NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The postseason was not only an opportunity for the Indians' players to show their talents, but Bart Swain, Cleveland's director of baseball information, felt it was also a chance for the team's media relations team to put its abilities on display.
On Monday, Swain was honored with the 2016 Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence, though he considered the accolade as a reflection of his entire team. In responding to the honor, Swain borrowed from the words of manager Terry Francona, who won the American League Manager of the Year Award.
"It's incredibly humbling to be selected by my peers," Swain said on Monday. "But I feel like Tito said: 'It's an organizational award.' I have an incredible culture to work in that [president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti] and [former team president] Mark Shapiro established. And having Tito as my manager, for me, I feel like I have the greatest job in the world. They make it so easy for me.
"I think [the postseason] just showed what a great group of people we have in our organization. The work we do is a direct byproduct of how wonderful everyone is in our organization."
Swain is the first Fishel Award recipient for the Indians since 1999, when Bob DiBiasio won.
The award is given each year to an "active, non-uniformed representive of Major League Baseball whose ethics, character, dedication, service, professionalism and humanitarianism best represents the standards propounded by Robert O. Fishel." Fishel was a longtime baseball executive for the Indians, St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees and the AL office who won the inaugural award in 1981.
League officials and all 30 teams submit nominees, and the winner is chosen in a vote by active past winners and MLB officials.
Swain has been with the Indians for 25 seasons, including the past 22 years as the team's primary media liaison. During his time with the Tribe, he has helped handle media operations for nine postseason runs, one All-Star Game (1997) and three World Series, including this past season's Fall Classic against the Cubs.
Besides his duties for the P.R. team, Swain has also led the organization's charitable efforts to raise funds for cancer research. Nearly $125,000 was raised for the cause in 2016 through the team's annual bike ride fundraiser VeloSano, which benefits the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.