For our second stop, we move to my favorite place: Progressive Field. As a life long Indians fan and a season ticket holder, “The Jake” holds a special place in my heart. I saw the Indians clinch the A.L. Central, walk off the Yankees in the ALDS, and a World Series from the green seats of this park. If you’ve never gone to a game in Cleveland, it’s a must.
Progressive Field was constructed in 1994 in the new Gateway Plaza at the same time as its neighbors, the Cavaliers, moved into the Q next door. Over the last several decades, the ballpark has undergone several extensive renovations, including a multi-year update that had another round of work completed this past offseason. Progressive Field offers a unique fan experience with new seating, food, and entertainment options.
The first round of renovations in 2015 was the most extensive. The team removed thousands of seats from the upper deck in right, removed the bridge to the parking garage, gutted all of the lower concourse and put in new food options, built a two story Kids Clubhouse on the second level, and built a new two story bar in right named by the fans: The Corner. In 2016, the team put in a new scoreboard, built a new season ticket holders bar called the home plate club, new food options behind home and down the 3rd base line, and put a new section of drink rails in the left field corner. With so many changes to the park, lets hit some of the highlights.
The majority of food in the ballpark is now local, meaning that the team has outsourced its food options in favor of a local flavor. In the new right field district, the food is separated by the part of Cleveland where the restaurant is located. One of the main highlights in right is Melt, a gourmet grilled cheese station where you can build your own sandwiches on large slices of Texas toast. Each meal comes with a drink and bag of chips. In the newly renovated 3rd base line, the most popular option is Happy Dog, a Cleveland hot dog restaurant with a custom hot dog for Progressive Field. The Slider Dog, named after the Indians mascot Slider, is a hot dog that is covered in mac n’ cheese, bacon bites, and Fruit Loops Cereal and has to be eaten with a fork.
Seats and Drinks
This might seem like an odd combination when organizing this article, but it will make sense. With a wide variety of places in the ballpark to watch a game, the most popular place to watch the game is from the drink rails in The Corner. There are only 200 Corner tickets per game and are only offered online. They sell out nearly every game. For $13 dollars, you can get a standing room spot on the rail and your first beer is included. The Corner offers nearly 25 beers on tap and is two levels. The second level has a fire pit and charging stations for your phone, just incase your battery runs low from tweeting all game. If you are a season ticket holder, you can get a wristband and get into the Home Plate Club, which has its own seating, bar, and concession stands. If you don’t want to wait in line for concessions or drinks, you can get into the Home Plate Club and skip the line. There are other great seating options in the park, including the All-You-Can-Eat Seats on the second deck and the standing room platforms on the third level down the 1st base line and in right field.
The Fan Experience
In terms of the fan experience, Progressive Field relies on its social atmosphere, the big standing room areas where fans can interact via social media or in person. If you are interested in history, the most accessible trip is to Heritage Park in center field next to the new bullpens. There, you can check out the team’s history and see the plaques of the Indians Hall of Famers. You can also order commemorative bricks to mark your fandom in Progressive Field.
Overall, Progressive Field is a great place to catch a game. While it does not have the charm that older ballparks have, it is building an identity through the renovations made to the park and the winning culture through last year’s World Series run.