Today in the Terrace Club, the Indians had a town hall meeting for folks that have attended at least one game in the Social Suite. It was a way to get free lunch, and Mark Shapiro was going to field questions from the audience. As a season ticket holder, I get invited to these kinds of things every so often and I’m kind of burned out on them. It’s always the same – charming, perfectly-formed answers that don’t really provide any information beyond what you already knew. As much as I’m a fan of free food, I just didn’t have it in me to go to this one. Susan, who is less jaded and cynical than I, decided to go by her lonesome to make sure the blog was represented. (I should add that she’s also much more patient than I). We decided to do a point-counterpoint on this – I would try to guess the topics discussed and what type of answers folks would receive, while Susan will have a post on the actual event later today. I should add that I do honestly think this is a nice and intelligent gesture by the Indians, reaching out to folks in social media. At the same time, I feel like it’s a way to control the message and get some free canned-PR for different topics. (Not that it’s a bad thing to do that, just not necessarily something with which I want to be involved).
So here are my predictions on some of the topics/answers discussed:
– Left field/improving the team in general. This will basically be addressed as “we’re going to do everything in our power to improve the team before the trade deadline. If there’s a good deal that presents itself, nothing is off the table.” There will be no real information given for this, nor should there be necessarily. What are they going to say, “well, we offered the Red Sox X and Y for Kevin Youkilis, but they said no?” I already know that they’re going to do the best they can to improve the team at the trade deadline, even if I won’t necessarily agree with the decisions they make. What team goes out there and says, “I really want to make sure I screw this up as much as humanly possible.” They all try to do what they think is best for their team, even if it blows up in their face.
– The struggles of Ubaldo Jimenez. I doubt anyone will get any actual insight into Jimenez, and they’ll just say they are currently working with him to make sure he’s more consistent. The only remotely straightforward answer I’ve ever received from one of these town hall-fan type events is when I asked about Trevor Crowe last winter. I was told that he was viewed as a fourth outfielder at best.
– Attendance. Someone is going to ask why they think attendance is bad, and what can be done about it. There will probably be some excuses about the weather, and then they’ll say that people will come as the summer progresses if they realize this team is for real. A side note – when discussing the low attendance at Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, someone said that it was “too hot.” So in April and May it was too cold, and now that it’s summer, it’s too hot? Are Indians fans freaking Goldilocks all of the sudden? It can’t be too warm, it can’t be too cold…it has to be juuuuust right.
– What I would’ve asked about – Beau Mills. I know how this one would go though, just that it’s never an exact science in the draft and they’re giving Beau the opportunity to find success somewhere else. I asked at one of these in the past about bad drafts, and got a pretty substance-free canned answer about making the best decisions you can. Then the guy next to me loudly commented about how John Mirabelli had likely performed some type of sexual favors in order to maintain his job. For me, that ended up being one of the best moments in all of these town halls combined!
Maybe folks will get some actual insight this afternoon, or maybe it will be stuff they could have just guessed for themselves. At least they got free lunch, while I’m just cranky at my house with a cup of coffee and a barking dog!