Shapiro says Progressive Field renovations on schedule, not impacting team’s payroll
CLEVELAND – Despite a lousy January in terms of weather, Indians president Mark Shapiro said during Tribe Fest on Sunday that the renovations to the right- and center-field areas at Progressive Field remain on schedule and should be ready for the April 10 home opener.
"Any time you are dealing with a cold-weather environment you have some anxiety when you look out there but the guys who do this for a living say we are in great shape," Shapiro said. "Anything other than an extreme level of frost where the ground freezes we are going to be in good shape. There are certain things that have to be done like the bullpens and things like that and those things are fine."
In discussing the renovations further, Shapiro repeated that the project is being 100 percent privately funded and that none of the funds have come from Major League Baseball’s revenue-sharing program.
Shapiro also said that a final cost number has not been determined but that it is not impacting decisions related to the team’s payroll.
"Those are two separate capital budgets. That’s most important and what fans are most concerned about," he said. "There is never a player consideration that will be impacted by what we are doing with the ballpark improvements."
Also not finalized has been the capacity even though indications are it will be a reduction by 15 percent. Based on last year’s capacity, that would make it a little over 36,000. Capacity though will be fluid depending on the games due to the terraces and standing-room areas in upper-right field.
With Rob Manfred taking over as Commissioner on Sunday, Shapiro is part of a new competition committee that will look at all on-field matters including pace of play. A pitch clock is being tested this upcoming season in Double-A and Triple-A.
"He’s a thoughtful, highly intelligent guy who’s a strategic thinker. I think that bodes well for problems that will develop in front of MLB in the next generation," said Shapiro about Manfred.
TRIBE FEST ATTENDANCE: The Indians announced that more than 8,000 fans attended Tribe Fest, which was a 15 percent increase from last year and the highest attendance in the three years that the event has been held.
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