Indians gather for photo in support of Aviles' daughter
Club wore special shirts and sported buzzed heads in honor of infielder's 4-year-old
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have wanted to make it clear to Mike Aviles that his family is not alone in dealing with their young daughter's battle with leukemia. That was certainly clear on Thursday, when people from throughout the organization gathered for a unique team photo at Progressive Field.
Wearing bright orange shirts and sporting buzzed heads, players, coaches and staff members from throughout the team's various departments sat together in the seats down the third-base line for the group shot. Each shirt has "Team Adriana" across the chest in honor of Aviles' 4-year-old daughter.
"More than anything," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said, "we all wanted Adriana to know that we're continuing to be there for here and with her as she continues to fight. And, that it's not just a moment in time, but we'll continue to be there not only to support Adriana, but the entire Aviles' family through her battle."
The photo was also a way for the team to do its part in raising awareness for cancer and, specifically, leukemia. The Aviles family learned in early May of Adriana's diagnosis and, following an early stint at the Cleveland Clinic, she has been continuing treatment while being able to be at home with her family.
During the team's recent road trip, Aviles said his daughter was showing improvement.
"She's doing better," Aviles said. "She's progressing and that's the good thing. She's progressing and that's why I was able to come back and start playing and feel more comfortable with her being at home with my wife and everything, and having the extra help at home and stuff like that. If it wasn't that way, then I'd probably still be there, obviously, because that's really important."
Earlier this month, Aviles shaved the head of team owner and CEO Paul Dolan, who joined in after the movement spread beyond the players. After coaches and staff members also began cutting their hair, Antonetti and members of the front office also followed suit. Some Indians fans have also posted photos on social media of their own buzzed heads in support of the situation.
"I think it's really cool," Indians outfielder David Murphy said. "I hope that she thinks it's pretty cool and a really big deal, because this is all for her. Raising awareness is awesome. The fans are getting involved and having fun with it. All the guys around the clubhouse are shaving their heads, members of the broadcast team are doing it, the training staff, the coaching staff, ownership. Everybody's coming through."
Indians manager Terry Francona said he has enjoyed seeing the support extend throughout the organization.
"It didn't surprise me at all," Francona said. "I think we all take what we're doing very serious. I don't think we take ourselves very serious. And, in this instance, it was a chance to show Mikey that beyond hits and errors and runs, we care about him and his family. It may be a silly way to show it, but I think the feeling is very legitimate and genuine."