The Indians announced that they’re going to hold a FanFest-type event called TribeFest on January 19-20. Many other teams hold FanFests, which allow fans to go the the ballpark a bit before Spring Training, meet some poplar players, see the home team clubhouse and indoor batting cages, and generally get fired up for the new season.
Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Vinnie Pestano, Carlos Santana, and the ubiquitous “many more” are scheduled to be there to sign autographs, take photos, answer fan questions and conduct youth baseball clinics with the fans in attendance. There were some rumors during the Winter Meetings that the Mets were interested in Pestano. If he’s listed as appearing at this event, it sounds like he’s not going anywhere, which is as it should be.
New manager Terry Francona is also scheduled to be there, as well as “Indians alumni.” No names mentioned, but former players you actually like apparently do come back to visit. Late last summer, Stephanie and I had the chance to watch a game from the Indians Social Suite. An Indians employee came out to the balcony where we (and some other folks) sitting and asked if we’d like to meet Chad Ogea and Mike Jackson. Sure!
Details about TribeFest per the Indians press release:
Saturday and Sunday, January 19 & 20
Runs from 12:00-6:00 p.m. each day
Access through Gate A, all events held indoors near the players and coaches areas on the service level of Progressive Field.
Tickets go on sale today at 10:00 a.m. ET and are $10. They can be purchased online, at the Progressive Field box office, or at any Indians Team Shop. There are a limited number of tickets available for the event. If you buy tickets in advance, kids 12 and under get in free (limit two kids). In addition, the first 100 fans to purchase tickets to each day (200 total) will receive complimentary parking in the Gateway East Garage and a free Indians t-shirt. More information at: Indians.com/TribeFest.
Given the dismal results of the last few seasons, it’s understandable that many fans are feeling ambivalent about the team and might stay away. There are three reasons why I’m going:
1) The front office made the smart move of hiring a respected, talented manager in Terry Francona. Even with two slam-dunk candidates, there were moments when I thought for sure the front office would screw up the manager search. But they didn’t. Francona raises the bar both for the current roster and potential free agents.
2) During the last two or three Winter Meetings, the Indians have shown up in body but not in mind. They didn’t do anything. While no major deals came out of this year’s Winter Meetings, the Indians made serious plays for some bigger name free agents. It seems as though the front office is finally making an attempt to fill the gaps in the roster. While I’m undecided on the Mark Reynolds signing, they made a legitimate bid for Shane Victorino and have offers out to Kevin Youklis and Nick Swisher. They’re trying.
3) I keep hoping that my favorite Indians player of all time, Andre Thornton, will show up at one of these Indians fan events.
Eternally optimistic? Yeah, probably.