I am a died in the wool Yankees fan, and it broke my heart when the Yankees severed their minor league affiliation with the Columbus Clippers. The only redeeming quality about the deal has been the involvement of Jewish baseball executives with the subsequent affiliate franchises.

For a brief period, the Clippers were the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nations, owned by the Lerner family. In 2009, the Cleveland Indians signed a development agreement with the Clippers. While I cannot bring myself to root for the Indians, I secretly held out hope for the opportunity to meet Indians GM Mark Shapiro.

The occasion presented itself recently. I had the opportunity to kibitz with, and get autographs from, the Tribe's head Member of the Tribe, when Mr. Shapiro spoke at the Cleveland Indians 2010 Press Tour in Columbus on Thursday, January 29, 2010.

Mark Shapiro, center, at the Indians Media Tour in Columbus Ohio Shapiro (pictured center in the picture to the right) is, I am pleased to report, as personable a gentleman as he is a great baseball mind. He deftly fielded questions from the audience, and spoke (I think) honestly about some of his much maligned decisions — such as trading away Cy Young winners Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia.

He was also extremely generous in signing autographs for fans, myself included. Shapiro signed a total of four cards for me, two Signature Cards and two Indians team cards (provided to me by Michael to be signed).  

Mark shapiroI spoke with Shapiro briefly, but — given the size of the crowd — did not express to him my particular interest in obtaining his autograph. Nor did I ask Shapiro if he responds to through-the-mail requests for signatures. Of the later, I plan to send him a letter asking for a signed business card, and will report the results of my query here.

Has anyone else had experience meeting Mark, or getting his 'graph? Please respond with comments and stories of your own.