Tribe Fest, a one-day oasis of baseball during this otherwise frigid and bleak Northeast Ohio winter, is fast approaching. And this year, organizers say a change of scenery for the Jan. 20 festival should further enhance the overall experience for fans.
“We’re hoping to get more first-time fans out there this year,” said Indians Assistant Communications Director Joel Hammond.
Now in its sixth year, the event has changed locations multiple times due to offseason construction at Progressive Field. Originally held indoors at the ballpark, the festival took place at Aloft Cleveland Hotel in 2016 and the Cleveland Clinic’s Intercontinental Hotel in 2017.
In the past, a $35 autograph session ticket was a fan’s best bet to get up close to an Indians player, but that’s not the case anymore, Hammond said.
The additional space will allow Tribe players to interact with fans at different locations when they are not signing autographs. A variety of new stations, including pitching, hitting and bunting cages will let fans test their skills throughout the day. And in the middle of the room: a full 90-foot diamond featuring tutorials with players and the Indians’ Youth Baseball Development staff.
There’s always a chance that Andrew Miller could give you a few pointers around the speed pitch machine, or you can grab a quick selfie with Bradley Zimmer after a base running demo.
“It’s definitely worth the money, even if you don’t have an autograph ticket,” Hammond said. “The opportunity to interact with players is going to be higher than ever.”
Hammond said the team has already sold about 10,000 general admission tickets for the event, which is more than the total of about 8,000 tickets sold for both sessions last year. (You can get tickets online here
Tribe Fest 2018 includes an exclusive early-morning session for season ticket holders from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and a 1:30-7:30 p.m. session for non-season ticket holders.
Below are some of the activities and events that fans can expect at the event.
Here's what's new (it's a lot)
The event will feature several new attractions laid out over more than 200,000 square feet at the Convention Center. The first-time offerings include:
A 90- x 90-foot Baseball Diamond where players will appear throughout the day
Separate Kids Stage where players will also appear
Indians players scheduled to appear
The main draw of Tribe Fest is always the chance for fans to get close to their favorite Indians players, and Tribe Fest 2018 is no exception. More than two dozen Indians and Tribe alumni will be on hand for the event.
Those scheduled to appear include: Cody Allen, Greg Allen, Yonder Alonso, Trevor Bauer, Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, Yandy Diaz, Yan Gomes, Nick Goody, Brandon Guyer, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Zach McAllister, Francisco Mejia, Andrew Miller, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero, Jose Ramirez, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin, Bradley Zimmer, Terry Francona.
Indians Alumni scheduled to attend: Brian Anderson, Marquis Grissom, Sam McDowell.
Kids Stage adds more fun for young fans
Tribe Fest has always been a kid-friendly event, and this year the club is expanding the event’s offerings for youngsters to include a separate Kids Stage area with appearances by Slider and the Dogs (the mascot’s band) as well as Magician Rick Smith and the Indians dance team the Strikers. Tribe players will also appear from time to time reading books and answering questions from young fans.
Tickets are still available
Hammond said the early morning session and morning autograph session for season ticket holders is nearly sold out. The non-season ticket holder session still has general admission tickets available, while the autograph session tickets are also close to selling out.