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Jason Kipnis says goodbye to Indians fans with Instagram post

So long, Kip. You beautiful bearded man

Cleveland Indians v. New York Yankees Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Jason Kipnis is officially headed home to Chicago, which means any chance of him returning to Cleveland is gone. The chances of a reunion were likely gone the second the season ended, but it’s official now.

No matter what you think of Kip’s final few seasons in Cleveland, his dominance in the early years as well as his love for the city of Cleveland and his teammates throughout his tenure cannot be ignored. He was arguably the best second baseman in baseball in 2013 not named Matt Carpenter or on steroids, and was always more than willing to make himself known to fans in Cleveland. Whether it was randomly going off every May, giving back with his annual shoe toss, or just having fun on camera, his imprint on the Indians organization throughout the 2010s will live on forever.

He, along with his teammates, came up ever so short of entering baseball mortality in that fateful 2016 World Series. His dramatic foul ball in extra innings was particularly devastating, but it’s hard to imagine them even being in that situation without him. Kipnis would have been forever hailed as a hero in Cleveland if that ball went into the right field seats instead of deep in the seats down the first-base line. But as it is, he should be remembered as a great Cleveland Indian, anyway.

Kipnis today said goodbye to the only city and organization he’s known as a Major League Baseball player with an emotional Instagram message.

Cleveland, I’ll keep it short... Thank you. For taking a chance on me as an organization and as a fan base. You guys joined me on this ride to get this great org back to where it belonged, at the top competing for a WS every year! I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the job for you. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I’m forever grateful. From the polite and respectful greetings you showed my family, friends and I everywhere we went. Every restaurant, every bar, every heinen’s, everywhere! You made me feel 10 feet tall! Many of you went from fans, to familiar faces, to even friends. Keep that Rally Together spirit going for this team. You’re holding them to a high standard and that’s the way it should be. I was fortunate enough to play with some of the best teammates, coaching, medical and equipment staff in the game and wouldn’t have had the run i did without them. Many of which are lifelong friends now. I’ll always cherish my time in Cleveland and always tried to show you how much I loved wearing that jersey by the way I played for you! Forever grateful, forever part of the Tribe!Thank you Cleveland.Kip, Dirtbag, #22

While it certainly sucks to see Kipnis go to the Cubs, it’s good to see him go somewhere he knows so well. Kipnis, a native of Northbrook, Illinois, never shied away from his Chicago ties, even in the World Series against his childhood team. It’s that sincerity to himself and others that always made him seem so approachable, so real. You could always root for Jason Kipnis whether he was on a tear or in a slump because you knew exactly who he was.

He’ll always be Dirtbag wherever he goes, but a part of him will always be our Dirtbag. So long, Kip.