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Built in 1994, the then-Jacob’s Field rang in a new era for the Cleveland Indians. After struggling for years in the cavernous 74,000 seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Indians would start off life in their new home by winning their first of 5 straight Central Division titles, 1995-1999 (and added two more in ‘01 and ‘07). The team would go on to win the A.L. pennant in 1995 and 1997.
During this time fans made “The Jake” a raucous home for the Indians. From June 1995 to April 2001, Indians fans would go on a 445 consecutive game sellout streak. It seemed like all the jokes made about the Indians were finally behind them.
But that was then. Now the Indians are in a “rebuild” phase. The team has started the 2013 season with a number of new names, including two-time World Series winner, Terry Francona becoming the Indians’ manager. Their Opening Day payroll of $82.5 million is a slight increase over 2012 but puts them at 21st in MLB. Still, they’re fighting to get some of those glory days back in Cleveland.
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 Indians gained a lot of positive press for actually lowering concession prices for 2013. You can get $3 hot dogs, $4 brats, as well as 15 'Dollar Dog Nights' scheduled (mostly on Friday nights) for the 2013 season. A regular pop is $6, but refills are $2.
Progressive Field is a great park for beer drinkers. While there are still the usual pricy options, like 24oz. cans of macro domestics, this year you can get (as part of the price rollbacks) $4 12oz. draft macro-brews, and $4 beers at the 'Your Dad's Beer' stand, which sells old-school brands like Pabst, Stroh's and Blatz. It's hipster heaven.
Additionally, if you're not from the area, you're probably unaware of the strong (and still growing) community of microbreweries across Ohio. A cool feature on the lower concourse behind home plate is the 'Spirits of Ohio' stand (all beer here is $7.50) featuring locals like Great Lakes Brewing, Buckeye, and others as well as names from around the state like Mt. Carmel Brewing, Christian Moerlien, Thirsty Dog, and Ohio Brewing, amongst many others. They also serve mixed drinks ($8.75) featuring Ohio distilleries including Watershed's bourbon, vodkas from Seven Brothers and Buckeye, and whiskeys from Cleveland and a personal favorite, Columbus-based Oyo.
Cleveland is home to an intense food rivalry you may not be aware of: Mustard. Stadium mustard to be exact. When/if you get a hot dog, you have to try Bertman's Ball Park Mustard. Taste-wise, its spice level is somewhat less than a German-style brown mustard you find in the grocery store but has a bit of sweetness for balance. Bertman's is the original, and it's been served at Indians' games since they played at League Park back in the 1920s. The upstart competitor is 'The Authentic Stadium Mustard'. It's been around since 1969 and has its faithful fans, BUT it's not sold here. You can find it when the Browns' season starts up at FirstEnergy Stadium. However, Authentic's website openly advocates bringing their mustard in to Indians games.
There are a couple Food Network stands that sell pricier items with a bit more creativity like a 'flight' of three types of mac & cheese and a couple of 'premium' hot dogs, including 'The Cleveland' with the addition of pulled pork.
Progressive Field is one of the archetype stadiums amongst the building boom that happened to MLB teams starting in the 90s. The place still feels incredibly fresh. There are plenty of unique vantage points to watch the game from and various markers noting significant moments in the team's history. They built this one the right way. It's a "retro" park that lacks the over-the-top signature elements some new stadiums have that can border on parody.
Be sure to take a walk out to center field to see Heritage Park and the Indians Hall of Fame. The team has a storied history and while there are some unspectacular stretches, there is a lot for this organization to be proud of. The secluded setting almost feels more like you're at a park than a stadium.
I'll elaborate more on the (lack of) fans below, but if you go to buy tickets from the Indians site, you'll notice the team has essentially blocked off most of the upper deck. Of the 36 sections that make up the upper deck, stretching from the left field wall around the baselines to right-center field, it appears the team first releases the sections behind home plate and expands availability as the need arises. While this certainly helps the stadium crew manage its operations better, the bare green seats up top are a stark reminder of the downswing this fanbase has gotten into.
This is a great park for families. If kids get bored, as they sometimes will, the team has a free kids' themed area, the 'Indians Kids Clubhouse' behind the mezzanine section in right field. It has a pitching accuracy booth and a batting cage as well as a video game station featuring four Playstation 3's. Note that some of these are only open for Sunday games right now. There's also a mini baseball field where kids can take a swing with a whiffleball set and run some bases. The downside for the parent is, it's a bit removed from the game.
