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Indians mascot to slide in for a visit

Andy Ouriel • May 6, 2014 at 2:43 PM

The Cleveland Indians’ No. 1 cheerleader plans on soon meeting some of the team’s biggest fans.

Slider, the Tribe’s large, furry, purplish mascot, scheduled an hourlong Tuesday afternoon visit to The Meadows at Osborn Park.

Any resident can meet, talk to and maybe even share some strategy tips with Slider about motivating some slumping Indians players.

“Many of our residents follow the Indians religiously, and we are glad that people from the Cleveland Indians organization are taking time out of their schedule to visit some of the team’s most loyal and lifelong fans,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said. “We are going to have hot dogs, hamburgers and people dressed up in baseball clothes to show our appreciation. This is something the residents can definitely look forward to”

The team’s front office workers arranged a meet-and-greet at The Meadows after reading a Register story describing how residents couldn’t watch Indians games in early April.

In early 2014, increasing programming costs brought upon by providers such as Fox forced Buckeye CableSystem, the nursing home’s cable TV provider, to raise rates on several channels, including SportsTime Ohio.

Officials, citing the nursing home’s weak financial standing, opted against paying an additional $540 per month just for SportsTime Ohio. Adding this one channel alone would have increased the nursing home’s $1,000-a-month cable bill by 54 percent.

SportsTime Ohio airs almost all of the Indians’ 162 games this season. Only some weekend games and a handful of other matchups are on over-the-air TV. Decades ago, most Indians games aired on free TV.

About a month ago, coinciding with the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the Register highlighted the Tribe’s blackout issue on nursing home TVs.

Several residents expressed emotions of agitation and frustration in interviews about not being able to watch the games in the season’s first week.

Immediately after the article published, many community members donated money and Buckeye CableSystem negotiated a better rate to offset any and all extra costs for airing Indians games this year. Shenigo helped coordinate this effort.

The cable savings and private donations added up to about $7,000, enough to air one full year’s worth of SportsTime Ohio programming, which includes Indians games, at the nursing home.

Indians games have appeared on nursing home TVs for the past couple of weeks.

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