Chris Antonetti, the assistant general manager of the Cleveland Indians, met with approximately 50 Cleveland Club Indians fans before the Indians game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D. C.
Antonetti talked above the stadium batting practice music for 30 minutes answering questions about the Indians and major league baseball in general. He told Club members that he thought the Indians' hitting was on track and that the farm teams were doing well. He noted that the Indians are looking for a left-handed relief pitcher.
Antonetti took about 20 questions. Some concerned the draft and how the ballclub advanced players from the Indians' farm teams. One question concerned first baseman Travis Hafner, whom Antonetti said the Indians are trying to re-sign.
Several questions concerned the major market vs. the minor market teams and the difficulty minor market teams have in offering large salaries. And he talked about breaking pitchers in, limiting them to 60 pitches in the first year and gradually letting them throw more in succeeding years. He discussed expanding Major League Baseball television packages both nationally and internationally and said he thinks that next season or the year following, the season's opener will take place in Beijing.
Anontetti said that attendance this year had been lower than in the past but that some of this probably owed to the excitement of the Cavaliers playoff and championship games. Now that these were over, the Indians expected attendance to resume its old levels.
Antonetti was filling in for General Manager Mark Shapiro, who was scheduled to meet with the Club but had to change his travel plans the day before the Indians flew to Washington.
The Indians game against the Washington Nationals marked the first time in 37 years that the Indians had played in the nation's capital. The Indians lost 4-1, but won the following night against the Nationals with a 9th inning rally.
Sitting with the Cleveland Club contingent was an American soldier wounded in the hand in Iraq. Club Vice President Bud and Obee Littin, whose family members could not come to the game owing to a schedule conflict, donated two tickets to the Walter Reed Family Assistance Center. The soldier and his father gratefully accepted the tickets and talked with Club members before and during the game. The young man was wounded when his Humvee was hit with explosives.