By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: The Indians released their 2014 schedule, which is more fan friendly than this year’s but not exactly a dazzler.
The Tribe will open the season March 31 against the Athletics in Oakland and then return to Progressive Field for the home opener against the Minnesota Twins on April 4.
As usual, Major League Baseball did Northeast Ohio fans no favor.
The two biggest American League draws, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, will play only one series each in Cleveland. But at least both clubs will make their appearance in warmer months, and the Red Sox will be here for the weekend.
That four-game set will begin June 12 and conclude June 15, which probably will give the Tribe a boost in attendance if for no other reason than fans from New England — who have difficulty getting tickets to Fenway Park — can make the trip.
The Yankees will visit Progressive Field from July 7-10 in a weekday series.
This season, both the Bronx Bombers and the Sox played here in April, neither on a weekend.
As was the case this year, the rivalry matchup against a National League club is scheduled to garner minimal attention for each team. The Cincinnati Reds will play in Cleveland Aug. 4-5, and the Indians will travel to Cincinnati for games Aug. 6-7. None of the games will be played on the weekend.
In the prime drawing months of June, July and August — when the weather is pleasant and school is out of session — the Tribe will play 37 games at home and 42 on the road.
On the other hand, if the Indians are in the race, September is the month to be at Progressive Field. The Tribe will play 16 of 26 games at home and be visited by the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Twins, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays.
In addition to engaging the Reds, the Indians will play 16 games against the NL West. Unfortunately for local fans, the teams the public wants to see most won’t be showing up at Progressive Field.
The Tribe plays the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road. The San Diego Padres come to Cleveland in April, the Colorado Rockies at the end of May and the Arizona Diamondbacks for two games in August. The Indians also play two games in Arizona in June.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.