians won the World Series.

Corey and the Indians could have stopped at one visit, or one game, and Bank of America and Major League Baseball didn’t have to include our Veterans, but they did. Each visit and each game were special experiences for our Veteran patients.  Our Veterans will never forget meeting Corey Kluber the 2014 Cy Young Awardee and they will never forget being treated like the heroes they are at the games thanks to Manager Terry Frandona.

If you don’t believe we’re the key to the Indians’ success by hearing the story of our season, then just look at our record. Of the six regular-season games our Veterans attended, the Indians won four.  For the games following Corey’s visits to the VA, he has four wins and one loss.  The Indians also won each of their home American League Playoff games, games Veterans from the Cleveland VA attended.  Coincidence?  We think not!

We at the Cleveland VA appreciate the generosity of the Klubers, the Indians, Major League Baseball and Bank of America. Their generosity has improved the quality of life for our Veterans, making moments they will remember forever.  We will be cheering for Corey and the team all week as they take on the Chicago Cubs, also a great organization, supportive of our Veterans, but not our hometown team so please excuse the bias.  

Good luck Indians!

(Dates Corey Visited: April 20 – Won April 23 / May 6 – Lost May 9 /  June 1 – Won June 5 / August 3 – Won Aug 6 / September 7 – Won September 11)

(Dates Veterans Attended Games for Friends of Francona Program: May 15 – Loss / June 5 – Win / June 19 – Win / July 10 – Loss / August 21 – Win / September 4 – Win)

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