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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Classic Park is home to the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League. The Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians is located nearby downtown and is one of various minor league teams that are within close access to its parent club. The 6,157 seat ballpark is set in a residential/retail neighborhood and is located a few miles north of I-90. There are many positive aspects inside the stadium, but its location to bars, restaurants, retail and even downtown Cleveland, will be a huge drawing card to any outside visitor or traveler.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Captains have simplified their menu the last few seasons and offer four main concession stands on the main concourse for a majority of their items. These items are fairly priced and include your normal standards of ballpark cuisine. A few highlights include the cheese fries, mini corn dog basket, Italian sausage, grilled chicken and boneless wings. There are a few other stand alone concession stands nearby that include Dippin Dots Ice Cream, Beers of the World, Yuengling portable and Nautical Nachos. If you are looking to quench your thirst or you have a sweet tooth, fresh squeezed lemonade and hand scooped ice cream is located in the ballpark.
The food is mostly located in close proximity to one another between the first and third base lines. Also, not all of the main concession stands have the same products. They look similar in design on the menu board, but shop around first before making a decision on what to eat. You might want to savor something else. Then again, there is more than enough in the way of food choices and you will not have trouble finding something to your liking.
The ballpark is modern and sleek and familiar to many other suburban designs. A stylish pedestrian bridge offers safe and hassle free entrance to the ballpark, and the front entrance is decorated with an attractive arch. The stadium does not feature a wraparound concourse, but includes bleacher seating in left field and a row of red lawn chairs on a small strip of grass behind the right field wall. It is not as spacious as other venues' grass berms, but does provide a relaxed atmosphere on any given night at the game.
When you are the Cleveland Indians Single-A affiliate, just a few miles from downtown Cleveland, you know you will have a great atmosphere at the ballpark. The promotions are varied and should be enough to attract even the most finicky fan. There are various ethnic nights, Superhero nights, peanut free games, Bark in the Park, Christmas in July, and even Hungarian Disco Night. There is also a weekly promotions list that includes Friday fireworks, Date Night Thursdays (two tickets to a suite for a buffet dinner), and the popular Buck Night Mondays and Thirsty Thursdays.
If you are looking to entertain the kids, there are two mascots that run around the field. One is a giant cuddly creature who is available for hugs, while the pirate is encouraged to be vilified by the PA announcer. A play area is located behind the outfield bleachers and every Sunday is Family Fun Day where kids can run the bases and theme activities are located on the concourse area.
If you are looking to pick up merchandise, the official team store is decorated with a nautical theme and features a myriad of souvenirs with the club's popular logo.
Classic Park is located within a 20 minute drive of downtown Cleveland, but do yourself a favor and stay in the area - there is a lot of fun waiting for you. Downtown Willoughby is about a mile and half from the ballpark and is a pure delight to venture to. At night, the restaurants turn into bars, live music is played and the place becomes its own tiny hotspot. The drinks are not too pricey, with most pints of craft beer at Ballantine, Willoughby Brewing Company, 1899 Pub, and Peabody's around $5. At Peabody's, order the brisket or the award winning ribs.
If you are looking for quick bite, there are a lot of chain and local establishments on the main street near the stadium. Mr. Chicken and Panini's Bar and Grille are two local Cleveland legendary eating establishments. Panini's is known for their stuffed sandwiches that feature homemade cole slaw, French fries and tomatoes, while Mr. Chicken has fresh fried chicken and tenders.
It is a perfect area for food, drinks and entertainment - all within minutes of Classic Park and without the added hassle of driving or parking in nearby downtown Cleveland. Ask the locals at the game, and they will likely recommend these or other spots nearby.
The fans are very tame and involved with the game. There is not anything discerning or alarming about their behavior to think they do not enjoy themselves. Would I have liked to see a little more energy? Perhaps, but they are enjoying being out at the ballpark with friends and family. That is all that should matter most of the time at minor league ballparks. Isn't that what the promotions are for?
Classic Park is located two miles north of I-90 with plenty of signs directing you off the interstate. A straight road takes you to friendly people directing you to your car and the parking is free. If you park across the street, a pedestrian bridge takes you over for convenience. When leaving the park, the local police close off part of the street and assist with getting you back home.
The Captains have a great schedule of promotional nights throughout the season and offer extremely affordable single day ticket prices. The lowest price tickets range from $8-$10 and are cheaper than attending a movie. These price points make it easy for the customer to return and the traveler to save a few bucks on their expenses.
The Captains do an admirable job of entertaining fans at the ballpark. The creative promotions are visually displayed throughout the concourse or in their free program they give out to fans at the entrance of the gate. The location near the highway and to downtown Willoughby or other restaurants or lodging makes this a destination for a wide age range of customers. The old saying of location, location, location is definitely true for Classic Park.
Member Review by TugHaines
"If you are smoking, you're either on fire or you need to step down the stairs to our designated smoking area" read the sign in front of the main gates at Classic Park, seemingly there to let people know that while they have rules, it's not a stuffy place to watch a ballgame.
Member Review by scrappy on Oct 06, 2011
Best Promotions in the Minors!
Great Theme Nights!
Buck Night and Firework Extravaganza's are AMAZING!
PERFECT SETTING FOR THE BASEBALL FANATIC AND FAMILIES!
34820 Vine St
Willowick, OH 44095
4113 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094
4057 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094
38228 Glenn Ave
Willoughby, OH 44094
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