Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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As sports fans, we always find a way to take things for granted. We are all guilty of it. When I first heard that Cleveland Indians team president Mark Shapiro would be leaving the organization at the end of the season to join the Toronto Blue Jays next season in the same role, I was thrilled. As a lifelong Tribe fan, I had been frustrated with his lack of changes to make the team better and unsuccessful additions over the last decade. I was glad that he was Toronto’s problem now. But after looking into this loss a little deeper, I realized that Shapiro’s move is a positive for both parties involved.
For Toronto, they are gaining 24 years of front office experience with the addition of Shapiro. After losing longtime president/CEO Paul Beeston to retirement, the Blue Jays needed to fill that role with experience and success.
Spending all 24 years with the Indians, Shapiro worked his way up through the ranks as the director of player development, assistant general manager, general manager and finally team president. He was also a part of the good times in Cleveland when the Indians captured seven AL Central titles, two AL Pennants and two World Series berths from his beginning to the end.
There may’ve been frustrating times with Shapiro at the helm, but the hardware speaks for itself. When you are in charge of player development during arguably the most successful years in Cleveland Indians history, you are obviously doing something right. Toronto was looking for experience and someone to build the future with, and at the age of 48, Shapiro definitely has what it takes.
For Cleveland, the organization is getting a fresh start. We see it in sports all the time when a certain team gets stagnant and dull under the same coaching regime or front office over an extended period of time. Truth be told, I think that has been happening with the Indians for the last decade. Shapiro may’ve been a part of the roaring 90’s, but the Indians have only reached the playoffs twice since 2001.
With Shapiro heading north, don’t be surprised if current GM Chris Antonetti searches for greener pastures, especially with the Dolan family making it known that they want to sell off a substantial part of the team. Manager Terry Francona is also fairly close with Shapiro and his departure may have Tito rethinking a few things, but with a young core of Giovanny Urshela, Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Yan Gomes, I don’t think he’ll be heading anywhere for quite some time.
In the end, this is the kind of change that needed to happen. Toronto needed a new face and Cleveland needed a changing of the guard. I wish Mark Shapiro nothing but the best with the Blue Jays, and while the Indians haven’t announced his replacement just yet, I’m sure a fresh face in the front office will be the right kind of change that this organization needs.