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MLB shortchanging Guardians and their fans with 2024 schedule | Jeff Schudel

Apr. 24—Maybe Paul Dolan forgot to send MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred a Christmas card in 2022. Or maybe baseball still holds a grudge because it took so long for Cleveland's team to discard "Indians" for another nickname.

Or maybe the baseball bigwigs simply have no regard for the passion fans in Cleveland have for good baseball.

Whatever the case, baseball did the Guardians and their followers no favors by scheduling the Yankees and Red Sox to make their only 2024 visits to Cleveland in April. And those aren't the only flaws in this year's slate of games.

"The Cle disrespect just keeps going. SMH," Parma Poppa posted on X.

The Yankees and Red Sox are normally big draws when they visit Progressive Field in warm weather. Fans of the New York and Boston teams visit, often wearing the jerseys of the team they support, and they are often obnoxious. That's part of the deal. Guardians fans get loud and proud. Fans of both teams enjoy the back-and-forth that goes on between them. Big crowds make the games more intense. Players feed off the emotions their fans express.

The Red Sox were at Progressive Field on April 23 for the start of a three-game series. It rained all day, but, miraculously, the game started on time. The announced paid attendance was 13,543. There were probably fewer than 13,000 toes in the building.

The Guardians, trailing 1-0 in the middle of the seventh inning, scored twice in the bottom of the seventh and twice in the bottom of the eighth to win, 4-1. It would have been so much more enjoyable had Progressive Field been packed. But April evenings are often chilly and damp, so the fact the crowd was tiny was no surprise.

The Red Sox and Guardians played again April 24. Frigid temperatures made for a sparse crowd again. The series concludes at 1 p.m. April 25, then the Red Sox won't be in town again until 2025. The Yankees made their visit April 12-14.

Baseball schedules for 2024 were announced on July 13, 2023. Game times were released on Jan. 10.

Schedules are computer-generated, but teams first offer input about preferred dates. Guardians officials would not comment for this column, but they certainly did not say, "It would be awesome if the Yankees and Red Sox are here in April!"

The 2024 season isn't unique. The Yankees were at Progressive Field from April 10-12 last year. The Red Sox, in full disclosure, were here June 6-8.

The Ohio Cup series between the Reds and Guardians, with two games in Cincinnati and two in Cleveland, have potential for big draws. The games in Cincinnati are June 11 and 12 — a Tuesday and Wednesday, when the weather is potentially warm and kids are out of school. Cincinnati doesn't play in Cleveland until Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Wednesday, Sept. 25.

"Real life 'Major League,'" Jaye A posted on X.

The Detroit Tigers visit Progressive Field twice. Think either visit is on a weekend? Nope. They are here May 6-8, a Monday Tuesday, Wednesday visit and again July 22-25 in a Monday-Thursday bout.

The Mets might be a good draw if they played on the weekend. Instead, they are here May 20-22, another Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

The Chicago Cubs — same story. They're in Cleveland for three games beginning Aug. 12.

The Guardians host weekend series with the Angels and Twins in May, the Nationals and Blue Jays in June, the Giants and Padres in July, plus the Orioles, Rangers and Pirates in August. Their home weekend opponents in September are the Tampa Bay Rays (Sept. 12-15) and the Houston Astros (Sept. 27-29) to close the season. Maybe another chance to boo Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman will inspire fans to visit Progressive Field one last time in the regular season.

"Typical MLB," TG Van Horne posted on X.. "They will do anything possible to screw things up."

Meanwhile, the Guardians, 17-6 before April 24, are in first place in the American League Central Division with the best record in baseball.