CLEVELAND, Ohio – It was almost as if Jason Kipnis did not want the moment to end.
Long after the majority of fans who showed up on Thursday for his annual Progressive Field draw have dissipated, Kipnis has lingered inside the center-right portal, signing autographs and taking pictures. pictures for those who stayed.
"It's something I'm happy to do," said Kipnis. "When you see that the participation rate is increasing every year and you're starting to recognize more and more people, it just becomes fun."
Wearing a black jersey and a black Players Weekend cap, reminiscent of funeral clothing, the nine-year veteran has signed an assortment of cleats, caps, bats, balls and souvenirs worn at game of Cleveland Indians.
Free agent once the World Series ended later this month, Kipnis has been part of the organization since his appointment by the club in 2009. The Indians announced last week that they did not intend to choose the team option for 2020 with his team. contract, making it unlikely he'll be with the team next season. Kipnis said the wave of fan support was sometimes overwhelming.
"I can not tell you how many really cool posts these days," he said. "And the people who stopped me in the last few weeks to say nothing more than thank you. It's really serious. It matters a lot to me … I liked this city and it's for reasons like that. "
Fans drive from near and far at the end of each season to watch Kipnis' shooting. Nate Peterson and her children from Bay Village stood outside the doors with Kipnis' catchy music played through a portable speaker in the hope of winning a personalized gift.
"We think it could help if he hears it," said Peterson.
Kipnis' season ended early when he fractured the hamate bone in his right hand on September 15th. He was operated on September 24 and wore a bandage and an envelope as he signed his name again and again. At one point, Kipnis had crossed four markers by autographing jerseys, balls and signs. He said that the surgically repaired area felt good afterwards.
"The wrist was a little painful," said Kipnis. "I knew it would be nice to go into the movie. I did not throw anything with my right hand, it's mostly my left hand. We are smart about it right now. It improves. "
Kipnis welcomed the participation on Thursday, saying he initially thought he had signed too many articles in the clubhouse before greeting the fans, but realized that he missed the crowd. All those who stayed during the two-hour session have at least one autograph or photo with the All Star second-baseman twice.
"Some of these people, whether in my daily life, I saw them in a shop, or they send me a nice message that can really cheer me up," Kipnis said. "It's nice even with a smile, a handshake and a signature to make, it's easy enough for me."
Kipnis said his future with the club was not under his control, but that it was also not a door he'd ever see close. It has left open the possibility of returning at some point, whether it is out of season or at any given time. A native of the Chicago area, he still wants to wear an Indian jersey.
"I've always done it," Kipnis said. "It's literally a first class organization. I will support him if I am not here. The fanbase has always been special to me. "
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