Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor
Snow and cold temperatures might make for great “football weather,” but they are not conducive for playing baseball.
The Cleveland Indians (1-2) opened the season on Friday, falling to the White Sox 15-10. Saturday didn’t look any better, dropping the game 8-3. The Indians recorded their first win of the season behind pitcher Justin Masterson, 7-1 on Sunday.
Just two days earlier the Indians faced the Columbus Clippers in an exhibition game that featured more snow than baseball.
“Everybody here has had their fair share of cold games, so we’re prepared for it,” said Indians outfielder and former Clipper Shelley Duncan. “Once you get out there, you don’t feel cold at all. It’s all the adrenaline of the game.”
The Class Triple-A Clippers took on their parent club at Huntington Park, but their most daunting opponent was the combination of 30-degree temperatures and snow flurries.
After 2 1/2 innings, Clippers President and General Manager Ken Schnacke announced to the crowd that the game would be canceled because of player safety concerns.
The warning track was covered with snow, and the constant flurries made it tough for players to see the ball coming off the bat.
Duncan did not play.
“Luckily, I wasn’t out there,” he said. “Jordan (Brown) had a hard time, but Austin (Kearns) made it look like a piece of cake.”
In the top of the third inning, Brown, a Clippers outfielder, overran a fly ball while ranging to his left and had to reach behind his back to make the catch.
Clippers second baseman Jason Kipnis said the conditions allowed him to have fun at his outfielders’ expense.
“(Luis) Valbuena and I fooled with the outfielders on one of the foul balls,” he said. “We pretended like it was hit in one of the gaps, and they were like: ‘Where is it? Where is it?’ It was funny.”
Kipnis, an Illinois native, said the snow didn’t bother him.
“Coming from the Midwest, I’m a lot more used to it than some of the people here,” he said. “By the second inning, people were starting to warm up, and once you get a little blood flowing, it’s not that bad.”
The fans were not left out in the cold, so to speak. Fans who had tickets to the game can receive the dollar value of the ticket they purchased against the amount of a ticket to a future Clippers home game.
Columbus native John Botkin received free tickets to the game.
“They were given to me, so I didn’t mind coming out,” he said. “Little disappointed they canceled the game, but it’s understandable with player safety as the biggest issue here.”
Botkin, 54, described himself as a lifelong Indians fan.
“I don’t get up to Cleveland to see them very often, maybe once a year,” he said. “It was rare opportunity to see them in Columbus.”
This was the first time the Indians played their Triple-A farm club in Columbus. The Clippers became a Cleveland affiliate in 2009.
The Clippers have not yet announced plans to play future exhibition games against the Indians in Columbus. However, the Clippers are slated to play the Buckeyes on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m.