Forty minutes before the first pitch of the RubberDucks’ home game against the Altoona Curve on Friday, utility man Justin Toole posted a picture to his Twitter account that summarizes the culture that resonates throughout the Indians’ organization.
Toole, surrounded by teammates Tony Wolters, Bryson Myles, Cody Anderson, Ronny Rodriguez and Tyler Naquin clad in their white home jerseys, all appear to be having a good time in the clubhouse, making silly faces with the caption “Friday Night at Canal Park! BUT FIRST LET US TAKE A #SELFIE.”
Like their major league counterpart in Cleveland, sparked by “BROhio” chapter leader Nick Swisher, the “bullpen mafia” and the bench unit known as “The Goon Squad,” the Ducks clearly know how to have a good time on and off the field, too, though they might need to work on their nicknames.
It’s easier to have a good time when you’re winning, and the Ducks have been doing quite a bit of that.
They lead the Western Division of the Eastern League by 3½ games with a record of 20-12, are fresh off a 10-game winning streak and a game-winning grand slam by top prospect Francisco Lindor on Thursday night.
“It’s not just fun for me, it’s fun for everybody in this whole entire clubhouse, the stands and the front office,” Lindor said. “We’re having a blast, enjoying it every single day here, having fun. We’re playing a little kid’s game.”
And the culture hasn’t formed just from what’s happened on the field.
It starts from the top, energized by the fresh faces of owner, Ken Babby, and manager, David Wallace, both 34.
Wallace considers himself as much of a friend to the players as a manager. He was a player himself just five seasons ago, and his strong work ethic and experience resonates with the young players.
Babby, always seen moving about Canal Park on game day, is about as lively as they come. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against the Curve, a power outage occurred in the stadium, stopping play for 15 minutes.
Babby wasted no time grabbing a bag of shirts and sprinting down the right-field line like a crazed fan, throwing shirts to yelling fans.
With the culture the organization has created from the top down, the RubberDucks don’t need 10-game winning streaks and heroic grand slams to make Canal Park a fun place to be. But they certainly don’t hurt.