TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — There will be a ceremonial first pitch, player introductions and the usual pomp and pageantry.
However, something will be missing Tuesday when the Cleveland Indians play the Boston Red Sox.
“We can’t replace opening day,” Indians President Chris Antonetti said.
Amid pointed criticism for the team’s decision to postpone Monday’s season opener because of cold weather, Antonetti said the Indians had little choice to call the game because of the unseasonable weather, a worsening forecast and the potential for unsafe field conditions.
“We had to make a really difficult decision yesterday in postponing the game, not one we did lightly,” Antonetti told reporters before Tuesday’s Opening Day Part II. “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.”
With temperatures in the low 30s and whipping winds making it feel like 18 degrees, the Indians called the game as thousands of fans — dressed in heavy winter gear — waited at the gates of Progressive Field. A forecast for light rain or snow would have made it potentially hazardous for the Indians and Red Sox to take the field.
If the Indians had played, Antonetti said it would have been in the coldest conditions in the major leagues in the past 15 years. Antonetti met with members of Boston’s front office, Red Sox manager John Farrell, umpire John Hirschbeck and his own front office before deciding to move the opener to Tuesday.
“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,” Antonetti said. “We recognize the disappointment and frustration of our fans. 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 announced a revised ticket exchange policy for fans, who can attend Tuesday’s makeup game and another home game in April or May. If fans can’t make Tuesday’s game, they can attend any two home games in April or May.
The “second’ home opener will be played under sunny skies with temperature only expected to climb into the mid-30s.
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