Results tagged ‘ baseball ’
We are proud to have two candidates in the running for the MLB Fan Cave contest! We asked each of our candidates some questions to help you get to know them better and explain why they should represent the Cleveland Indians in the Fan Cave. Don’t forget to go vote for Jonathan here and follow him on Twitter @jlevey!
What is your favorite Tribe memory? Where were you and why does it stand out?
My favorite Tribe memory is when Tony Pena hit the walk-off home run with two outs in the 13th inning to win Game 1 of the 1995 American League Division Series versus the Red Sox. It gave me goosebumps as a fan, as it was the Indians’ first postseason win since the clinching Game 6 in the 1948 World Series. I was watching the game with my dad and stepmom. It was a school night so it was even more special to get to stay up late that night to witness the extra-inning heroics.
Who is your favorite Indians player of all time, and why?
My favorite Indians player of all time is Roberto Alomar, because I was a second baseman growing up and viewed him as an idol. Well, he was the best second baseman of his era, and I enjoyed every moment of his three seasons with the Tribe. I admired him so much that I went to Toronto in July 2011 to see the Blue Jays retire their first number, Roberto Alomar’s No. 12, one week after Alomar became the first Hall of Famer to be inducted as a Blue Jay.
There are two Indians fans as hopefuls for the Fan Cave. Why should fans vote for you? What makes you a great representative of the Cleveland Indians?
Fans should vote for me because I’m a fellow Clevelander and I’m a loyal, lifelong Indians fan. It would be a dream of an opportunity to be in the MLB Fan Cave and to represent the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians.
Can’t wait for Opening Day? For some Tribe fans, enjoying sunlit baseball games begins well before April. Spring Training is quickly approaching, with just eleven days until pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona.
TribeVibe had the chance to speak with Ryan Lantz, Manager of Spring Training Operations, on what makes a trip out to Goodyear such an awesome experience for Indians fans.
“First of all, the weather is incredible this time year,” Lantz explained. A quick peek at the forecast and sure enough, it’ll be sunny: in the mid-to-high 70’s.
“It’s also really the perfect time to get an up close and personal experience with the players, in a laid back atmosphere.”
The meet-and-greets and availability of the players lends to plenty of opportunities for fans to get autographs and interact with the team.
“Once the workouts start, one of the best opportunities to get autographs is 8:30-11:30 AM. Before the games, the place to be is down the first-base line. You can also come and catch BP on the major fields.”
TV also spoke with Tom Bowen, a huge Tribe fan and a regular at Spring Training who is excited for a relaxing vacation and to meet some of the new Tribe players.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the players up close, especially [Nick] Swisher,” Bowen said. “In the past, my wife and I got the chance to meet and talk with Justin Masterson a few times, who is just a really friendly, nice guy.”
Lantz and Bowen both love that all of the Cactus League ballparks are within a 45-minute drive, with most being twenty minutes or less, which is a huge draw for those who want to maximize the amount of games they can attend.
“It’s really nice to be able to see some of the other facilities and teams,” Bowen continued. “You can watch half of the league within a 45-minute drive, which is really convenient.”
As Lantz pointed out, Goodyear is also conveniently located for fans who would like to explore outside of the ballpark, with ample places for golf, hiking, shopping, etc. Sedona, Scottsdale, and Phoenix are nearby, and the Grand Canyon is less a than four-hour drive away.
“I’m looking forward to traveling up to Sedona and spending some time in the parks in Phoenix; it’s very scenic,” Bowen said.
If you’re interested in learning more about Spring Training or want to head out to Arizona yourself, indians.com/spring has all the information needed to get you on your way to Goodyear. The Indians travel partner Professional Travel has some great packages to fit any size family, vacation and budget.
“They are very helpful with the planning; they helped us book an extra day onto our six-day package, and accommodated my brother and his wife who are coming from San Diego. We can’t wait!”
— TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling
With the roster moves that came down the pipeline this morning, some of the biggest news of the day involved the announcement that Jack Hannahan would be the Indians’ starting third baseman to begin the season. Hanny was nice enough to share his reaction with TribeVibe and he also talked about getting off to a quick start after being sidelined for just over a week with a mid-back strain (2-for-2, 2 doubles yesterday vs. Milwaukee). Overall this spring, he is batting .300 (6-20) with 3 doubles, a home run and 5 RBI, while playing the kind of defense Jack has become known for.
