Perhaps using the Green Monster as his guide, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona never had a problem finding Boston’s Fenway Park.
But Cleveland’s new manager had a tough time making his way to Progressive Field for the Indians’ home opener against the New York Yankees.
Call it an unintentional walk.
Francona said he got lost Monday making the two-block trek from his apartment to the ballpark. He’s living in downtown Cleveland during the season and plans to ride a small scooter he used during spring training in Arizona for the short commute to the park. But he decided to hit the streets on foot Monday morning and ended up needing directions to find his new workplace.
“I got lost three times,” he said. “Even when I got to the garage, two people who work here said, ‘Hey, do you know where you’re going?’ I was like, ‘Nope.’ ”
Fortunately for Francona, an Indians employee picked him up in a golf cart and got him to the stadium. Francona was overwhelmed by the assistance he received while encountering a few fans along the way.
“Cleveland is officially the nicest people I’ve ever met,” he said. “Everybody I did walk by said ‘Hello.’ That’s a little different than I’m used to.”
Francona said he always has preferred to stay as close as possible to where he works.
“I like being close to the ballpark, always have,” he said. “If I had my druthers on the road, I would rather stay in a motel next to the ballpark than have to drive a half-hour.”
Easy to see why. Had he driven his scooter to the park Monday, he might have ended up at Yankee Stadium.
Francona was looking forward to catching a ceremonial first pitch from his father, Tito, who played for the Indians from 1959 to 1964 — but he couldn’t find home plate.
Neither could starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who issued three unintentional walks and allowed seven runs in the Indians’ 11-6 loss to New York.
■ CONFIDENCE SPIKE — His confidence apparently soaring after scoring a career-high 17 points for Michigan in Monday’s NCAA title game loss to Louisville, freshman backup guard Spike Albrecht launched his longest shot Tuesday when he sent a tweet to Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton.
“Hey saw you at the game last night, thanks for coming out! Hope to see you again,” Albrecht wrote with a smiley face.
Now, THAT is a heat check.
■ YANKEE PANKY — A Google search for “Yankees box office phone number” will bring up a toll-free number once used by the New York Yankees that now belongs to a sex hot line.
As a service to our readers, we at Leftovers did a little investigative reporting and called the number: 800-913-9793.
“Welcome to America’s hottest talk line,” the recording says. “Guys, hot ladies are waiting to talk to you. Press 2 to connect free now.”
Not wanting to incur the cost of a box seat at Yankee Stadium, we hung up, unsatisfied with our research.
With 27 World Series titles, New York is familiar with happy endings, but a team spokeswoman said the number is an “idiosyncratic thing with Google” and is “not a Yankee issue.”
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL