Fans are still feeling the pain from Wednesday night's World Series loss and so is the Indians front office.
The Indians and Chicago Cubs battled it out in the World Series. Unfortunately, the Cubs came out on top in a decisive Game 7 that went 10 innings.
The Tribe's front office held a season-ending press conference on Friday. The President and General Manager of the team said they've experienced a range of emotions since the loss and the pain is still there.
"Pain is certainly there. I'm not sure that's something that'll go away anytime soon because we all desperately wanted to win that last game. But that won't overshadow the pride that we feel in thinking back and reflecting on the team and the grit and resilience and the perseverance they showed throughout the course of the season," said Chris Antonetti, Indians President of Basketball Operations.
Mike Chernoff, the Indians General Manager, echoed Antonetti's sentiments.
"It's pain in that moment (following the Game 7 loss)", Chernoff said. "And you look around and you see (team owner) Paul Dolan and you think about Mr. Dolan and his entire family and what they have afforded us, the opportunity to try and create here, and getting so close to it, it's hard in that moment not to feel that pain, to look around the clubhouse and see the guys who literally left everything out on the field."
The series resonated with fans from everywhere. That wasn't lost on the front office.
"You recognized 68 years and 108 years of not winning a championship. It built a great narrative that people bought into, especially the resiliency of our team," said Chernoff.
Because the cities are so close, Game 7 at Progressive Field had a significant number of Chicago fans in the stands. That's something the Indians could not control.
"We all recognized how unique the circumstances were around this World Series. I think what we saw were two very interested fan bases with a lot of built up desires to see their teams win a championship and I think a lot of those fans from Chicago decided to make that short trip to Cleveland and presented probably a pretty compelling financial alternatives for some of those people holding those tickets. I don't fault anyone for making that decision to try to sell their tickets," said Antonetti.
The team is really excited about the future.
"The vast majority of our roster is going to be here for the foreseeable future and that's a great foundation to go into the offseason with and look to build upon," said Antonetti.
There are some key decisions the team has to make and that's with free agents Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis.
Davis, who provided one of the greatest moments in World Series history with his game-tying 8th inning home run, and Mike Napoli, who's 34 home runs on the field and influence off it helped lead the Tribe throughout the season. Antonetti has already talked with Davis about returning and knows there will be competition for Napoli's services as well.
"We have a great deal of respect and appreciation for what Mike has meant to our team, the performance on the field, his impact in the clubhouse, has been enormous and was a big part of our success this year," Antonetti said. "In talking to Mike, we know that he would like to be back here, too...we know he's going to have a plethora of options out there and there are going to be a lot of teams that will be interested in bringing him back, and hopefully we'll be one of those options for him."
Indians outfielder, Michael Brantley is also expected to be ready to go for spring training. Brantley was limited to just 11 games this season following shoulder surgery. He underwent another procedure and the Indians expect the former All-Star to be healthy next season.
Also in it for the long haul, Indians manager Terry Francona. The Cleveland Indians exercised the 2019 and 2020 club options on Francona.
"He (Francona) has made a huge difference on our franchise and to have him as our partner moving forward is something we're really excited about," said Antonetti.
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