October 2007 Issue
It’s hard to tell who’s having the most fun this mid-August morning during the Wiffle ball game in Bill and Linda Fogle’s back yard.
Is it the 75 or so kids running around the yard? Or is it the larger guy everyone came to see, who happens to be wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey with the No. 24?
“I’m a big kid at heart,” says Grady Sizemore, who signs autographs, poses for pictures, pitches to a few dozen kids and takes a few swings himself as the day’s guest of honor. “This was fun.”
The Fogle family of Westlake was selected as the winner of the Direct Energy “Backyard Challenge.” The Fogles hosted the Indians center fielder, who is one of the most popular athletes in Cleveland, for a Wiffle ball game.
Most of the neighborhood showed up, as did Mike Beck, vice president and general manager of Direct Energy, which serves more than 200,000 customers in Ohio. “I’m not a kid, but this is great,” Beck enthused. “My kid wanted to go to work with dad this morning.”
Linda entered her husband’s name for the contest online.
“I pretty much forgot about it,” says Bill as he looks out at his back yard/ballpark. “Nobody wins those things. When Linda called to tell me we won, I didn’t believe her.”
The Fogles were ready for Sizemore’s visit. Linda made a large sign that read “Welcome to Fogle Field.” Their three sons, Bobby, 8, Eric, 6 and Tommy, 3, got to meet an honest-to-goodness major leaguer who’s made the All-Star team twice and been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
“It was cool,” says Bobby. “He was really friendly and nice.”
Sizemore’s visit certainly gave the Fogle brothers the best What I Did on My Summer Vacation story.
“I can tell them Grady Sizemore came to my house,” Bobby says.