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Question and Answers from Thursday's press conference

By sstorm Published: February 18, 2010

Indians fans, below please find the best nuggets of Thursday's press conference during the question-and-answer session following the announcement of promotions for the front office's Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti.

Question: Any particular reason for making the move right now, if nothing is effective until the end of the season?

Answer by Paul Dolan: We've talked about this for some time. But I don't know if there's any particular reason to do it now. The natural progressions of our discussions just led to this time. There was no urgency to it.

Question: How much of the day-to-day baseball will you do now?

Answer by Mark Shapiro: As far as decision making and recommendations go, I'm going to look for Chris to provide a recommendation for any decision that has long-term implications. It will be a lot like how John Hart and I handled the 2001 season.

Question: Who will make the specific decisions regarding trades and free-agent signings this season?

Answer by Shapiro: Chris and I have always had give and take because we look at things from a different perspective, but usually because of the amount of information we've processed, come to the same point, anyway. I would assume that same thing is going to happen.

Question: Who becomes assistant GM?

Answer by Shapiro: We're going to wait to address that at the end of the season.

Question: Can you talk about your decisions over the years to stay with the organization even when there's been the opportunity to go elsewhere?

Answer by Antonetti: "All of us have had other opportunities to look at other sports franchises or baseball teams and we've all made the choice to be here...There's a reason why we've made this choice, because it's a special place to be, it has been since I was an unpaid intern when I first got here.

Question: A lot of skeptics find that championship vision you all see hard to buy, especially now. As you go forward in new roles, how will you keep the fans in line with your vision of winning a championship?

Answer by Dolan: "A championship remains the focus of this organization. Yes, we have challenges. Those challenges are well documented. But if we are going to meet those challenges and reach our goal, one of the important steps of getting there is to make sure we have the solid foundation of leadership in our organization, the kind of continuity and stability to plan and move forward in ways that give us a chance."

Followed by answer by Shapiro: I view the strength of the skepticism as the strength of the passion of the fan base...We put ourselves in position to experience some special times in '05 and '07, but not finish off the goal. So, all I can tell you is that we're only two years removed from that and we feel were in a good position moving forward to experience the same kind of success. And hopefully this time when we get to this threshold, we push over it."

Question: Any regrets from your time as GM?

Answer from Shapiro: "No regrets, but some disappointments. One being that I had envisioned always working with one manager. And the fact that we weren't able to do that throughout my entire career is something that will be a disappointment for me. And I view that as a of a collective failure, as I've expressed in the past. But my relationship with Eric (Wedge) lasts, and I think that's what important - relationships."

Question: Why Cleveland? You've had other opportunities where you could be given a bigger budget. With the restraints here, why the Indians?

Answer by Shapiro: "I never take for granted the culture Paul has afforded me to run the Indians. While there may be others who have greater resources, there is no other general manager who enjoys the day-to-day working environment that I'm afforded."

Question: What has to change or get better to win a championship?

Answer by Shapiro: "we have to get ourselves back into the position we were in in '05 and '07, but this time finish it off. It comes back to getting in the playoffs, where anything can happen...Our division is a strength for us. There's a lot of good teams in it, but not one dominant team without flaws...We're maybe in a better position now, then we were in maybe '02 and '03. I don't view it as that far away. I know it can be bitter and can be tough like we experienced the last two years. But I look at it like we did it only two years ago, and with what I look at as a steeper climb than now."

Followed by answer by Antonetti: "where we are now, we have a more established group of core guys. It's also complimented by one of the top farm systems in baseball. So when you draw the parallels to where we were (during the last rebuild) 2001-03, I do think we're further ahead. And I do think we're positioned to return to that playoff caliber of baseball."

Question: What have you learned from Mark about tough decisions that you will soon find yourself having to make?

Answer by Antonetti: "I've learned there are some really tough decisions that aren't just about X's and O's, but they are about people. Sitting there with Mark to talk to (catcher) Victor Martinez (last season) to tell him he'd been traded to the Red Sox, was one of the hardest things I've had to do professionally. He's such a good person and he meant so much to our franchise. We'd known him for a long time, our families know each other - those are difficult decisions to make. But ultimately we had to make the decision to position us best going forward."

Question: Is there a target date to return to contention?

Answer by Antonetti: "Our goal is to do it as quickly as possible. We feel we are positioned as well as if not better than before. We need some breaks to go our way, but we feel good about the near future and getting back to a championship level."

Question: Can you speak in depth about why you feel you're in a better position to return to contention quicker than the previous rebuild?

Answer by Antonetti: "At this point, if you look back at that point, you can see we were really transitioning a whole roster and trying to bring in an entire influx of young talent at the same time that time. Now, our foundation is a little different. Now, we have the established leaders in players like Grady Sizemore, Chin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera. So some of the nucleus of players we have in place, to go along with some of the veterans we have in Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta, those guys make up a more-experienced core that we didn't have before. When you balance that with some of the young players we have in our farm system, it isn't a really en-masse entry into the major league level where everybody is developing at the same time like last time. Now, we have a little bit more of an established team."

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