Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Indians Front Office to Rely on Message Boards in 08

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians, considered around Major League Baseball as a budget-minded organization that champions value, has decided to shift personnel evaluation from their scouts - to free, easily accessible internet message boards.

The reigning American Central League Champions came within one game of advancing to the World Series in 07, only to be defeated by Boston Red Sox in three straight games. Many analysts believe the Indians playoff success will be short-lived because of their modest payroll.

“We recognized that as an organization, we have to constantly seek new answers and to think outside the box in order to improve this team,” said Indians GM Mark Shapiro. “Who better to turn to than our most fervent sect of followers, who wear their emoticons - I mean, emotions on their sleeves and refuse to settle for anything less than 1000 baseball. Nuff said.”

Shapiro will peruse five Indians message boards on a daily basis, each one systematically saved to his favorites in alphabetical order. He says he’ll put more of an emphasis on threads that are either “stickied” (a designation for topics that are permanently stationed towards the top of the board), or those that feature an animated fiery ball that denotes a highly responded to post.

Shapiro’s critics will almost assuredly point to the fickle nature of message boards, and that often times, emotions arouse to a point of irrationality after losses. Despite those concerns, the 2005, 07 Executive of the Year is determined to register and log on like everyone else.

“I’m not going to sit here and act like we’ll be hiring and firing coaches daily based solely on typical message board overreaction,” Shapiro said. “But if there’s a clarion call that demands a new direction, we’ll be emboldened by our fan base to make the necessary changes. If the sentiment is universal that a guy needs to be gone or that our manager got outmanaged, we won't hesitate to make the necessary moves."

The Indians first move under the new organizational setup was to re-implement the use of Chief Wahoo on all their uniforms – something Shapiro said was an easy decision; while viewing a recently "bumped" thread.

“IIRC, the majority of emoticons our fans use to illustrate their discontent, bears a strong resemblance to the offensive red-faced logo emblazoned on our uniforms since the 1940’s,” Shaprio said. “And if anyone has a problem with it, then pffffft to them - fwiw”
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