Talking Tribe Over Breakfast

Bob DiBiasio entertains 200 at city's networking event

Mayor Tom Perciak is a big Cleveland Indians fan, but he rarely calls them by name lately.

Nope, it's always "the No. 1 team in baseball." Usually followed by an exclamation point.

So it was a big day for him Thursday -- and for a couple hundred other fans -- when Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' vice president of public relations, came to town to talk Tribe at the city's quarterly Business Networking Breakfast.

"The mayor said we have to win, so there's a lot of pressure," DiBiasio joked.

The city had originally lined up Victor Gregovitz, the Tribe's senior vice president of sales and marketing, to speak, but he couldn't make it and the always-entertaining DiBiasio stepped in to pinch hit.

He talked about the team's branding efforts this year -- marketing focuses on creating memories, connecting generations and celebrating families -- and about Kenny Lofton telling players during spring training what it was like to play ball here in the mid-1990s.

"Kenny had that passion -- he wanted to see these kids win," DiBiasio said.

During a question-and-answer, he said the Indians have their eye on two former players to come back and coach -- once they're out of uniform. The two: Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome.

And he said there is truth to the rumor that Charlie Sheen, star of the movie Major League, wanted to throw out a first pitch this season.

"We were called about 22 times by his reps," DiBiasio acknowledged. "We were very diplomatic and said 'no thank you.'"

He said he can't help comparing this season to the 1990s. "We're back to that energy and enthusiasm," he said.

Success boils down to  talent, teamwork, dedication, passion and a little good luck, he said.

"When you watch on TV, I think you see the guys having fun together," he said. "They're enjoying their success."


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