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Indians president Mark Shapiro: If you only care about winning, don’t renew your season tickets

Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro has been facing some criticism over comments he made on a local TV station recently in response to an angry season ticket holder’s email. The fan asked Shapiro to give him a reason to renew his tickets for 2013, and Shapiro told the fan “don’t come” if his only reason for going to games is to see the team win.

Not exactly the brightest thing a team president can say to a frustrated customer, so Shapiro attempted to clarify his response on Tuesday. He did not do a very good job.

“I told him if the sole reason, the only reason, for renewing is predicated on us winning, then they shouldn’t come,” Shapiro said according to Bruce Hooley of ESPN Cleveland. “I stand by that. Baseball has to mean more than just being a fan when you win.

“No where are we spending more of our time, more of our energy or more money in trying to win. We all understand that the single-most important thing in baseball is winning and losing. But we are always going to have cycles to when we can win.”

Once again, not the brightest thing for a team’s president to say. Some personal seat licenses belong to people with businesses who don’t care about the team or rich people with so much money they need to find ways to spend it. But many season tickets are sold to people whose sole reason for opening up their wallets each season is that “this could be our year.”

Is there more to going to a ballgame than seeing your team win? Of course, and season ticket holders know they are going to see plenty of losses each season no matter how good there team is. That being said, the idea is to win. If you don’t think your team has a shot at the postseason and you aren’t made of money, why not save a few grand?

Fist pound to Hardball Talk

Mat Latos implies Indians were relaying signs from second base

Pitchers Mat Latos and Derek Lowe opposed each other for the second time in a week, and much like their last game, a controversy ensued.

The Indians beat the Reds 10-9 on Monday in the first of a three-game series in Cleveland, and Latos thinks some funny business was going on.

The Reds starter got hammered for seven runs including three home runs over four innings, and he implied after the game that Indians base runners were relaying signs from second to the batter.

“I was a little up in the zone. I thought I made some good pitches that they spit on with a runner on second base. I suppose it was kind of ironic. We changed up the signs, for the last hitter unfortunately,” Latos told the media, unprompted, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. “The outcome changed when we changed up the signs today.

“I’m going to go back and look at video. A couple [times with] runners on second base, they put better swings on the ball than they did most of the time without a runner on second base. [Shin-Soo] Choo hit that double and then [Asdrubal] Cabrera was up [in the fourth]. Me and [catcher Ryan] Hanigan changed the signs up. He called for a slider. We were going with a certain call. That certain call we were going with beforehand was a curveball. I threw a slider and he was looking breaking ball and was jammed on a slider. That to me shows me a little something. Other than that, I was up in the zone. I made a couple of bad mistakes and they hit them.”

When pressed about his implication that the Indians were relaying signs from second, Latos didn’t back down.

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Indians Pitch in for Private Plane to Get Jack Hannahan to Son’s Birth

When we see guys like Carlos Zambrano walking out on teammates and David Ortiz throwing a fit because an RBI was taken away from him, it becomes tough not to stereotype pro athletes as selfish people.  Moments like those can make us lose sight of the selfless acts that players commit. What the Indians did for teammate Jack Hannahan earlier this month deserves recognition.

With the Indians stuck in Boston on a road trip, Hannahan received a call from his agent that his wife, Jenny, was having contractions and was possibly going to go into labor in a few hours.  Jenny had already been having some complications with her pregnancy and was told her baby could be born anytime, despite the fact that she was in her third trimester.  The earliest flight Hannahan’s agent, Joe Speed, could book for him back to Cleveland was the following morning.  The only other option was to book a private jet, which would cost $35,000.  Spending that much wasn’t an option for Hannahan whose salary is $500,000.

When teammate Justin Masterson overheard what was going on, he ordered Hannahan to have his agent book the flight.  According to the Pioneer Press, Jack was hesitant but Masterson insisted.  After the game the entire team chipped in and quickly came up with $35,000 and sent Hannahan on his way to the airport.

Hannahan arrived at the hospital in Cleveland at 3 a.m. and his son was born just 15 minutes later.  The birth was premature but Speed says Hannahans wife and son, John, are both doing fine.  Don’t worry — stories like that are supposed to give you goosebumps.

Chris Perez Throws Ball Over Center Field Fence (Video)

What will Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez do the next time he blows a save if this is how he feels about giving up a run during a 7-3 victory?  Maybe we should just assume that Perez was embarrassed to give up a run Tuesday night to a team the Indians beat 19-1 on Monday.  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  Check out the video of Chris Perez throwing the ball over center field, courtesy of The Dugout Sports Show via Deadspin:

Easy, killer — you’ll throw your arm out.

Indians Turning Progressive Field into Snow Days Amusement Park

The Cleveland Indians haven’t done too many things right this year on the field. Credit them for getting something right off of it.

Even though their latest project could upset the purists who don’t like seeing mounds destroyed for soccer games and the like, the Indians are getting innovative by unveiling plans to run a winter amusement park at Progressive Field during the offseason. The team is calling the new plan “SnowDays” and beginning it on November 26th, and running it through January, 2011 at the least.

They’ll be offering a snow tubing hill, a quarter mile ice skating track, a skating rink, and a snow mountain as part of their activities. Basic admission will be $5 while a full access pass is $25. I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty darn cool and exactly like the type of thing I would have loved to do as a kid.

Cleveland Indians: last in the AL Central, first in innovation and creativity.

Indians and Red Sox Clear Benches

The Boston Red Sox are a pretty frustrated bunch and understandably so.  As if they haven’t already been bitten hard enough by the injury bug this season, they lost Kevin Youkilis on Monday night to a hand injury.  Perhaps it was some of that frustration that prompted the fight that took place between the Red Sox and Indians on Tuesday night when the benches cleared.

Josh Beckett has a tendency to work inside, but the Indians seemed to think it was hardly a coincidence when he hit Shin-Soo Choo on the knee after he’d been hammering the Sox in the series.  That, along with a curveball that slipped out of Beckett’s and soared over the head of Shelley Duncan, inspired Cleveland’s pitchers to start throwing behind the Red Sox hitters, which they did first with David Ortiz and then Adrian Beltre.  The pitch behind Beltre resulted in the benches being cleared.  Check out the Red Sox and Indians team fight video:

Video: Indians/Tigers Brawl, Gary Sheffield and Fausto Carmona Fight!

If there’s one player in MLB you don’t want to mess with, it might be Gary Sheffield. The guy’s got a short fuse and already looks mean enough at the plate. He’s someone you don’t wanna piss off. Well, Fausto Carmona apparently could not care less, because after giving up a home run, he responded by brushing Sheffield back and nicking him with a pitch. The following brawl between the Tigers and Indians was the result. My advice is to watch with the sound down — you’ll enjoy it much more that way.

Thanks to contributor Gene for the tip. I think the best part was when Sheffield carried the bat the entire way down the first base line. How classic was that? I’m telling you, Sheff’s a guy you don’t wanna mess with. Fausto clearly wasn’t intimidated. Can you believe how steamed he got? I also liked Sheff’s explanation for the fight:

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