CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Fans weren’t the only ones disappointed over Monday’s postponement of Opening Day.
The Indians were too.
A mixture of sleet and snow coupled with temperatures hovering in the low 30s and a wind chill around 18 prompted the team to call the game before even opening the gates to Progressive Field Monday afternoon.
Indians president Chris Antonetti addressed the decision to call the game, which angered fans, Tuesday morning.
“We certainly understand our fans’ frustration and disappointment with not playing yesterday. We share that,” Antonetti said. “We wanted to play. We came in yesterday thinking we were going to play and that was our expectation all along. We knew it was going to be cold and we were prepared to play in the cold.
“I think what happened is, as the course of the day unfolded, the conditions continued to worsen. What we knew was going to be cold got colder and maybe most importantly there was an element of precipitation that made the field and the conditions really difficult, and we thought potentially put players at risk.”
The postponement came as a bit of a surprise after manager Terry Francona said Monday afternoon that they would play despite the less than ideal conditions.
“If I led people astray, that was not the intent,” Francona said Tuesday morning. “I fully expected we were going to play. It just got [to be] a little too much.”
Indians and Red Sox officials met with umpires and they all decided the best thing to do was call the game quickly and play it Tuesday with the forecast at least calling for sun but temperatures still remaining in the 30s.
Had they played, it would’ve been the coldest conditions for a game in the last 15 years according to Antonetti.
“There was not one single part of us that tried to be deceptive or anything,” Francona said. “We knew we had a great crowd and it’s Opening Day. We hope that people understand that.”
Even with no precipitation in the forecast for Tuesday, playing in the cold is challenging for both teams.
“It’s difficult to do everything, it really is,” Francona said.
After Monday’s postponement, Francona was spotted leaving the ballpark on his scooter that he is often seen riding around downtown.
“It was not good,” Francona said with a smile. “And then when I started to see it online, that made it even worse. So whoever did that, thanks. I didn’t realize just how stupid I had looked.”
Fans’ anger over the postponement took over social media, especially from those who took off work or traveled to attend the game, which in Cleveland is an unofficial holiday.
In response to the backlash, the Indians decided to modify it’s ticket exchange policy to allow those that can not make Tuesday’s opener to exchange their tickets for 2 games in April and early May.
“We can’t replace opening day, we understand that” Antonetti said. “We’ll do everything we can to make our fans as whole as possible, knowing that we still can’t replace Opening Day. We’ll do the best we can.
“We recognized there would be a large number of people that may not be able to come today to the rescheduled game. We felt that just exchanging one for one wasn’t enough. We could do more. That’s why we ended up getting to the point of offering two tickets in exchange for the game yesterday.”