Tribe Fest gets team, fans pumped for spring

February 2nd, 2020

CLEVELAND -- For the third consecutive year, Indians fans packed into the Cleveland Convention Center for a chance to participate in games and interact with their favorite players.

Over 10,000 people stopped by the club’s eighth annual Tribe Fest event between 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Thirty-one Indians players reunited in downtown Cleveland to mingle with fans, sign autographs, play video games and participate in other baseball activities.

“This is [my] first one and I hope many, many more come,” said Indians outfielder , who was acquired at least year’s Trade Deadline, said. “I feel great. Just playing around with all those kids, all those friends, it’s great.”

Some young children between the ages of 6 and 12 had the opportunity to take some swings against the 6-foot-5 outfielder on the miniature “Field of Dreams” diamond in the center of the event space. Other players like , and joined Reyes on the field for some friendly competition.

As always, Lindor was a crowd favorite throughout the day, with flocks of people expressing their excitement that he is still wearing an Indians’ uniform despite the countless trade rumors that arose over the offseason. While it’s unknown what Lindor’s future with the club holds, he said the fans made sure to remind him just how much Cleveland appreciates him.

“Yeah, the fans are great. I love the fans,” Lindor said. “Like I said, I want to stay here. Cleveland is a home. Who knows? … Whatever God has for me, that’s what’s gonna happen. The fans have been great. I love the fans. They’re good people.”

Those in attendance had options to take swings in the batting cages, toe the rubber and get clocked by a radar gun, play video games against their favorite players, get their faces painted, purchase merchandise, listen to the Tribe’s mascot Slider put on a concert or take a seat at the main stage as players, coaches and members of the front office stopped by to chat.

But most importantly, fans had a chance to see the members of the Tribe away from the baseball field. Over the last few years, the Indians' roster has experienced a lot of turnover, and younger players like , , , , , , and were able to take advantage of personal interactions with fans just as they’re beginning to build their big league résumés.

“Just meeting everyone and getting to show a little bit of face with the fans,” Plesac said of his favorite part of Tribe Fest. “It’s awesome to interact with the young kids and see the jerseys they wear. Just being interactive with your other teammates, too. It’s a good time to kind of speak of who you are as an individual when people don’t see you as that all the time. They only see you as a player. So getting out to actually show individuality to the fans is, like, a super fun thing.”

For the past few years, Tribe Fest has been held in the middle of January. But with this year’s event taking place on Feb. 1, it built up even more excitement for Spring Training to get underway just two weeks later. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 11 with the rest of the team following behind them on Feb. 15. The first full-squad workout will take place on Feb. 17.