Obviously decisions like these have ramifications for other players in camp and this one was no exception, as Lonnie Chisenhall was optioned to Triple-A Columbus where he will be the Clippers’ Opening Day third baseman and have the opportunity to receive regular playing time. Anytime a move is made involving one of the club’s top prospects it elicits a number of passionate responses from fans, but it’s important to maintain perspective and remember how the game of baseball has a way of teaching us all patience time and time again. At 23 years, 5 months and 23 days of age (as of March 27), Lonnie is currently the third-youngest player on the Indians 40-man roster. The only two players on the 40-man who have taken fewer trips around the sun are infielder Juan Diaz (23 years, 3 months, 15 days) and right-hander Danny Salazar (22 years, 2 months, 16 days) – incidentally, RHP Jeanmar Gomez is 4th-youngest (24 years, 1 month, 17 days). Like most other prospects their age, Juan and Danny finished the 2011 season at Double-A Akron and Low-A Lake County, respectively, while Lonnie spent the last 3 months of the year as the youngest member of the Indians Major League roster. To reiterate what Manny Acta touched on today, Lonnie’s been one of the youngest players at every level of his professional career thus far. As a 22-year-old, he batted .255 (54-212) with 13 doubles, 7 homers and 22 RBI in 66 games for the Tribe, which stirs up memories of another former Indian who debuted at the same position. As many will recall, Jim Thome originally came up with the Tribe at the hot corner before making the transition to first base. In 3 seasons between 1991-93, Jim combined to hit .244 (90-369) with 18 doubles, 10 homers and 43 RBI in 114 games at roughly the same age as Lonnie – Jim debuted with the Tribe as a 21-year-old in ’91 and turned 23 shortly after joining the club during the ’93 campaign. While we all remember the outstanding career Jim had during his time in Cleveland, it’s healthy to recognize and respect the hard work, learning and repetition that was required to build it.
(Kudos to Danny Steele of the Indians Baseball Information Dept. for research support)
Just 9 days until Michael Brantley and the rest of the Indians trade Arizona cacti for Ohio Buckeye Trees and return home to Cleveland for 2012 Opening Day…
With spring training in full swing, TribeVibe sat down with Ryan Lantz, the Indians Manager of Arizona Operations, to find out what really goes into running the Goodyear Development Complex. Lantz, a graduate of Champion High School (Warren, OH) and Ohio State, got his start with the Indians in 2001 and has been with the organization continuously for the last six years.
[Editor’s Note: Ryan was also responsible for developing the ill-behaved persona of Ketchup back in 2007 for the Hot Dog Race]
With the entire organization descending on your complex for almost 2 months, what types of preparations do you have to make to ensure that spring training runs smoothly?
“In a nutshell, my main responsibility at this time of the year is to make sure that the facility is running optimally for the six to eight weeks that everyone’s down here in Goodyear and there’s a lot to keep an eye on. Outside, we have six full-sized practice fields, two half-fields (typically used for infield drills), an expansive batting cage structure and an agility field. The building itself has two clubhouses (major and minor league), a large weight room, extensive athletic training and rehab facilities, two kitchens and a media center. Our job is to make sure that all of that is exceptionally maintained and operational before pitchers and catchers report in mid-February.”
Does your job change significantly during spring training (and how so)?
“It does because spring training is the one time of the year that you have people from virtually every area of the organization in one place at the same time. With both major league and minor league camp running simultaneously, we can have more than 400 people here at once as opposed to rest of the year when we may have a total of 100-150 run through the complex at various times from May through January. Beyond the operations of our complex, the scope of our focus must also expand to include what goes on down the street at Goodyear Ballpark. The Indians want to make sure we’re providing the best spring training experience possible for our fans during their visit so we work with the City of Goodyear to coordinate decisions related to ticket promotions, merchandising, concessions and parking.”
How is the Indians Goodyear Development Complex utilized throughout the rest of the year?
“We have about 10 months of programming at the facility so I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that we shut down when the Indians head back to Cleveland. We host our short-season Class A affiliate (Mahoning Valley) for extended spring training and then our Rookie League team for several months following the amateur draft in June. For our rookies, the Goodyear Development Complex is really their first introduction to the culture of Indians baseball. In Sept./Oct., the Indians player development staff holds a fall instructional league for a select group of minor league prospects. The complex also serves as our rehab headquarters for injured players at all levels.”
Your communication with the front office back in Cleveland seems like it might be extremely important. Who are you in contact with most frequently and what types of decisions do you coordinate with them?
“I report to Jerry Crabb, our Sr. Director of Ballpark Operations back in Cleveland, and we talk multiple times every week to make sure that we’re on the same page about what’s going on with the facility itself. I also speak to numerous people within our baseball operations department throughout the year to discuss issues that impact our player development programs.”
What types of skill sets are necessary to do your job well day in and day out?
“Obviously the ability to multi-task and the motivation to have a team-player mentality are both key. You’ve also got to have a proactive approach and a positive attitude to be able to push through when requests start piling up.”
Biggest challenge associated with your job:
“Staying organized and on top of the on-going tasks that pop up. When you have a fire to put out so to speak – a water pipe leaks or a piece of equipment breaks for instance – you have to know how to approach a problem and have the ability to think on the fly.”
Most rewarding aspect of your job:
“That I have the opportunity to work for a Major League Baseball team – these positions don’t open up very often and I don’t take that for granted.”
Something most people would never guess about your job:
“That I do, in fact, work more than 3 months out of the year!”
How did you get your foot in the door with the Indians?
