Tuesday, September 18, 2012


After performing the National Anthem for the Cleveland Indians back in June, I thought it was pretty awesome that I had been given more opportunities than I ever imagined (3 in the season at that point).  After my first performance, I thought I might get one additional chance during the rest of the season, similar to what I had in 2011.  In June, I thought I might get one more chance during the season since there were still several months left.  Even so, I didn't expect anything, so was still presently surprised when I got called back in August to perform at the August 6th game against the Minnesota Twins.  Four times in one season?  Awesome!  Well, imagine my surprise last week when I got called to sing for a 5th time this season at the September 16th game against the Tigers.  At the time I was in Indiana visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews, so was glad the date they asked me for was a date I would be back in Kent.  Like every other time I've sung since that first time in April, I was wonderfully surprised to hear from the Indians!

I have been very fortunate not only in being asked to come back by the Indians this many times, but being available for the dates they have asked.  During the run of This is Kirtland! this summer, I was a bit worried I'd be asked to sing on a day I had a show.  I figured my 100% acceptance rate was a factor in them asking me again, something that was confirmed a bit when I sang on September 16th.  When I arrived on the field, I was told by the staff that I have the nickname of "old reliable".  When the guys (I believe it was the announcer and scoreboard operator) asked who was singing the anthem for that game. that's all they said.  They knew exactly who "old reliable" was ("Oh, Jon Ridinger.").  Too funny, though gratifying at the same time. Fortunately, I wasn't called to sing during the TIK run, though my June 16th and August 6th performances were sandwiched around the run (July 6-24).  When I came down on the field for this most recent game, it was also different in that I didn't meet someone from the Indians' staff to escort me to the field.  I simply walked down to the field and the ushers knew who I was ("Oh, you're Mr. Ridinger") and let me in.  I even took my sister with me and the only thing anyone said is "oh, who is this?" so I introduced her.

Getting the mic from David Cantu, the guy in charge of coordinating the National Anthem among other duties
Waiting to sing...there were a ton of kids there because Sunday is "Kids' Fun Day" at Progressive Field...very cool program the Indians do where kids get to take the field and then the players come and join them!
On the scoreboard...
As I was finishing (you can see people already clapping and my right leg moving...)
Coming off the field feeling good about my performance :)

I was happy with my performance as evidenced by my smile as I walked back to where Katie was waiting.  Singing the anthem, as I've said before, never gets old for me.  I hope to continue doing it for the Tribe, even when they get good again and there are large crowds.  What a rush it would be for me to perform for a sellout or even a playoff game.  I also let them know I can do "God Bless America", which is performed during the 7th inning stretch for Sunday games.  Right now, they simply play the famous Kate Smith recording and then do "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".  The cool thing about "God Bless America" is that, for whatever reasons, they broadcast that as part of the game where the National Anthem is done while the TV guys are doing their pregame show and is thus not shown on TV.  The only time you see the anthem on TV is when it's something like a playoff game and they have some celebrity doing it.

Anyway, I'm planning on auditioning for the Cavaliers and Lake Erie Monsters (Cleveland's American Hockey League team that shares Quicken Loans Arena with the Cavs) this Saturday at the Q.  I auditioned for the Cavs and Monsters last year the same day I sang the anthem for the Indians.  I'd say the anthem for the Indians went much better than my audition for the Cavs.  Hopefully this year will be better.  Having a full NBA season will help too.  Hopefully I can get at least one Cavs game and then all I'll need to do is miraculously get a Browns game in the future.  As much as I'd like that, it's next to impossible since the Browns only have 8 home games per year (plus 2 pre-season exhibition games).

This is what I was talking about with the Kids' program the Indians do where a group of kids takes the field (with a full introduction from the announcer no less) and then the Indians players take the field with them.  I thought this was a cool picture.  I hope my kids and my nieces and nephews can do something like this!