Oscar Charleston Chapter meeting recap – 7/25/2020

On Saturday, July 25, 2020, more than two dozen members of SABR’s Oscar Charleston Chapter met at the beautiful, new Elements Financial Club at Victory Field in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Our guest speaker was Bruce Schumacher, chairman and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Indians.

First, Bruce addressed the canceled 2020 Indianapolis Indians season. The Indians received a loan of just over $900,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, and the organization has also tried to make the most of Victory Field in the midst of the canceled season. This summer, Victory Field has hosted the College Summer League, which features around 270 college baseball players. These games maintain Covid-19 safety measures including mask requirements, temperature checks, unidirectional foot traffic lanes, prepackaged concessions, and a cap of 3,500 attendees. Beyond the College Summer League, Victory Field has hosted (or will soon host) high school baseball tournaments, a blood drive, a nine-hole golf course, and a classic car show.

Second, Bruce shared his thoughts on the MLB-MiLB working agreement negotiations. He foresees longer agreements than the current deals, which are a minimum of two years. This discussion also touched on the historical, and probably continuing, consolidation of MiLB. MLB has proposed moving toward a uniform, four-team (AAA, AA, A, and Rookie League) MiLB system. This contemplated contraction stems, at least in part, from changes in some teams’ talent development strategies; these teams believe that they can save money with fewer MiLB teams, while relying on advanced metrics and scouting to find and cultivate sufficient talent.

Third, Bruce touched on how the Indians’ name fits into the recent conversations regarding sports team names. He mentioned that the team’s nickname originally stemmed from our state’s and city’s names of Indiana and Indianapolis, both of which lead neatly into the “Indians” nickname. Despite this, Bruce indicated his openness to addressing suggestions or concerns from any local Native Americans or Native American advocacy groups. Saturday’s meeting didn’t touch on the Indians creation of a committee to review the name, which was announced on Tuesday, July 28.

Finally, Bruce mentioned that, recently, for the first time in several months, he was able to visit his dad, Max, who’s 87-years-old. Max is the Indians’ former chairman and chief executive officer. Closing with good news, Bruce said that Max is doing well and in good health.

Thanks to everyone who attended!

— Trenton Morton