The Tribe recently released its promo schedule for 2014. In a perfect world, a team that won 92 games last season, hosted a postseason game, and is leaps and bounds (and then more leaps... then more bounds) better than the city's other two professional teams would draw great numbers at the turnstile. Unfortunately that's not the reality of the situation, so in an effort to fight against the tide of high-def TV and a jaded fan base, the Indians will be selling cheap hot dogs, shooting off fireworks, and handing out free stuff all season long!
The home opener is Friday, April 4 and the Indians will be giving out magnetic schedules to all fans. Teams have been giving out magnetic schedules on Opening Day since time immemorial, which is good, because I'm never so curious about the Tribe's next homestand as I am when I'm fixing to make a sandwich.
The Indians have another dozen home games in April, but you'll get nothing for attending any of them except a cold nose and plenty of elbow room. I'm pegging the day game on Wednesday, April 9 against the Padres as the least-attended game of the year.
The Rally Alley (on Larry Doby Way, behind the left-field bleacher), featuring food, games, and music will be open on Opening Day, and also before most Saturday and Sunday games from May through August. The Rally Alley is open to the public, so you don't need a ticket.
Most weekend nights also feature postgame fireworks.
From May on, Friday games feature $1 Sugardale hot dogs. A group of friends and I once attempted to eat a hot dog each inning, and a couple others sitting nearby joined us. Most of us failed, but one person not only ate all nine, she ordered a tenth for the road! There are 13 dollar dog nights in all.
Sunday afternoons are KeyBank Kids Fun Days. After the game, kids can run around the bases. Adults can probably run around the bases too, if they ask really nicely and don't mind having Slider taunt them for it.
There will be four new bobbleheads in 2014: On May 3, it's former Tribe pitcher Orel Hershiser. On May 31 it's Nick Swisher. They're calling it a "Brohio" edition, but I'm not sure how that's going to be different from the standard model Swisher. June 3 is your chance to get a Michael Bourn bobble head, and on July 8 it's Jason Kipnis.
May 21 brings back one of my favorite promotions ever: Weather Education Day!!! All participants receive a weather education booklet. If you're unable to attend that afternoon's game, check eBay, where you can probably track down a copy of the booklet for no more than $80 or $90.
Puppypalooza is June 17. It was scheduled for while the Angels are in town, because everyone knows Mike Trout is deathly afraid of collies, and the hope is he'll refuse to play that day.
June 18 is the first of six shirt giveaways, and might be the most interesting of them. The shirt that day will be a new design by GV Art + Design, a Cleveland-based design company that's put out a lot of cool shirts before.
June 21 is Omar Vizquel Day. Replica jerseys will be give out to fans and Vizquel will be inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame. No word yet on what Omar will wear for the occasion.
Other shirt days are:
- July 5 - Larry Doby jersey
- July 12 - Kenny Lofton jersey
- August 23 - Terry Francona jersey (I love Terry, but who wants to wear a manager's jersey???)
- September 6 - Fan Design T-shirt (details here)
August 2 brings maybe the biggest promotion of the season, as a statue of Jim Thome will be unveiled at Progressive Field and miniature replicas of the statue will be given out to the first 12,500 fans. Bobble heads and shirts will bring out plenty of fans, but this is the day I'd expect to see long lines wrapped around the stadium before the game. I also expect to see a very disappointed 12,501st fan through the turnstile.
I understand why teams don't usually give out promotional items to every fan, but I think this would be a good day to make an exception. Fans who still love Thome wold be happy to have one, and fans who refuse to get over his having left the team will have something to burn in effigy!
There are other items I haven't mentioned (that's what the link at the top is for), but these are some of the highlights.
Which game would you most like to be there for?