Major League Baseball is returning to Indianapolis for the first time in more than two decades.
On April 2, the Cincinnati Reds will play the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhibition game at Victory Field on the west edge of downtown.
Officials for the Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates' AAA minor league affiliate, have been working with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to slate the game for nearly two years.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Indians officials feel confident the game will be big draw at the 14,200-seat venue.
Tickets for the game went on sale at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Ticket prices are $32 for box seats, $24 for reserved seats and $20 in the lawn, and are on sale through the Indians website IndyIndians.com.
“We’re really pleased to bring this game to the baseball fans of central Indiana, but we feel this game will draw folks from a lot further away than central Indiana,” said Indians Vice President Cal Burleson. “This game will be among the premier professional baseball attractions ever held in central Indiana.”
“Our first priority was to have a game featuring the Pirates since so many of our players play for them,” Burleson added. “When we looked, we looked at other teams that had a good local fan base, and no doubt the Reds have a great fan base here.”
The Reds were the Indians MLB parent club in 1968–1983 and 1993–1999. The Reds used to play an annual exhibition game with the Indians during the regular season, but MLB put an end to those games in the early 1990s.
The Reds-Indians games during the heyday of the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and 1980s were immensely popular with local baseball fans.
“We’re looking forward to returning to Victory Field this spring,” said Walt Jocketty, Reds president of baseball operations. “Our relationship with the team in Indianapolis as an affiliate dates back 75 years. Our fan base remains strong in that part of the state.”
“The Pirates are thrilled to play in front of the outstanding fans of the Indianapolis Indians in Victory Field, one of the very best ballparks in Minor League Baseball,” said Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “The Indians are a first-class organization with an outstanding ownership group and front office staff and great fans who consistently fill Victory Field for Indians games.
"Being able to play our division rival Cincinnati Reds in Indianapolis is the perfect way to celebrate the extension of our long-standing affiliation with the Indians organization, its fans and the entire Indianapolis community.”
The Tribe has been the Pirates’ AAA affiliate since 2005. On Oct. 27, the organizations announced a four-year player development contract extension through the 2020 season with Pittsburgh.
Burleson said the Indians signed one-year deals with the Pirates and Reds to host the exhibition game. It is unclear if an MLB game will become an annual event at Victory Field.