Cleveland Indians to hold open tryouts in Goodyear, AZ

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Mar 8, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians look on from the dugout prior to a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In a surprise press release early this morning, the Cleveland Indians announced that they will be holding open tryouts in their Goodyear, Arizona facility for anyone interested in trying to make the team. While it seems likely that anyone who impresses the Tribe’s scouting team would be slotted into one of the lower levels of the minor leagues, it worth noting that this announcement coincides with a battle for the final opening day roster spot. GM Chris Antonetti issued the following statement:

"“We are always looking for new methods of finding a competitive advantage over the larger-market teams. Sometimes that includes thinking a bit outside the box. Furthermore, we are thrilled to offer this opportunity to our fans.  Our commitment to rebuilding our relationship with the Cleveland community has never been stronger.  These tryouts, the recent renovations to Progressive Field, and an increase in dollar dog nights are just a few ways of showing it.”"

While this may seem more like a publicity stunt than anything else, there are a few deeper implications that come with this news. For example, there is certainly a very small chance that the Indians could discover the baseball version of Vince Papale, but it’s also evident that these tryouts will draw fans to Arizona for a few days, helping increase attendance figures at the few remaining Cactus League games. Is it possible that the Indians are trying to supplement attendance figures that ranked second to last in all of baseball by drawing more revenue from spring training games?

If we look even further below the surface, this seems like a cry for help from a farm system that was ranked in the bottom half of baseball for several years in a row. The mass tryouts may be a cost-effective method of supplementing the talent in the low minors with a few new prospects who happened to be pretty good on their middle-school baseball teams.

“I’m excited to see the results of these tryouts,” remarked manager Terry Francona. “The Cleveland fans have been clamoring for a premium right-handed power bat for some time. Maybe now these d***heads will finally realize how difficult it is to hit a home run off of a major-league pitcher”.

The Indians have held similar (albeit less publicized) tryouts in the past, through which they were able to discover talents such as Scott Barnes, Juan Diaz and Cord Phelps. They hope that these tryouts will be somewhat more successful.

Indians farmhand Bryan Price will be on-site to throw out live batting practice on the day of the tryouts. When approached for comment, Price looked a bit shaken up and fearfully hinted that the organization threatened to cut him if he can’t get some goddamn outs for a change.  He didn’t seem thrilled about his chances against any old scrub who could pick up a baseball bat. 

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Former Indians closer Chris Perez, still in a frantic search for a job, begged former pitching coach Mickey Callaway to allow him a chance to try out via a series of texts with excessive amounts of smiley emojis. When informed that all in attendance would need to pass a drug test, he replied “nvm” and quickly fell out of communication.

The Indians organization has released a set of criteria for fans they’d most like to see at these tryouts. If you fit the bill for any of the following, the Tribe scouting team has an increased desire to see you come out and give it your all.

-Fans who complain to their friends that the Indians aren’t any good
-Fathers who drink and unleash expletive-laced tirades at their TV screens claiming that a certain player sucks
-Dissenters who think baseball players make way too much money “just to swing a bat or throw a ball”.
-Clevelanders who just want a better baseball team and would do anything to have one (short of actually buying a ticket and going to a game)

The tryouts were scheduled to take place approximately eight minutes after the time of the press release.

Happy April Fool’s day, everyone!

Next: Progressive Field renovations nearing completion

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