Cleveland has some pretty nice weather in the summer. It’s not paradise or anything, but it’s always several degrees cooler up there by the lake than it is down here in the middle of the Great State of Ohio. Indeed, summer nights in Cleveland are quite underrated.
Despite this, the Indians just don’t draw fans anymore, so they’re looking for any new revenue source that they can find. Here’s a new one: trying to get people who won’t come out to the park on beautiful Cleveland summer nights to come out during Cleveland’s brutal winter:
The Indians this offseason are turning Progressive Field into a winter
theme park with an aim toward boosting ballpark revenue on days when it
is normally closed. Indians Snow Days will begin Nov. 26, the day after
Thanksgiving, and extend until Jan. 2. The club will build a snow tubing
hill, ice skating track, a kids’ snow mountain and ice rink, and
walking trail. The team will use 150 tons of man-made snow per day to
supplement what occurs naturally, resulting in more than 5,000 tons over
the run of the event.
I hope they build the tubing hill really high. So high that the snow takes a long time to melt. So long that, on Opening Day 2011, Fausto Carmona or whoever has to pitch next to one of those icy snow-crud hills like you see in your grocery store parking lot a month after that big blizzard hit and the temperatures warmed up.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.