The Cactus League Spring training schedule was announced yesterday, including the Indians and Reds who make their home at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Goodyear Ballpark has been voted best place to see a Spring Training game in Arizona two out of the last three years and with both teams making the play-offs in 2013, tickets will likely be hotter than ever. The Indians will play 15 home games and 17 road games with one day off. The full schedule is available here, but we will point out a few things of interest.
- The Indians will play the Reds the first three games of the season again (2/26-28) as well as on March 17th and 24th. These games are generally designated as Ohio days and have cheaper tickets available. It is also a great chance to see both Ohio teams at one time.
- The regular season is starting early this year (March 22nd) when the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers will play in Australia, so Spring Training will also start early. Instead of early March, Opening Day will be held on February 26th.
- Unlike 2013, when multiple night games were scheduled with fire works, as of now, only one night game will be held. This game is on Tuesday, March 18th against the Giants. Last year, the night game against the Giants broke the Goodyear Ballpark attendance record when 11,023 fans arrived to fill the 10,000 seat stadium.
- If you want to do a tour of the local stadiums, the best week to come would be from March 1st through the 7th. The Indians alternate on the road and at home each game and play in Glendale against the White Sox, in Surprise against the Rangers and again in Peoria against the Mariners. If you are staying on the West side of Phoenix, these are the four closest stadiums.
- The Indians are only scheduled for one split squad game, on March 16th on the road against Chicago and San Francisco.
- If you are coming for a week, but don't want to drive around to the other stadiums, the most home games in a week are from March 9th to the 15th. They play the Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, Royals and Diamondbacks all at home with just two road games against the D-Backs and White Sox.
- In addition to the Giants game, other popular games are likely to be the Cubs (3/6), Dodgers (3/10), Diamondbacks (3/15) and Rangers (3/25).
- The last week of Spring Training, which is generally the time that most resembles the regular season with pitchers throwing up to five innings and starters playing most of the game, will be mostly played on the road. The closest representation of the actual Indians starting line-up will likely be on March 26th, against the Brewers.
- The final two games of the Spring schedule will by played against the Padres at PETCO Park in San Diego.
Overall it looks to be a fun Spring. In addition to the roster that won the American League Wild Card in 2013 that will mostly be returning, the Indians will also see a lot of top prospects Francisco Lindor, Jesus Aguilar and Tyler Naquin during Spring Training. There should be some great positional battles as well with the fifth rotation spot not yet decided and questions surrounding the designated hitter and bench. It will also be the first chance for the Indians to take a look at recent addition, David Murphy and any other free agents that are added prior to next Spring. Best of all, in February in Goodyear it is likely to be at least 70° when it will still be snowing in Cleveland.
Tickets have yet to go on sale, but when they do they can be purchased on the Indians website, at the official website of Goodyear Ballpark, goodyearbp.com, and at the local stadium box office. You can follow @Goodyear_BP on twitter as well to keep up with all the Indians and Reds Spring Training news.