CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis gave a unique thank-you to the fans for their support throughout the 2017 season on Monday morning.
After cleaning out his locker, Kipnis autographed game-used cleats and bobbleheads for fans outside the players’ lot at Progressive Field. Once the dozens of cleats and bobbleheads were given away, Kipnis spent time signing autographs, posing for photos and sharing video messages on social media for the remaining fans.
“Personally, I always like to give back,” Kipnis said. “I know you’re not always going to have fans that are on your side. It just happens, but I do know when I tweet out something like this, the people that do show up are the ones that have kind of always been in my corner.”
PHOTOS: Cleveland Indians INF Jason Kipnis rewards fans for their support
A couple hundred fans gathered outside Progressive Field in the early-morning hours Monday to meet Kipnis, and that was very much appreciated by the six-year MLB veteran.
“That means a lot,” Kipnis said. “I definitely don’t want to keep them waiting. There are some really nice people here and some big fans of the Indians and it’s fun to see them.
“It means a lot to me that they show up and that they come here. They’re the ones I really want to give back to the most. Cleveland always has great fans, but these ones really mean a lot to me, the ones that show up to this.”
When Kipnis arrived at the ballpark for the event, he was greeted by thunderous applause and cheers, as well as some of the walk-up music used throughout his career.
And while Kipnis appreciated the gathering following the Indians’ loss to the New York Yankees in five games in the 2017 American League Division Series, he wants to do a much bigger one with fans after the World Series in 2018.
“I tweeted out that I wish I was doing this from a parade float and could be tossing from there,” Kipnis said. “Unfortunately, it’s still from the parking lot. That’ll always be the dream, to do it from the parade float, tossing stuff out that way, but until that happens, we’ve got to keep doing it this way. I know this team isn’t where we want to be right now, but I think a lot of guys are already looking forward to next year.
“It’s definitely come around on baseball again. I think the Indians have brought back a lot of the baseball fandom to the city, and rightfully so. This team means a lot to the city, and the city means a lot to this team. It’s a great relationship between both. We try to give back when we can, and we appreciate all the support that we get, so we try to show it.”