Indians Opening Day: same game, different experience

No fans, other changes as Indians begin 2020 season
Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 12:23 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The scoreboard reads “2020 Opening Day” but that’s one of the few things that remains the same this season.

“To start, we’re not going to have any fans in the ballpark,” said Austin Controulis, Manager of Communications for the Indians.

To help, the Indians are trying to add some excitement to the empty park with some special effects.

“Piping in crowd noise so we’re going to have like John Adams drum, you’ll hear the ‘Jose’ chants still, and that’s also for our players, right?” says Controulis. “To try to give them some kind of atmosphere so they’re not playing in this big empty ballpark.”

Some good news: memorabilia for team history will be easier to collect.

“If someone hit a home run, well, once it goes in the crowd, it’s gone but as you can see, we’re not going foreseeable future,” said team historian Jeremy Feador.

For the foreseeable future, players will get tested every other day and they’ll do almost everything outdoors, from eating to working out.

To inspire the players, cardboard cutouts in some empty seats.

“So fifty fans are in the stands as cutouts,” said Controulis. “They’ll be here all season long.”

[ Cleveland Indians figure out ways to fill empty seats for Opening Day as fans watch the game from home ]

Fans won’t be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Indians 1920 World Series victory or the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, including the Cleveland Buckeyes 1945 championship. But getting back to playing ball is important, according to the Indians.

“It’s going to be an exciting season,” said Controulis. “It’s going to be different and different for everybody.”

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