GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Presidents' Day arriving in the early part of Spring Training, who better to combine the two than Chris Antonetti, the Indians president of baseball operations? MLB.com asked Antonetti to provide his main message to Indians fans going into the 2017 season, when the Tribe will aim for a return trip to the World Series. Here is what he had to say:
"We feel confident and excited about the opportunity in front of us, because we feel great about the group of guys that we have heading into the season. But, that confidence and excitement is balanced by humility and determination. We know that it's really hard to win at the Major League level. To be able to advance as far as we did last year, it was a really difficult path and we had to overcome a lot of obstacles. It was that determination, that day-to-day approach of finding a way to put in the work, to prepare to win each and every day no matter what obstacles were in front of us, it was that mindset served us so well last year. That's the type of mindset that we need to have heading into this year. When you read comments from Michael Brantley or Corey Kluber or Cody Allen and other players, you know their mindset is focused on that. That's a really good feeling, knowing our players share that focus.
"In a lot of respects, last year was a successful season not only in how long we played, but in the way we went about it. But, we thirst for more. Our goal is to win the World Series. We got a chance to play in it last year, but didn't win. Now, we have a difficult path in front of us to not only earn the opportunity to get to the postseason, but to advance in the postseason. There's nothing we can do about that today, but work on today and focus on what we have in front of us. And I think our guys will do that.
"Our ownership took a huge leap of faith this offseason. If you look at it from any sort of rational model, it's hard to make sense of it. We need the fans' support. We were really encouraged by what we not only saw at the ballpark at the end of last season and in the postseason, but the environment around town throughout the offseason. Hopefully, that momentum and that energy will lead to fans being engaged in all sorts of different platforms, but also specifically with coming out to the ballpark. There's been great enthusiasm by our fan base throughout the offseason. Our season ticket sales are up appreciably from where they were last year and hopefully we continue in that direction. When single-game tickets go on sale, we hope a lot of fans will make the choice to come to a game."
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.