CLEVELAND (WJW) – It’s time for pickup.
Hundreds of people lined up around Progressive Field, from the middle of Gateway Plaza down Ontario Street to Carnegie Avenue, to receive their Bob Feller statue bricks. Some were frustrated at the wait, some at the weather, but most were understanding of the situation.
The bricks, which were a fundraiser for the Bob Feller statue, have deteriorated over time. After being moved to their current location, the Guardians said they are no longer safe to walk over, so a change must be made.
“We’re making the best of the situation. We knew there was a lot of sentimental value from our fans. We’ve heard from the fans who have reached out,” Guardians Vice President of Communications Curtis Danburg said. “So, we’re doing the best under these circumstances to put the rightful bricks in the rightful owners’ hands today.”
Lifelong fan Ken Kleppel bought a brick to honor his late mother, Ruth Kleppel. He made sure to arrive early so he didn’t have to wait long.
“It was a nice place to memorialize her,” he said. “Then every time you’d come down to the ballgame we’d always come, me and now my grandchildren, and check the bricks. I’m sorry to see them go, but you understand. It’s 30-something years and they’re breaking up.”
Pam Elia bought her brick for her son, to connect him to his favorite Cleveland sports teams. She thought the brick would last much longer.
“I am very disappointed they are digging them up,” she said. “I wish they could have found a way to restore them.”
Removing the bricks is a delicate process, as the conditions vary. The Guardians staff took caution to make sure not to damage them, but couldn’t guarantee they would be removed without issue.
Even team owner Paul Dolan was helping folks locate their bricks.
For the most part people are just happy to have the bricks back. Mark Ludwig thinks being understanding is the best way to approach the situation.
“I understand. Yeah, they look like they’re in poor shape,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a great spot where they’re at right now, with all the traffic on there. I’m gonna take it home and put it in my garden somewhere as a memento.”
Brick pickup continues Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to noon. Those picking up are encouraged to arrive early to avoid getting stuck in a very long line.
If the bricks aren’t picked up, they will be photographed and put in a photo gallery before they are discarded. That gallery is expected to be live in the next few months.