Celebrity Softball Game Delivers Season-Avid Browns Fans | Sports
The Browns will open training camp on July 27, marking the official day one of the 2021-22 season.
Heather Stantial doesn’t buy it.
When she and her husband arrived at Classic Park early for their front row seats for the Jarvis Landry & Friends celebrity softball game on June 12, she dubbed the event the starting point for what she and all Browns fans hope for an unforgettable season.
“For me it’s like starting the football season,” said Stantial, who, with her husband, traveled to Eastlake from Cortland. “We made the playoffs (last year), we won our first playoff game and could have beaten Kansas City, and we’re starting the football season here.
“It’s the kick-off for us today.”
The Stantials were among the first fans to enter Classic Park when the gates opened at 2 p.m. It was two hours before the start of the home run derby and three hours before the start of the celebrity game itself.
But fans gathered at the Lake County Captains’ House to get a glimpse of a range of star-studded pro athletes – most of whom were from Cleveland Browns hometown.
The chants of “Here, Brownies, We’re Going” were answered loudly with “Woof, Woof” as fans waited for the festivities to begin.
“It’s exciting for us because we have a good team that we can’t wait to see,” said Dale Milano of Ashtabula, who was accompanied by his grandson Aiden for the day’s events.
Aiden, 8, said he hopes to get his shirt autographed by Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Fans lined up three to four people at the far end of the first baseline in hopes of getting autographs from the participants.
Browns fever was rampant and it was not until June 12.
Mansfield’s Joe Meyer sat on the first baseline with his friend Kevin Keesee from Elyria. Meyer wore a Jarvis Landry jersey, while Keese wore Mayfield’s number 6.
“I liked him when he was in Miami,” said Meyer of Landry. “He wasn’t a Browns player back then. But when they traded him he’s been my favorite ever since.”
Meyer and Keesee, sitting front row in foul territory, were hoping for a foul or two.
“I’m going to throw it away for it,” Keesee said with a laugh, nudging his boyfriend. “Its good.”
Kristian Brown from Berlin Heights ventured into Lake County wearing a Jerome Bettis Steelers jersey. He laughed when asked how his welcome went when he entered the building filled with Browns fans.
“I knew it was probably going to be tough, wearing that jersey and stuff,” he said. “After this year and Juju (Smith-Schuster) with his ‘Browns is the Browns’ commentary. But I have to represent my team all the way.
“You’re a little in rags, but you take it. With a rivalry, you take it.”
Brown was very analytical about the coming season. Although he said he hoped his Steelers had question marks, he praised the Browns on their offseason.
Keesee strongly agreed with this assessment.
“I hope so, man,” he said when asked if this was the year. “It looks like it. We beefed up the defense. That’s what we needed. The secondary was a bit shaky last year and we responded to that. The offense looks good. We score 30 points. per game. We just have to keep the other teams to have scored so many. “
Keesee predicted a 13-4 season, while Meyer went with a screaming 15-2.
Milano, a longtime Browns fan, has given the question a lot of thought.
“I think looking at the schedule, maybe we have a good chance at 12-5?” ” he said. “How does that sound for a good optimistic view?” “