Cleveland and Progressive Field —home of the Cleveland Indians — are basking in the spotlight as the hosts of this year’s MLB All-Star Game on July 9.
Among those who help provide a fun experience at Indians’ games are two energetic, engaging young Catholic adults — Gabriella Kreuz and Eric Mayer — who work in the Indians’ Live Experience Department. During games, they travel throughout the ballpark interacting with fans on camera, through games, the popular T-shirt toss and the Hot Dog Derby race.
Eric, a member of Holy Martyrs Parish in Medina, is a 2009 graduate of St. Edward High School in Lakewood. He earned a degree from The Ohio State University and two master’s degrees from Ohio University. This is his fourth year with the Tribe. He partners with Gab for the weekend games since he works as an insurance risk adviser during the week.
Gab, a 2010 graduate of St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland, has a communications degree from John Carroll University and a master’s degree from Syracuse University. The Kreuz family belongs to St. James Parish in Lakewood. Gab said she often attends Mass at the Poor Clares’ shrine in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.
In addition to her work with the Indians, Gab founded a nonprofit in 2014 called “Love Doesn’t Shove.” The organization is dedicated to educating the community about the dynamics of healthy relationships as a means to end teen dating violence and promote a safer, happier society. The mission grew from an abusive relationship experience Gab had in college. She shares the message with a variety of audiences, including middle school, high school and college students.
Gab also does freelance work with SportsTime Ohio, feature segments for a local television station and some television commercials. “But the Indians are my priority during the season,” she said, adding she’s never missed a game.
On game days, Eric’s specialties are the Hot Dog Derby and the T-shirt toss. Gab can be seen on the scoreboard with fans who play the Tribe’s version of “Deal or No Deal” by opening cases to see what prize they will win, as well as other segments.
They arrive at Progressive Field 3-3.5 hours before game time to prepare, including researching players — and name pronunciations — for pieces that are shown on the huge scoreboard, baseball highlights, the Chick-fil-A “Spot the Cow” segments and other fun, fan-engagement pieces.
“We follow a script that has us moving around the stadium throughout the game,” Eric said.
If there’s a rain delay, Gab said they shift locations every 15 minutes in an effort to keep the fans engaged while waiting for play to resume. They also visit the children’s play area during games.
“Fan engagement is a big focus for the organization,” Gab added.
Eric’s family includes parents Jim and Janice and siblings Ryan and Laura. Eric and Ryan are the only brothers to have been chosen as St. Edward High School’s Man of the Year, the school’s top award, which is presented each spring to a graduating senior, Jim pointed out proudly.
Gab’s family includes her parents, Kevin and Nada, and sisters Lindsay and Breanna.
Both said they celebrate their Catholic faith and appreciate the sacrifices their parents made to ensure they received a Catholic education.
“My mission of service takes shape every day in a different way,” Gab said.
“My Catholic upbringing prepared me for life and taught me a strong work ethic,” Eric added. “I know it was a sacrifice for my family (to send him to Catholic schools) and I am so grateful.”
This story is featured in the July-August edition of Northeast Ohio Catholic Magazine. Click HERE to read the entire digital edition.