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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mark Shapiro Recommends Eating Pasta, Salads, Rice and Beans and Fresh Fruit

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM

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Not only are the Indians on the forefront when it comes to statistical analysis, not only are they on the forefront of ticket pricing policies, they're also on the forefront of nutrition.

From former Blue Jays assistant GM Bart Given's blog, it seems that the Tribe was among the first to really focus on nutrition for all levels of the organization. Seems pretty intuitive — keep your players healthy — but apparently that's not the case for the majority of squads, especially in the minor leagues, where low per diems, measly contracts, and horrible food are quite pervasive.

The Tribe's focus on food goes back to 1995 and starts with Shapiro, then Director of Minor League Operations:

What Shapiro did was simple yet effective; budgeting additional dollars and allocating them to each home clubhouse attendant within the Indians organization. The “clubbies” were given an education on the types of food to provide, pre and post game, to maximize the dollars and nutritional value. Instead of PB&J the players were receiving pasta, salads, rice and beans and fresh fruit etc.

“I was a player within the organization at the time and thought this was the norm throughout baseball” commented Ross Atkins the Indians current Director, Player Development. “Obviously I know differently now, and we continue to see the importance of the program”.

The Indians have continued to evolve their nutrional program over the past few seasons. ”We’ve hired a great nutritionist by the name of Jacqueline Berning who has worked with Michael Phelps and the Denver Broncos. She hosts seminars in Spring Training educating the Minor Leaguers on the benefits of eating properly. Our Strength and Conditioning coaches also meet and consult with her throughout the season and have become a valuable part of the program” Atkins continued.

For the record: Cleveland Scene's nutritional policy isn't quite as developed as the Tribe's. One vending machine, poorly stocked.

(H/T to Vegas Watch)

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