Tribe understands fan frustration with OD delay

Antonetti says Indians, Red Sox made postponement decision with safety in mind

Tribe understands fan frustration with OD delay

CLEVELAND -- A few hours before Monday's planned opener against the Red Sox, Indians manager Terry Francona was emphatic in his insistence that Opening Day would go on as scheduled. Sub-freezing temperatures, issues with the field and increasing precipitation changed things.

Prior to Tuesday's rescheduled contest against Boston, both Francona and Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti met with reporters to discuss the decision to postpone Monday's opener. They sympathized with fans upset with the postponement, but said the conditions at Progressive Field left little choice in the matter.

"Opening Day is an important day," Antonetti said on Tuesday. "[It's] a special day for all of us, our coaching staff, players, front office and, most importantly, our fans. We had to make a really difficult decision yesterday in postponing the game, not one we did lightly. We certainly understand our fans' frustration and disappointment with not playing yesterday. We share that.

"We wanted to play. We came in yesterday thinking we were going to play. That was our expectation all along. We knew it was going to be cold. We were prepared to play in the cold. What happened is, as the course of the day unfolded, the conditions continued to worsen."

Antonetti noted that he met not only with Francona, but with front-office members of the Red Sox, along with Boston manager John Farrell and John Hirschbeck, the umpire crew chief, before reaching the decision to postpone Monday's game. When the game was officially called, the wind chill in Cleveland made it feel like 18 degrees, and earlier snow flurries created icy conditions on the playing field.

While it remained cold on Tuesday, the sun was out and there was no precipitation expected.

"We felt it got to the point of potentially being unsafe," Antonetti said. "We got to the point where everyone felt it wasn't prudent to play yesterday, especially with the forecast today still being cold, but most importantly, being dry. We recognize the disappointment and frustration of our fans. We can't replace Opening Day. We understand that.

"We know people made arrangements to take off work and travel in for Opening Day. We're very cognizant of that. 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."

The Indians created a ticket-exchange policy for fans who were both able and unable to attend Tuesday afternoon's makeup contest, offering multiple ticket packages for those who could not make it to the game. Details of the program can be found at Indians.com/schedulechanges.

Before Monday's postponement, Francona declared: "We're going to play."

The manager said he clearly jumped the gun with that statement.

"I think it got to a point where maybe stubbornness starts to take over," Francona said. "Talking to officials from the Red Sox and the umpires, we were getting into an area that probably wasn't good. If I led people astray, that was not the intent. I fully expected we were going to play. It just got a little bit too much."

Farrell agreed that it was the right decision.

"I think so," Farrell said. "There might be some people who debate that, but we knew today was going to be a much-improved day of weather, and it's proven to be so. You have to push pause on the anticipation of that scheduled Opening Day, but here we are today."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.