Though it hasn’t had a major-league club in more than 100 years, Indianapolis has a proud baseball history. The Indians franchise was an original member of the American Association in 1902, and 12 different Baseball Hall of Fame inductees have called Indianapolis home as either a player or manager over the years.
They were called the Indianapolis Blues (1878, National League and 1884, American Association), and later the Indianapolis Hoosiers (1887 to 1889, National League).
This year, Victory Field celebrates 20 years as the downtown home of the Indians, now the Triple-A affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 2016 season brings a number of intriguing promotions and deals, including four different Marvel Super Hero nights and several regular discounts.
The on-field product shouldn’t be too bad, either. The Pirates organization boasts three of the top 38 prospects in the game, according to Baseball America, and at least two of those, pitcher Tyler Glasnow and first baseman Josh Bell, will begin the season with the Indians.
“We try to create an opportunity for every fan that comes here that they’ll have a good time no matter whether the team wins or loses when they’re here,” Jon Glesing, the team’s senior communications manager, said.
Box seats: $16
Lawn seats: $10
Coors Light Cove: $38 (21 and over; includes a $10 food and drink voucher)
Ticket prices are reduced by $1 for children 14 and younger.
For more information, visit indyindians.com.
A look at some of the Indianapolis Indians’ major promotions this season:
Opening Night Fireworks and 60-Degree Weather Guarantee (Thursday, April 14 vs. Columbus Clippers, 7:05 p.m.)
Fans will be treated to a postgame fireworks display and receive a free schedule magnet. In addition, if the game-time temperature is not at least 60 degrees, each fan in attendance will get a free ticket to another April game of his or her choice.
Indiana University vs. Notre Dame (Tuesday, April 26, 7 p.m.)
Victory Field belongs to the state’s top college players for the night as the Indiana Hoosiers take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Independence Day Fireworks (Monday, July 4 vs. Louisville Bats, 6:05 p.m.)
In addition to a large July 4 fireworks display after the game, the Indians will give out rally towels to the first 12,500 fans through the gates.
20th Anniversary Celebration (Friday, July 8 vs. Toledo Mud Hens, 7:15 p.m.)
To celebrate 20 years of baseball in downtown Indy (the actual anniversary is July 7, but the Indians are on the road), the team will be signing autographs from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. and the first 2,500 fans will receive a replica stadium complete with working lights. There also will be fireworks after the game.
Marvel Super Hero Nights
Marvel will send its finest heroes to Victory Field to meet and sign autographs, and the first 2,500 fans will receive a bobblehead doll of that night’s visitor. There will be four different Super Hero Nights during the season, all on Saturdays:
April 30: Captain America
May 21: Iron Man
June 25: The Hulk
Aug. 6: The Flash
On four different Saturdays during the season, the gates will open early and the first 500 fans will be given a wristband good for an autograph from a former major league star:
May 7: Ryne Sandberg
June 11: Billy Williams
July 30: David Eckstein
An everyday thing
Regular season-long promotions this season at Louisville Slugger field:
Sundays: Kids Eat Free (children 14 and under receive a free hot dog, chips and bottled water)
Mondays: Monday Dollar Menu (hot dogs, peanuts, regular or caramel popcorn and Cape Cod Potato Chips all $1)
Tuesdays: 2-For-1 Tuesdays (fans can get a voucher at any Central Indiana McAlister’s Deli allowing them to purchase two tickets for the price of one)
Wednesdays: Wednesday Day Games (matinee start times, usually either 11:05 a.m. or 1:35 p.m.)
Fridays: Postgame fireworks display (following most home games beginning May 6)
Movin’ on up
Who might you see in an Indians uniform this season? A look at the top prospects in the Pirates organization, according to Baseball America:
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, 6-8, 225 pounds, age 22
Baseball America’s No. 14 prospect overall, Glasnow should reach the majors sometime this year, but he’ll start the season in Indy. In eight games with the Indians last year, he was 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA, striking out 48 in just 41 innings.
Austin Meadows, OF, 6-3, 220 pounds, age 20
Meadows, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft, was just moved up to Double-A Altoona late last season but should make it to Indianapolis sometime in 2016, provided a recent orbital bone fracture caused by a ball to the face doesn’t delay his progress.
Josh Bell, 1B, 6-2, 245 pounds, age 23
Bell made the move up to Triple-A late last season and fared well, batting .347 in 35 games with the Indians. The former outfielder is a good bet to be called up to Pittsburgh in September, if not sooner.
Harold Ramirez, OF, 5-10, 210 pounds, age 21
The fleet-footed Ramirez batted .337 and stole 22 bases in 80 games at Class A Bradenton last season. He’ll begin this year at Double-A Altoona but could very well finish it in Indianapolis.