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HomeSportsA Rare Solar Eclipse Aligns with The Guardians' Home Opener

A Rare Solar Eclipse Aligns with The Guardians’ Home Opener

— Befuddled birds will start chirping. Drivers trapped in a boundless traffic snarl will halt their honking. The temperature will plunge. Sluggers swatting batting practice tosses at will pause for a cosmic intermission.
At 3:13 p.m. ET on April 8, the springtime sky above downtown Cleveland will host a total solar eclipse, as the moon’s shadow sweeps across the middle of the country and eclipse chasers scramble to locate the perfect spot to witness the spectacle.
The orbits of the sun, the Earth and the moon will align so that the moon blocks out the full disc of the sun, casting darkness along a path that will extend from Mexico to Dallas to Little Rock to Indianapolis to Cleveland to Buffalo to Caribou, Maine. The phenomenon occurs every 18-24 months, but usually over vast oceans or uninhabited regions like Antarctica.
This one is headed for the spotlight, and it’s also on a collision course with the Cleveland Guardians’ home opener.
For two years, Cleveland officials have planned for an event in which the ensemble carries out its performance millions of miles from the front-row seats on Lake Erie’s shore. The showcase is expected to attract visitors to Cleveland from Canada, France, Ireland and Zimbabwe, plus states near and far. The city won’t land in the path of totality again until 2444.
To grant the Guardians an extension for their ongoing ballpark renovations, the league booked them a three-city, 11-day trip through Oakland, Seattle and Minneapolis to start the regular season. They’re one of three teams, along with the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, following that sequence, but they’re the only one with celestial complications.
The Guardians are now faced with a decision: Do they host their home opener that day, or that night, or shortly after the three-minute, 49-second phase of totality when day masquerades as night?
“Everybody talks about where they were when the Cavs won the championship,” said Chris Hartenstine, an education coordinator at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. “Everybody can say, ‘I was in the arena,’ ‘I was at the watch party,’ ‘I was watching with friends.’ This is one of those moments. It’s in science, not necessarily sports. The cool thing about the Guardians is you can get a little bit of both. ‘I was there on Opening Day when the eclipse happened.’”
The preparation for April 8, 2024, for many, began on Aug. 21, 2017, the date of the last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. That’s when Cleveland restaurant owner Sam McNulty first entered a reminder on his phone’s calendar. Now, he’s fast-tracking the completion of a rooftop bar at to accommodate the out-of-towners who have reserved tables for April 8.
For some, it started a bit earlier.
“I’ve been thinking about 2024 since I was a kid,” said Mike Kentrianakis, who has witnessed 14 total solar eclipses since 1979 from Indonesia, Chile, Gabon, Australia, China, Russia, Greece, Aruba, Canada, and — while over the Scotia Sea — north of the Antarctic Peninsula.
He watched the 2017 eclipse from Carbondale, Ill., and at the end of March, he’ll hop in a rental car in Queens, N.Y., and start his 15-hour trek to the same site, the rare city to fall in the path of totality in both 2017 and 2024.
“I’ll do anything for an eclipse,” Kentrianakis said.

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