Cleveland Indians: Does Cleveland have a giveaway curse this season?

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Do the Cleveland Indians have a giveaway curse this season?

Early in the 2021 season, the Cleveland Indians were able to welcome back fans to Progressive Field and soon 100% capacity was granted as well. With that, came the first promotional schedule since 2019 for the club to increase interest in game attendance with incentives. However, while the promotions have put fans in the seats have they placed a curse on the players involved?

When it comes to curses, fans of Cleveland sports are no stranger. Whether it be the 1997 or 2016 World Series that saw the Tribe on the cusp of breaking their title drought or the heartbreaking losses of the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs, the city is rather familiar with sports curses. This one, though, might be the most unique.

On May 18, it was announced that Progressive Field would be opened to 100% capacity beginning on June 2. With that, the club pushed out the promotional schedule that began with an opening weekend of sorts on June 11-13, running a different promotion each day to welcome fans back into the stadium in full force.

On that list of promotions there were plenty of well known names, both past and present, as well as more generic deals. From Dollar Dogs and fireworks to bobbleheads, the marketing staff of the Cleveland Indians was more than ready.

Some of the names on the list are from the rich history of the club. July 3 is set to be a Bob Feller 1940 jersey giveaway and August 28 will be a 1920 jersey promotion with no specific player featured. The rest of the season will see five current player giveaways, featuring four players with three of them having already been announced. Of the three announced, all three players have hit the injured list since May 18 when the promotions were released.

The first player promotion was Roberto Perez. Now, Perez hit the injured list on May 5, before the announcement, but he was moved to the 60-day injured list less than a week after on May 23. On the 10-day injured list, Perez would have been back in the lineup for his bobblehead giveaway on June 12, but the move to the 60-day list meant that the bobblehead had a better shot at playing than the player.

Perez is now on-track to return in the near future, but he wasn’t on the field when his giveaway was featured and it was only a few days after the announcement that his timetable for return was pushed back. Now, he’s only one player and that doesn’t mean there’s a curse.

On the same day that Perez was moved to the 60-day IL, another player featured in the promotional list hit the injured list as well. Just five days after the promotional schedule was released, Franmil Reyes went down with his oblique injury.

While the Cleveland Indians are set to have three bobblehead giveaways and three jersey giveaways, only one of the jersey promotions is of a current player, and that’s Reyes. On July 24, the Tribe will be giving away 12,500 Reyes jerseys. Now, Reyes should be back in the lineup by then, but it’s still the fact that he was injured within a week of his promotion being announced.

We just mentioned that the club is doing a total of three bobbleheads this year. While the first was of Roberto Perez, the other two will both feature Shane Bieber. July 10 will be from him winning the All-Star MVP in 2019 and August 21 will be his Cy Young Award. While Bieber survived the longest of the trio in terms of staying off the injured list, his performances on the mound might say something different.

In his first start after the announcement, Bieber allowed three runs and struck out a season-low six batters in one of just three no decisions this season. He bounced back in his next start, but since then he has allowed at least one run in each game and hasn’t struck out more than eight batters in a start, which is low for his standards.

After giving up five runs to Seattle, Bieber fell to the fate of the two before him and ended up on the injured list. Let’s just hope double the giveaways doesn’t mean double the time missed.

There’s only one player on the Cleveland Indians roster this season that is set to have a giveaway that has avoided the injured list. While the design of his T-Shirt to be given out on September 11 hasn’t been announced yet, Jose Ramirez is still healthy (knock on wood).

Like the Madden curse, this one is nearly impossible to prove other than pointing a finger and looking at stats. However, it is interesting to see the relation between a giveaway and the player involved getting injured. Could it be that the team’s best players are featured and they just happen to be the ones getting injured as well? Absolutely. Is it fun to dive way too deep into something to find a common ground? Of course!