With rainy and snowy conditions, cold temperatures, and winds a factor, the Cleveland Indians announced this afternoon that their Home Opener against the Boston Red Sox has been postponed. The game has been rescheduled for tomorrow, April 5, for a 1:10 PM ET start.
Gates are scheduled to open at 11:00 AM ET.
The news came with much negative fanfare as many were already downtown celebrating Cleveland’s unofficial holiday and the arrival of the 2016 Major League Baseball regular season.
The timing of the cancellation seemed to be the biggest point of contention on the internet, as the news of the decision came shortly after 2 PM, just two hours prior to the start of the game and before most gates were set to open for the pregame festivities. Fans who were excited for the beginning of the 2016 season and to see the new upgrades to the ball park, including a new scoreboard, sound system, ball park fares, and season ticket holder bar behind home plate, will have to wait another day before watching the Tribe take the field.
The weather forecast has been in a state of flux for the last week, when reports of cold temperatures in the region first started to be revealed. The potential for a bad gaming experience became more of a reality on Saturday, when the region was hit with an icy, snowy mix that covered the ground with snow for one of the surprisingly few times during the winter and early spring months.
Quite a bit of anger has been directed at the Indians organization for waiting just a short time prior to first pitch to announce the postponement. Fans in attendance took the day off of work, may have taken their children out of school, and endured the unpleasant weather conditions in the city in preparation for the day’s activities.
Per a press release from the Indians, they stated:
Today’s game was postponed due to the forecast changing from no precipitation to having precipitation most of the afternoon and into early evening. That steady precipitation forecast combined with wind chills dropping into the teens, it was decided by both teams and umpires for fan comfort and player safety to postpone the game.
Tomorrow’s forecast will continue to be cold, but no anticipated precipitation.
It is certainly not the only time in recent history that the Indians have had to delay or postpone an Opener.
In 2013, wet, windy, and cold conditions delayed the start of the game and made for unpleasant experiences for fans in attendance, as well as the players on the field.
In 2007, a heavy snow storm ultimately cancelled the Home Opener, one in which Indians pitcher Paul Byrd had sliced through the Seattle Mariners lineup until the game was finally called as former Indians manager and then Seattle skipper Mike Hargrove complained that his hitter could not see with the falling snow. The Indians were leading 4-0 at the time with Byrd lobbing a no-hitter and the game was just one out away from being an official game in the top of the fifth. The game would be halted and later postponed altogether, as were the other games of the series, and the Indians relocated their next home series to Milwaukee’s Miller Park, making their “home opener” in Wisconsin.
The Indians, always a team in need of positive PR, have undoubtedly taken a hit by today’s decision. Ultimately, it seems to be a move that was justified and agreed upon by both teams and the umpiring crew, but the timing of the decision will be what sticks with fans the most.
The fans lose in today’s cancellation, but the Indians are not unscathed in the process. The 2016 Home Opener was the 24th consecutive Opening Day sellout for the club and one of the few guaranteed dates on the calendar this season that the team would host a packed crowd. Food, drink, and merchandise sales are therefore heavily impacted on a day that the Indians are guaranteed good monetary figures beyond ticket gate sales.
The Indians have announced a list of alternate games that fans can choose to attend with today’s ticket if they are unable to make tomorrow’s makeup game against the Red Sox.
Wednesday, April 6 vs. Boston (6:10PM)
Thursday, April 7 vs. Boston (6:10PM)
Friday, April 15 vs. New York Mets (7:10PM)
Saturday, April 16 vs. New York Mets (4:10PM)
Sunday, April 17 vs. New York Mets (1:10PM)
Tuesday, April 19 vs. Seattle (6:10PM)
Wednesday, April 20 vs. Seattle (6:10PM)
Thursday, April 21 vs. Seattle (12:10PM)
Friday, May 13 vs. Minnesota (7:10PM)
Monday, May 16 vs. Cincinnati (6:10PM)
Tuesday, May 17 vs. Cincinnati (6:10PM)
Fans can visit Indians.com/ScheduleChanges for information on how to exchange their tickets.
For those in need of spewing some animosity about the decision, feel free to jump on your pretty hate machine and find your local social media outlet of choice, where there is likely still a heated debate brewing like scalding hot coffee. There are plenty of hot takes to share about money wasted, being unable to attend the makeup date, vacation/sick time wasted, excessive parking lot fees, the delay in calling the game, ticket “inconvenience” charges and fees, and that the club has played through worse conditions before.
For others, the news seems to fit the Indians new marketing slogan for the 2016 season – “Only Here”. It really does feel at times like “Only in Cleveland” can these types of things happen.
For the rest of us, we prepare for the new Home Opener Tuesday, one that will have lost much of its pageantry as well as a significant number of bodies in the seats to root on the Tribe.
Photo: David Petkiewicz/cleveland.com