Nothing can eclipse excitement for CLE home opener -- not even a total eclipse

April 7th, 2024

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When Guardians starter Triston McKenzie is in the clubhouse before Cleveland’s home opener on Monday, he’ll have plenty of time to make his shoebox to view the total solar eclipse.

The Guardians announced that the first pitch of their home opener against the White Sox will be at 5:10 p.m. ET, when the effects of the eclipse should no longer be noticeable in the Northeast Ohio area.

But for fans hoping to witness the huge event from the ballpark, gates at Progressive Field will be open at 2 p.m., well before total darkness should fall upon Cleveland from 3:13 p.m. until 3:17 p.m., according to NASA’s research. And fans aren’t the only ones looking forward to witnessing history.

“I’m excited for it,” said McKenzie, who ended up drawing the start after the Guardians' series finale against the Twins was rained out on Sunday. “I think it’s like one of the only times we’re not allowed on the field from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., or something like that. That’s one of the weirdest reasons that I’ve ever gotten to not be on the field.”

The Guardians posted a warning from the City of Cleveland about the significant traffic expected on April 8 due to the solar phenomenon. And anyone planning to spot up in the downtown area will be able to head over to the ballpark after the completion of the eclipse to watch the Guardians host the White Sox. Those who are looking to get tickets (to the home opener or any of the other 80 home games this season) can do so at

“I think people are going to be generally super excited about it in the city,” McKenzie said. “I think there’s going to be a large influx like in downtown and people just wanting to watch it, as well as people coming to the ballpark to watch it.”

McKenzie remembers witnessing the last total solar eclipse in 2017 on a day off during his Minor League season. But never has he seen one that will happen as his team is preparing to take the field.

“I don’t know, it’s kind of a mystery to me,” McKenzie said. “I’m excited for it.”

According to NASA’s research, the next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the United States will be on Aug. 23, 2044. To safely view a solar eclipse, one must wear special glasses. Only during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face, can spectators momentarily remove their glasses during the four-minute period of complete darkness, according to guidelines from NASA.

McKenzie joked that he should make his own viewing device out of a shoebox in his spare time leading up to the event. Whether he manages to pull that off or obtains proper viewing glasses elsewhere, he’ll be ready to pop outside of the clubhouse at some point before first pitch to witness history.

“The fact that it’s something that you don’t get to see very often,” McKenzie said, “but the fact that we’ll be able to watch it and play our game and not have everything get cancelled, will be a sight to see.”