Full Story: Matt Dolan’s Dream For A November To Remember
By Mike Raymond
Matt Dolan is running two campaigns right now.
First and foremost is his campaign to become the next State Senator of District 24 in Northeast Ohio beginning in January.
But coming in at a not-too-distant second is his family’s campaign to bring home Cleveland’s first World Series Championship in 68 years.
Matt’s father, Larry Dolan, bought the majority share of the Cleveland Indians in 2000. His oldest brother Paul Dolan is CEO. Matt works on the Executive Committee, which oversees the team’s financial budgets. He’s also active with the Indians community outreach programs and charities.
“Its a thrill to be this intimately involved” Dolan told me during our phone conversation. “I still see it as a fan. I’m still the little boy who can’t believe the Indians are in the World Series.”
“Fortunately the business side of baseball is done until the off season so this allows me to campaign during the day and at night I get to watch the Indians.”
Watching the Indians from the owner’s suite inside beautiful Progressive Field is a long way from where Matt would settle in for Indians games as a child inside Municipal Stadium.
“It was always a big deal when we would go to the games. My Dad would get tickets for maybe three games a year. So, people make judgments about our success now, but we didn’t get to many games back then. It was special.”
A native Clevelander and one of six children, Dolan grew up playing baseball —-and rooting for the Indians of course—but never imagined that one day his family would become its owners.
“If you dream of anything you dream of playing second base for the Indians, you don’t dream of owning them”.
“They were my favorite team growing up. We were big baseball fans and a big sports family. Baseball was easily our number one sport in the house. Back when I was growing up, the Indians were only on TV Tuesdays and Fridays. So, Tuesdays and Fridays we’d all be watching the TV,”
The Indians are riding a euphoric wave that unofficially began when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship just a few months ago. On June 19, 2016, the day the Cavs claimed the city’s first major league sports championship since 1964, the Indians started a franchise record 14 -game winning streak and never looked back.
“It was like a switch went off” said Dolan. “When the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit and actually won the championship the entire attitude of the region here changed. And, when the Cavs won the title we were already in first place…so the immediate thought went to the Indians are going to win the World Series.”
Whether the Indians win the World Series or not, the fact that they’ve finally made it this far after several years of mediocrity has helped dispel some of the myths about the Dolans.
“The biggest misconception of many is that my family doesn’t care about winning” Dolan said. “Fans need to know that whether its 80 degrees or 40 degrees, whether there’s six thousand fans or 38 thousand fans, my parents are at every single game.”
As the World Series shifts to Chicago this weekend, Dolan’s wife and two sons are headed to Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, Matt will stay at home to concentrate on his political campaign, hoping that the momentum that started with the Cavs and continues with the Indians will translate to something even bigger—and more important– off the field.
“People are starting to believe that good things can happen to Cleveland now. The attitude is that we can get things done. We don’t have to have a job market where things are going south. There are certainly some real challenges that Ohio and Northeast Ohio face that don’t get solved by winning a World Championship. But, it’s a way to feel good about the community we live in and we need to capitalize on that.”