Progressive Field – Cleveland Indians
Feeling the Tribe Pride
There’s just something about baseball in the Midwest – Progressive field, formerly Jacobs Field, was built in the era of baseball stadiums being built as cathedrals. That said, it aged quickly, but the team didn’t let age make the game day experience any less enjoyable. A total renovation of the outfield and concessions areas, as well as the addition of a museum in the outfield, make what was once looking a bit drab completely new again. The team is also playing like a title contender year after year, making the crowds return and the atmosphere feel like it is October every night in Cleveland.
Food & Beverage 5
If you want it, Progressive Field has it. The lower bowl allows you to walk the entire circumference of the field, so you can access the various concessions all over the facility. Everything is affordably priced for the food you get, and well worth it.
In the outfield behind the right field line, you will find The Corner. Here, a multi-level brewery allows you to get the best of Cleveland and Ohio’s local brews, as well as your national favorites, all while watching the game on the numerous TVs inside, or from the patio upstairs.
Beyond The Corner, you will find concessions stands that contain the best food from restaurants in various suburbs of Cleveland. From Ohio City to the East Side, each area has a booth from local restaurants and breweries like Fat Heads, Momocho, Ohio City Burrito, and more, including a Great Lakes Brewing Co. concessions stand behind the main concourse.
There’s a buzz in the air in Cleveland again. The 2016 AL Champs are pounding on the door of their elusive first title since the 40’s, and the feeling in the stands echoes that.
The seats all have backs to them, except in the outfield bleachers. During games, the drums are beat by local favorite John Adams, who has been beating the drum from the bleachers at Indians games since 1973, rarely missing a game. The stadium is walkable and comfortable, feeling both classic and modern in it’s aesthetic. The facility also features a top-notch PA system that never gets drowned out like some sports arenas and stadiums tend to become over time. The scoreboard is fully digital LED now, showing replays, stats, and scores from around the league, meaning even the most diehard baseball fans will have all their details in order with each at bat and stat change.
Downtown Cleveland is not the same as what your parents may remember. The entire area has been fully revitalized, so much so that the city has now become a favorite spot to film movies, including Avengers and Captain America. Where once there were dirty, smelly city streets, there now sit beautifully manicured landscaping, thriving local breweries and restaurants, store fronts, and even a full-sized casino in a historic building next to Tower City mall.
If you need food, look no further than The Winking Lizard or Butcher and the Brewer. East 4th Street is the happening place just a short walk from the stadium, and there you can find numerous restaurants and stores. If you want to be a tourist, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is also not far. If you want something to make you step back in time, walk to The Arcade Cleveland. If you need somewhere to stay while in town, look for the Renaissance Inn by Marriott or the Radisson Hotel Cleveland-Gateway.
The fans in Cleveland are loyal. In one stretch in the 2000’s, they went 455 games without having an empty seat, a sellout streak etched in Cleveland sports history. Rarely do the fans get rowdy or begin slinging curse words at the field, which makes the Indians a very family-friendly facility to bring the whole gang.
Everyone there is decked out in Cleveland Indians gear, and they cheer loud and often. They also are sport-knowledgeable, so if you need a refresher on the team or their stats, feel free to ask your neighbor. All in all, the Indians have one of the most enjoyable fan bases in sports, considering the pain of being so terrible for so many years, or having come so close to titles before, only to fall short.
The biggest difficulty here in Cleveland is parking. There is no on-site parking for fans at the stadium, but there are countless parking garages and lots around the area that offer affordable options.
The best one is across the street next to the Quicken Loans Arena, as the parking garage has a walkway that connects to the stadium itself. Down the street at the Tower City Mall, you can park and then walk underground to the arena, then upstairs to the baseball field. Parking lots and garages around the stadium rarely go over $20, and for those wishing to walk just a few minutes, you can get some prime parking for a low price. Additionally, there are a lot of public transportation options in and around the greater Cleveland metro area, meaning that options for those wishing to save on gas are also plentiful.
Once you get to Progressive Field, there are entrances all around the stadium, so getting in the gate quickly is easy to do once you arrive, no matter where you park or from which direction you are arriving.
Return on Investment 5
The Indians, despite their success and high stature in baseball once again, remain fan-friendly with their ticketing options. Various nights include dollar hot dog nights, countless giveaways, post-game fireworks that rival any in the MLB, and group ticket deals and discounts to make sure that EVERYONE can afford a day out at the ball game with the family. When you also consider the location, convenience of things to do and see around the stadium, its proximity to public transport, and the quality of the product on the field, it is hard to argue against spending your money at Progressive Field when looking at other professional sports franchises around the league.
