The standard starting time for weeknight home games at Progressive Field has been 7:05, but in 2015, the standard will be 7:10. That seems a little odd to me (many other teams usually begin at ten after, but either way it feels like a 7:00 start to me, and once I tune in I'd rather the game get started right away), but because it's only five minutes, I don't really care.
More notably though, for five games during the first six weeks of the season, the Indians will start things off at 6:10. Here are those games:
- Monday, April 27 vs. the Royals
- Tuesday, April 28 vs. the Royals
- Wednesday, April 29 vs. the Royals
- Tuesday, May 12 vs. the Cardinals
- Wednesday, May 13 vs. the Cardinals
The team says the change is being made "in order to avoid potential cold weather conflicts," and you can be sure it has something to do with trying to increase attendance. In that regard, I think it's probably a wise move.
There are a few fans who'll have trouble making that early a start, but those fans still have dozens of other games to choose from. This change gives other fans an option they haven't had before.
For one thing, those are all school nights, and starting an hour early means ending an hour early, and the difference between a 9:00 finish and a 10:00 finish is pretty significant in terms of the number of family's who probably consider that a reasonable time to be out until with their children.
For another thing, more folks who work downtown might decide to head over to the ballpark after quitting time if they didn't have to find a way to kill an hour first.
I'm sure there are other factors that haven't occurred to me, but I think this is a wise experiment. It doesn't seem possible that it could hurt , given how weak early-season attendance figures have been in recent years, so the worst case scenario is that it doesn't make any real difference.
For those of you in the Cleveland area, does this impact your likelihood of attending any of those five games?