Indians fans, you can expect a move or two over the next 24 hours. This blog isn’t in the business of breaking stories, but rather covering them and I can tell you that RHP Virgil Vasquez was looking good in his travel clothes. Based on the hand shakes he was receiving, Virgil will be making his Pirates debut either Friday or Sunday. Vasquez was pulled from his Indians start after just one inning on Tuesday night to make sure he could pitch if need this weekend in Pittsburgh. It now appears he will be needed.
The Scranton and Lehigh Valley trips allow the players to stay in the two most historic hotels International League has to offer. The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton was built back in 1908 serving as one of the busiest railroad terminals in the East. In 1977 the six story historic landmark underwent a multi-million dollar makeover becoming the hotel it is today. The Hotel Bethlehem is the home for road teams when they play Lehigh Valley and it has been in its current form since 1922. The Hotel Bethlehem is registered with The Historic Hotels of America and stands in the same spot where the original ‘First House of Bethlehem” was built back in 1741. You can’t help but feel like you’ve been swept back in time when you walk the streets of this quaint historic town. There are numerous cafes along Main Street and I’ve noticed quite a few players enjoying lunch along the sidewalks. All of the players agree, the hotels give you a real sense of history, too bad their both HAUNTED…Dun-Dun-Dunnnnnh!
Let’s begin with the Lackawanna Hotel. I was first made aware of the ghosts back in 2006 by Gookie Dawkins who believed this place was haunted. Personally I’ve never come in contact with a ghost, but that doesn’t keep me from tossing and turing throughout the night. A current member of the Indians shared with the team three different ghost stories. I’m protecting his identity, but I’ll tell you the events took place while he was playing for another IL team. He says the 6th floor is where all the action is.
The player told us that one night around midnight three of his teammates were walking down the hallway on the 6th floor and encountered a ghost who last leaning over a railing. The railing overlooked the dinning room that was located six floors below. The three players stopped dead in their tracks and claim the ghost told them he was killed in a car accident. As he was talking to them, his head spun around 360 degrees. The ghost jumped over the railing and the baseball players sprinted to their rooms. As he was telling us this story we called BS. He claims the three guys who encountered the ghost were not drinkers, but some of the most Christian players on the team. All that tells me is they weren’t drunk, but still it’s hard to believe. The next story involved him.
On the same trip as the head spinning ghost, the current Indians player woke up at 2:00 am and thought he was having a seizure. He room was freezing cold and couldn’t move his arms because it felt like they were pinned down. He flexed and couldn’t move and feared his body was locking up. Then after 20 seconds or so he felt released and immediately broke out into a heavy sweat. He turned on all the lights and went into the bathroom and saw red marks on is forearms and biceps. For the next hour he sat on his bed with the lights on until his roommate came back from the bars. They switched rooms and to this day he believes he was held down by a ghost.
The third and final story came on a different road trip. Two Latin players were sharing a room on the 6th floor and while one of them was using the bathroom sink the lights went out. He didn’t think anything of it and turned them back on. A minute or so later the switch TURNED off. Now he was freaked and yelled for his rommy to come into the bathroom. He arrived laughing and took a swipe at the light switch to turn it on with “a little authority”. The lights turned on and then the switch turned off and on at a rapid pace. It went up and down for 10 seconds, but it could have been longer because they were running down the hallway searching for another room.
No one at the front desk was willing to discuss ghosts and I couldn’t get anything out of the bartenders or cooks. I was told by a former waitress at the Lackawanna that the basement and the 6th floors are haunted, but she says she never noticed anything. All we have are stories from baseball players which have me wondering if this is just baseball folklore. I can tell you several of the players believe the stories and when we arrived on Friday morning a pitcher moved his room assignment from the 6th floor to the 3rd floor. Personally, I think I want to believe there are ghosts because it makes the stay more interesting. Unfortunately, I can’t find any claims on the Internet and have to take the word of baseball players who are know for being the best of the best when it comes to practical jokes.
The Hotel Bethlehem is a different story, it’s haunted by Casper. There are reports of ghosts, but all of the stories online and from the hotel staff confirm friendly ghosts roam the 9th floor. Once a year the hotel will embrace the ghosts and offer a weekend package. The package includes a workshop on finding and recording ghosts, ghost tours through Bethlehem, and of course a complimentary bloody mary at midnight. I have not heard any stories, but a few guys will have to wait until Friday night to get a good night sleep.
If for whatever reason you have to visit Scranton, PA or Bethlehem, PA I do recommend the hotels. The staff’s are terrific and the historic feel the both offer creates a relaxing atmosphere. Don’t let a couple of ghost stories scare you away.
Pirates right handed starting pitcher Ian Snell has been optioned to Indianapolis. Here is the story from Jen Langosch. Wow, Snell was 11-3 with a 3.70 ERA with Indianapolis in 2005. That year he threw the only 9 inning no-hitter in Victory Field history on May 15 vs. Norfolk. Last year Snell signed a 3 year 8.6 million dollar deal with club options for 2011 and 2012.
The Indians lost 5-4 tonight against the Iron Pigs. Here is a picture of LH Donnie Veal warming up at Coca-Cola Park. Did you see who won the game for the Pirates tonight? Andrew McCutchen is becoming a Pittsburgh favorite just like he was a fan favorite in Indianapolis. His game winner came against my favorite team, but I’m thrilled for him and he is having a great start to his Major League career.
Virgil Vasquez is getting the start tomorrow night for the Pirates. Good luck to Virge and I hope you check Friday’s box score, even if you’re not a Pirates fan.