All over the stadium, various homages are in place, reminding visitors of the Indians’ storied history. From the statues outside to the plaques inside, it is hard to miss Cleveland’s baseball story when walking the halls at Progressive Field.
For those diehard fans in the outfield, the renovation also included moving the bullpens to the same level as the main concourse, so those seated in the outfield and those walking by can stop and watch both the home and away pitchers warm up at eye level during the game.
Also in the outfield is a plaza that memorializes Cleveland’s baseball greats, from MLB to the Negro Leagues. This was also included in the renovation and has become a must-see for baseball addicts.
In addition, Cleveland’s mascot Slider is ever present, visiting kids and posing for photos while also poking fun at the visitors every game.
Finally, for those who want a unique view, the Indians turned their old bullpen in right field into a first-come-first-serve viewing area for the game. Waiting in line for a chance to visit this unique spot is worth it, to see the game from the perspective of the players.
The Indians are a team on the rise again. Widespread success has led them to title contention again, and their fans have made the game day experience in Cleveland a must-see attraction, on par with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland’s sporting counterparts across the street at Quicken Loans Arena.
Progressive Field may be aging, but it has aged beautifully thanks to modern touches and a local-first approach to everything from concessions to fan interactions. Whether you are a casual fan or a die-hard, Progressive Field is a must stop for anyone in the Midwest.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Winking Lizard Tavern
811 Huron Rd East
Cleveland, OH 44115
Residence Inn by Marriott Cleveland Downtown
527 Prospect Ave East
Cleveland, OH 44115
Radisson Hotel Cleveland-Gateway
651 Huron Rd East
Cleveland, OH 44115
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Latest Crowd Reviews
I love the Jake. The overall atmosphere makes it one of my favorite MLB venues. Food and beverage is fantastic and getting better. Melt, The Happy Dog and others are incredible. The 6 burger stand near guest services was a nice find. Kudos to Gary, the usher who told me about it. Great Lakes and other local beers in the District and elsewhere make for a fantastic experience and there’s even an above average BBQ stand in the right field section of the upper deck. Tribe staff are the best I’ve met at any park. Ushers, guest services, team ambassadors, ticket reps, concession workers and others go out of their way to make fans feel welcome. Sometimes they’ll even surprise you. During the 2016 playoffs, one of the ushers worked with a guest services rep to present my cancer-stricken friend with a goodie bag of Indians swag, completely unbeknownst to us. Going that extra mile during the playoffs is beyond description. A different usher brought her a birthday pack on what turned out to be her last birthday. We lost her three months later, but she held on to that one last memory that made the day special. The team has reportedly remodeled the premium club section prior to the 2019 season. In prior years, tickets included food and soft drinks, which was generally pretty good, consisting of ballpark fare and a small, but upscale-ish buffet. There was no direct view of the field from inside the air conditioned club area, but TVs were placed throughout the club area. While it would get crowded before game time on busier days, the club contained significant amounts of seating. The pregame atmosphere in the District and Gateway Plaza is something to experience. Depending on the day, there may be live music or other entertainment on site. It’s not quite the same as tailgating, but is still a nice touch. Take a tour of Heritage Park while you’re there to see the plaques of Indians greats. Cleveland fans are amazing. The ones I’ve encountered tend to party with opposing fans rather than berate them and will appreciate a good play, no matter which team makes it. They’re knowledgeable, realistic and very accommodating. While the mascots (condiment hot dogs) may seem run-of-the-mill, their antics are fairly unique. Ketchup still has a tendency to cheat, but his competitors aren’t afraid of giving him a dose of his own medicine, with help from Slider (the mascot) or even a player at times. The one downside is parking and traffic, both of which border on nightmare scenarios at times. Coming in from out of town for a day game? Better make advance parking reservations, especially if there’s another event going on such as a Browns game or a concert. Alternately, find a park/ride lot and take mass transit or take a shuttle from one of the local watering holes that take fans to the game. There are quite a few in Ohio City alone. As I said, I love the Jake and try to tweak my schedule to visit every season. Great experience, great park, great people.
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Great location and food options. Heritage Park has brought new highlights on the vast Indians history. When in town, check out The Winking Lizard for sure!
A great ballpark in a great sports town.
Review by Samuel Watkins - The optimal viewing experience at Progressive Field would be to sit somewhere on the first base line. The Cleveland skyline, including Quicken Loans Arena and the Terminal Tower, are featured prominently in the background. Not only are you closer to the Indians dugout when sitting here, you have a front row view to the large Jumbotron and close access to the prime concession stands. Friday nights at Progressive are routinely reserved for fireworks and seats on this side are the best in the park.