Snowed-Out Indians Go to Milwaukee to Play Ball The Cleveland Indians move their "home" opener in Milwaukee after a snowstorm blankets Cleveland. A crowd of 13,000 turned out at Miller Park to see the Tribe beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 7-6.
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Snowed-Out Indians Go to Milwaukee to Play Ball

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Snowed-Out Indians Go to Milwaukee to Play Ball

Snowed-Out Indians Go to Milwaukee to Play Ball

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The Cleveland Indians won last night. They beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - that's their full name, by the way, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - seven to six. It was the Indians' home opener. But the game was not in Cleveland, where the ballpark has been covered in snow since the weekend. It would have been the Indians against the snow angels. Instead, the Indians-Angels series was moved more than 400 miles away to Milwaukee, under the dome at Miller Park.

Erin Toner reports from member station WUWM on a home opener with no home team.

ERIN TONER: After snow forced Cleveland to stop its home opener one strike short of a full game last Friday, the team decided you can't fight Mother Nature.

They asked baseball commissioner Bud Selig if they could move their three-game series with the Angels to Milwaukee, the home of the Brewers. They play in a heated stadium with a retractable roof. Angels manager Mike Scioscia went along with the idea, even though the teams haven't said yet how to divvy up the profits and expenses of the series.

Mr. MIKE SCIOSCIA (Manager, Anaheim Angels): We played there in 2002. We have a lot of, you know, a lot of good memories to come here and play. It's a terrific ballpark, great facilities, the fans are great.

TONER: And the turnout was pretty good. The turnstiles at Miller Park spun past everyone's expectations. More than 13,000 people bought $10 tickets for the game. Indians spokesman Bart Swain says the team was expecting a much smaller turnout.

Mr. BART SWAIN (Spokesman, Cleveland Indians): You know what? We were talking last night on the way to the airport. We were joking, you know, how many people, and my guess was a thousand. And one of my guys said 10,000.

Unidentified Announcer: Tonight's play ball kid is nine-year-old Nicholas Casper(ph) from (unintelligible).

Mr. NICHOLAS CASPER: Play ball!

TONER: Officials with the Milwaukee Brewers say most of the fans here are local people who wanted a good seat at a cheap price. And many in the crowd say they grew up in Cleveland as Indians fans and now live in Milwaukee.

Patty Bigelow(ph) and her husband said family members back home in Cleveland encouraged them to come out and support the Indians.

Ms. PATTY BIGELOW(ph): It's really amazing for a Clevelander like me to be here and say that we went to the Cleveland Indians home opener in Milwaukee without having to leave town.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

TONER: The Cleveland fans went wild when the Indians scored a home run in the second inning. The fans look and sound like a Cleveland crowd, but it's taking me a while to actually find some diehard fans who made the eight-hour drive from Cleveland to Milwaukee. But after a few innings, Chad Queen(ph) from Cleveland hurried through the gates to watch his tribe take on the Angels.

Mr. CHAD QUEEN: How often do you get to do this? I mean, they're not even playing in Cleveland. So why not just come here? I've always wanted to go to Milwaukee, too, so it's kind of a nice excuse to come.

TONER: Your buddies say you skipped work today.

Mr. QUEEN: I did. I did. I hope they don't show me on SportsCenter or anything, because I don't want to lose my job.

ET: David Hoffman and his son, Andrew, also made the drive from Cleveland. Hoffman said he hasn't missed an Indians home game in 20 years. He was at last Friday's game, the one that was called off because of the weather.

Mr. DAVID HOFFMAN: We were there Friday, one strike away from a win. We got called off, so we've come up to Milwaukee today. Yeah, we're diehard. We don't want to miss the first pitch, honey.

TONER: Okay. See you.

Mr. HOFFMAN: Bye-bye.

TONER: They did miss the first pitch, but they caught the last seven innings of a Cleveland win.

For NPR News, I'm Erin Toner in Milwaukee.

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