“I was fortunate enough to be hired by the Indians marketing & special events department for an internship position between my junior and senior years at Ohio State and I formed a lot of great relationships while I was there. The Cleveland Cavaliers gave me my first job out of OSU and spent two years in their sales department before I had an opportunity to come back to the Tribe. I accepted a role that allowed me to assist in the operation of the Indians’ spring training facility during our final three years in Winter Haven, Florida and when we moved to here to Goodyear, that transformed into the position I have now.”
Advice you would give someone trying to begin a career in MLB/professional sports:
“When you’re starting out, internships are key and the more of them you’re able complete while you’re in college or just out of school, the better off you’re going to be. Take advantage of whatever opportunities you’re afforded – whether that’s a job with a Single-A club or a major league team – and make sure that you’re being a team player when someone does hire you. No job is too small; I still walk around the grounds and pick up trash because we’re all responsible for the condition of the complex.”
Someone who significantly influenced your career: “Ken Stefanov (Indians Sr. VP of Finance & CFO) – he was my first boss with the Indians and taught me a lot.”
Something you miss about living in Cleveland: “Spending time with family and friends sticks out the most – that and getting to see the Indians play at Progressive Field on a regular basis.”
A Book worth reading: How to Win Friends & Influence People – “That was one of the first books I read as part of the sales team with the Cavaliers and it had an impact on my life as far as treating others the way you’d like to be treated.”
A movie worth seeing: Moneyball – “I think it did a pretty good job of portraying our industry for people looking to gain a better perspective of how the game works on the inside…plus one of the opening scenes depicted the Cleveland front office, which I thought was pretty neat.”
A person’s leadership style that you admire/would like to emulate: “I love presidential politics so I’m going to say Ronald Reagan. I was still a kid in the Eighties and didn’t have many first-hand impressions of his presidency, but I’ve read several books about his life. He seemed very outgoing in his leadership style with people, but also set and stuck to a very clear agenda while he was the governor of California and during his time in the Oval Office.”
What keeps you balanced when you leave the ballpark? “My wife Lisa, we’ve been married for 5 years and she keeps everything in perspective.”
“For me, broadcasting the game is like sitting in the stands talking to the fellow sitting next to me.” – Herb Score
With the true spirit of Herb Score in mind, we want you sitting next to us too, so to speak. As we begin yet another season of The Great Game, the Cleveland Indians front office is thrilled to introduce you to TribeVibe, a brand new MLBlog on Indians.com. We’ve had so much success connecting with all of you through the Indians Facebook page and our Twitter accounts (@Indians, @TribeInsider ) that we decided to take that a step further and create TribeVibe as a way for fans to gain even better access to information about the Cleveland Indians.
The goal of TribeVibe is simple – to give you an inside perspective of what it’s like to be with a Major League Baseball team for a full season. That means different things to different people in this industry, so we want to make a concerted effort to show you the game through a variety of lenses.
Naturally, our focus will be on what you care most about – the team – and frankly it’s an exciting time to be following the Indians. We embark on the 2012 season with the opportunity to watch a young group of athletes as they grow together and tackle the daily challenges that come with learning how to win on a consistent basis. This club has also been constructed with several respected veterans who are in place to set a positive example, offer advice and provide perspective as this process unfolds. Throw in the outstanding leadership qualities of Manny Acta and we can’t wait to help you get to know this group of players and coaches even better. Let’s face it, the camaraderie and comedy that exist in a major league clubhouse make it a pretty special place and we think we’ve come up with some creative features that will allow us to have a little fun and highlight the unique personalities who represent the Block “C”.
TribeVibe will also be geared towards helping you keep up with the Indians when they’re away from home and that will begin immediately with the latest news from spring training as the 25-man roster begins to take shape in our final days here in Arizona. We hope that all fans have the opportunity to visit the Tribe in Goodyear, Arizona at some point, but in the meantime TribeVibe will bring the Cactus League action straight to you. Once the season starts, you’ll see this concept transition into road trips as we stow readers away in our carry-on luggage and provide a glimpse into the daily grind of leaving the comforts of Progressive Field and Cleveland behind.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ll take you inside the front office to keep you informed of the latest decisions made by our Baseball Operations Department and coaching staff – TribeVibe can be your source for official press releases, injury news and even pre-game lineup cards. Along the way, we can also provide information that will make transaction rules and the thought process behind certain types of roster moves easier to comprehend. The complex strategies involved account for just a few of the reasons that we all share a love and passion for America’s Pastime.
While the Indians Baseball Information Department will serve as the primary voice of TribeVibe on a day-to-day basis, you may also hear from people like Indians President Mark Shapiro, General Manager Chris Antonetti and Senior VP of Public Affairs Bob DiBiasio from time to time. These respected executives, along with more than 150 employees, have and will continue to shape the culture of an organization that cares deeply about bringing championship baseball back to the city of Cleveland. We’re all very excited to be sharing this brand new forum with you so please don’t hesitate to leave comments or contact us directly – if you have suggestions for the types of features you want to see more of in this space, shoot us an email at TribeVibe@indians.com and we’ll do our best to incorporate them going forward.
Welcome to TribeVibe, we’re glad you’re here!