CLEVELAND– Indians fans got a temporary fix for their baseball craving on Saturday.
Thousands flocked to the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland for Tribe Fest.
Young fans spent time on the field with players, hit a few pitches in the batting cages and danced with Slider and the hot dogs, while more experienced fans listened in on question and answer sessions.
All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor was asked if his role on the team will change following the departure of a few Indians veterans.
“It doesn’t really change. I’m Francisco Lindor, regardless of where I am,” he said. “I’m going to help the guys who have 10 years or the guys who have zero days in the big leagues the same way… If I’m going to lead, it’s going to be by the way I do things, not grabbing guys and saying, ‘Follow me.'”
“He’s going to be a leader in the clubhouse, whether he likes it or not. I’m going to make him be a leader,” said reliever Dan Otero, while wearing a balloon hat.
The right-hander also addressed changes to the bullpen, calling it its own little family. He said it will take on a new personality and that comes with spring training. Like his fellow returning teammates, Otero said he was not happy with how last season ended.
There were a few new additions making their Tribe Fest debuts. Utility man Jake Bauers got a warm welcome and catcher Kevin Plawecki helped the kids with tee-ball. Many were happy to see the return of first baseman Carlos Santana.