The Indians have released their promotional schedule for the 2015 season. While the team itself, which features the reigning Cy Young winner, an MVP finalist, arguably the best catcher in the American League, and the guy who draws walks at a better clip than anyone in baseball (which is what the fans are mostly there to see, right?), and has finished with a winning record two years in a row, should be a big enough draw to attract decent crowds, but we all know that won't be the case, in part because the economy still isn't in great shape, sports look great on HDTV, and Browns training camp is only six months away.
So, in order to try and get a few more butts through the turnstiles, Progressive Field is undergoing a number of changes aimed at making it an even better spot to spend an afternoon or evening, and the team is giving away various trinkets throughout the year, things that'd look good hanging on your office wall, or sitting on your child's dresser.
By order of law, the Indians will give away magnetic schedules at the home opener, which falls on Friday, April 10 this year. That's the only giveaway planned during the first month of the season, as the team is either hoping the stadium upgrades will draw people in, or they're just punting April and hoping to draw crowds once the ice thaws in May.
Sunday, May 3 is the first KeyBank Kids Fun Day, with pretty much every home Sunday afternoon game for the remainder of the season also providing kids with the opportunity get their picture taken with Slider, run the bases, and open an IRA.
Friday, May 8 is the first of 15 Sugardale Dollar Dog nights. Most of them are Fridays, but there are a few other days of the week involved this season too. Nine hot dogs in nine innings is always a worthy goal on Dollar Dog Night. Also, June 5 is Dollar Soda Night. A good deal is a good deal, but don't try to drink nine of them in nine innings. As someone who once drank 11 Dr. Pepper's in 2 hours and 20 minutes, I speak from experience.
This year marks twenty years since the Indians ran over the American League on their way to the team's first postseason appearance since 1954. On Saturday, May 9 the first 10,000 fans will receive a AL Champions pennant. When I was a kid, pennants were still a thing, but it feels like a throwback item to me now. Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20 a number of players from the '95 team will be in attendance, so if there's something you've been wanting to yell ay Paul Sorrento, this might be your opportunity. At the Saturday game they're giving away a t-shirt too. Monday, June 22, the first 10,00 fans will receive a replica of Mike Hargrove's 1995 jersey. Cool, I guess, but who wants to wear the manager's uniform? The final ;95 promo comes on Saturday, July 11, when the first 15,000 fans get a replica Sandy Alomar jersey.
Friday, May 22 brings the first fireworks show of the season. June 5, June 19, July 10, July 24, July 25, August 28, August 29, September 11, September 12, and October 3 also feature postgame fireworks. Plus, August 7 and 8 feature Rock 'N Blask. I'll be honest, I think this is too many fireworks. In my day you got fireworks on the 4th of July, and if someone accidentally set off the grand finale five minutes into the show, that was that.
- May 12: Indians tote bag
- May 23: Red replica 1975 jersey
- May 27: Weather Education Book - This is the big one people. Get there early because the kids will be lined up around the block!
- June 6: Corey Kluber bobblehead
- June 7: Kids t-shirt (you can try to fit into it though)
- June 21: Kids cap (you could wear it like a beanie)
- July 8: Carlos Santana bobblehead
- August 8: Michael Brantley bobblehead
- August 11: 1948 Bob Feller replica jersey
- August 26: fan-designed t-shirt
- August 29: Yan Gomes replica jersey
- September 12: Terry Francona (on his scooter) bobblehead
Last to be mentioned, but first in terms of coolness:
On Saturday July 25 the Indians will unveil a new statue of Indians legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby. The first 12,500 fans in attendance will also receive a miniature replica of the statue. When Jim Thome was given a statue last season, there were many who believed Doby was more deserving of the honor. I was among those who thought they both ought to have one, and now they will. I look forward to seeing the design for this one, and if I can get to Cleveland that weekend to see it in person, all the better.