CLEVELAND -- With the grounds crew still shoveling snow off
the field, the Cleveland Indians decided it was time to head north
The Indians moved their series against the Los Angeles Angels to
Milwaukee's Miller Park after a spring snowstorm wiped out
Cleveland's series against Seattle for the fourth straight day
"I thought we were going to move it to North Dakota, but we got
Milwaukee instead," joked Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner,
a native of Sykeston, N.D.
The teams will play a three-game series beginning Tuesday in a
ballpark that has a retractable roof, unlike Jacobs Field. The
opener and Wednesday's game will be played at 7:05 p.m. ET, with
Thursday's game scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
While a snowy, rainy mix stopped falling Monday, the grounds
crew was unable to get the surface in shape after three days of
snow. About a foot of snow remained on the field Monday afternoon
with workers shoveling it into small carts to be hauled away.
"They've got a lot of work ahead of them. It's a tough job,"
said Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore, sipping a cup of hot
chocolate in the team's clubhouse.
Indians manager Eric Wedge said the field was expected to be
ready Friday, when they are slated to open a three-game set against
the Chicago White Sox.
Friday's game will serve as the unofficial home opener. The
Indians were ahead 4-0 with two outs in the top of the fifth, when
their home opener Friday was called off by umpires because of heavy
snow. The grounds crew, armed with backpack blowers and brooms,
spent more time on the field than the players during nearly three
hours of stoppages.
"I've never felt cold like that in my life," said Indians
shortstop Jhonny Peralta, a native of the Dominican Republic.
After Friday's game was called, the teams hoped to play a
day-night doubleheader Saturday, but that was put off by the spring
storm. They then scheduled a doubleheader for Sunday, which also
"We went out and made some snow angels and made some goofy
pictures, but I'm bored to death," Indians outfielder David Dellucci said.
Players packed Monday for an evening flight to Milwaukee, where
the Brewers will sell tickets for $10 each, with seating limited to
the field and loge levels.
"I can't imagine there will be a whole lot of fans," Hafner
said. "The most important thing is that you get the games in."
But Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes said nearly 10,000 tickets total
were sold for all three games of the series within the first four
hours of availability.
"We still don't have any idea of what to expect but so far
we're encouraged," Barnes said Monday afternoon.
About 4,000 tickets were sold for each night game -- 7:05 p.m.
ET starts on Tuesday and Wednesday -- and about 2,000 tickets for
Thursday's game scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, Barnes said.
It's the first time weather has forced a series to be moved
since the Florida Marlins played the Montreal Expos on Sept. 13-14,
2004, in Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field because of Hurricane Ivan.
Angels vice president Tim Mead said Milwaukee made sense for
both clubs because Cleveland can return home Friday and the Angels
will travel on to Boston.
"It's a compromise that does not allow an unfair advantage,"
Still undetermined is when and where the Indians and Mariners
will make up their four-game series.
Wedge expected they would play a doubleheader on a mutual off
day and could make up one of the games when they travel to Seattle
the last week of the season.
"We're kind of off the charts now," Wedge said. "We're
rolling with it and making the best of the situation."
The cold caused another problem for the Indians -- an injury to
catcher Victor Martinez, who strained his left quadriceps while
running to first base Friday. The Indians are bringing along minor
league catcher Mike Rose from Triple-A Buffalo in case Martinez is
put on the disabled list.
Wedge said Martinez was feeling a little better Monday, and the
Indians may face the Angels a player short for a game or two while
they wait to make a decision.
While Wedge spoke with optimism, some players expressed concern
and frustration over the league's scheduling and how the makeup
games will affect their season.
"It could be a big problem down the road," Hafner said. "Once
the season gets going, you don't want to not get your off days -- on
top of that playing doubleheaders. So it could be a big pain."
Dellucci, who is from Louisiana, and C.C. Sabathia, who lives near
Oakland, Calif., both think the schedule makers need to put teams
in better environments next April.
"We're sitting here snowed out four games when we could have
been in Seattle with a retractable roof," Dellucci said. "There's
plenty of teams down South. Tampa's got a dome. It needs to be
taken into consideration in the near future."
Sabathia, who was scheduled to start Monday, will pitch Tuesday
against Ervin Santana.
"It is weird waking up one day and saying, 'We're going to play
three games in Milwaukee,'" said Sabathia, who walked into the
clubhouse in a brown winter coat. "It's going to be tough."
Milwaukee is billing the series between the Indians and the
Angels as the return of American League baseball to the city.
The last AL game in Milwaukee was the Baltimore Orioles'
7-6 victory over the Brewers on Sept. 28, 1997, at County Stadium.
Milwaukee moved to the
National League the following season.