To remedy this problem, late in the 2012 season the team took a couple of suites right next to the kids area and created the 'Rookie Suite'. The suite, which you have to check-in to (and out of) with your kid (still free admission), is geared towards younger kids as it's filled with playsets and a short climbing wall. There are Indians staff to supervise the area and a concession stand with value priced hot dogs ($2.50), popcorn, and fruit cups. The good thing for parents here is there is a dedicated, outdoor viewing area in front of the suite featuring bench seating. It's also closed in with protective netting to protect any kids who may get too close to the railing. The suite is open for all nine innings, every home game.
There's a lot to like about the neighborhood surrounding Progressive Field. The Gateway Quarter was a concerted effort by the city to revitalize the area in the mid-90s and currently is a major entertainment destination for the city. Next door is Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cavaliers, minor league hockey's Lake Erie Monsters, and the AFL's Cleveland Gladiators.
There are an immense number of bars and restaurants to check out on your visit. Flannery's Pub is a traditional Irish pub serving Imperial pints (20 oz.) of Guinness and the like, plus a decent list of whiskeys and scotches.
The Winking Lizard Tavern is a local chain that serves the usual bar food (burgers, wings, sandwiches, etc.) but has a beer program (The World Tour of Beers) that seems to foster trying new and interesting brews.
City Tap has some great beer deals including $2 drafts and bottles 8p-9p Monday-Friday. There are plenty of burger/beer type places, plenty of places for the carnivores. For something a bit different, there's a vegan cafe called The Flaming Ice Cube (140 Public Square) that VegNews ranks as having one of the best veggie burgers in the country.
Indians' crowds have been in a tailspin the last few seasons. This was depressing to see, as Cleveland's baseball fans were incredible after the The Jake opened, as were those Indians' teams. The crowds earned a 455 game sellout streak that stretched from 1995 to 2001.
However, in the last few years, a number of factors, some baseball-related, some not, have contributed to these MLB attendance rankings (according to ESPN):
2010: 17,435/game; 30th of 30 MLB teams
2011: 22,456; 24th
2012: 19,797; 29th
So far into the 2013 season, the Tribe is currently dead last in average attendance and, perhaps without coincidence, also last in the AL Central standings. In fairness, the weather has been consistently awful through the start of the season. On this particular visit, it was a brisk 40 degrees at game time, not exactly baseball weather. Honestly, with this being my first visit to the Jake after seeing so many accolades over the years for the game experience here, I felt like the guy who showed up way too late to the party. I obviously missed a great time. I do hope things pick up as spring turns to summer and the team potentially improves. Kudos to the die-hards at the Jake, there are people here who stuck with the team at the cavernous Municipal Stadium before the success and they're here now.
Given the convenient location of the Gateway Quarter, there are easy highway connections nearby as well as mass transit options.
If driving to the park, the Indians actually host a helpful parking map on their site, color coded by prices ranging from $5 to $20. As well, the Gateway East garage, with skywalks to both the ballpark and the arena, is always advertised for $12. I dread having to pay $20 to park a car for three hours, so if you're like me and don't mind wasting time driving around looking for street parking (free on weekends and holidays), I would suggest checking the streets directly to the east of the stadium.
All three of RTA's rail lines have a major station at the Tower City complex, a five minute walk from Progressive Field. All three rail lines stop there and an All Day Pass with unlimited trips can be had for $5 for adults/$4 students/$2.50 for kids.
There are trolleys that run various routes downtown. Currently, the E line runs east-west across nearby Euclid Avenue and the L line runs from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on the lakefront over to the new Horseshoe Casino in the Tower City Complex. Also the C line loops past Prospect Ave. and 9th Street, a short walk down 9th from the stadium.
For all the mass transit related schedules, be sure to check RideRTA.com.
Additionally, there's a free shuttle before and after games from the nearby Ohio City neighborhood, which is the home of many great bars and restaurants like the Great Lakes Brewing Company (I generally dislike IPA's but love their 'Lake Erie Monster') as well as the city's famous West Side Market. Also in Ohio City, The Cleveland Hostel opened last year and has quickly become a highly regarded place for budget-minded travelers.
As far as tickets go, it's definitely a buyer's market. There are some very affordable tickets like $10 upper bleacher seats. Even with the Indians using flexible pricing for marquee opponents, those $10 seats are still available. Given the weak crowds currently, you probably can buy the cheap seats and find an empty seat elsewhere. A secondary seller, like, say a ScoreBig, might gain you good seats for much cheaper than face value. The rolled back concession prices are nice, as well.
An extra point to the stadium staff. Everyone we encountered that worked at the stadium was friendly and helpful. It seemed like genuine pleasantness, rather than customer service training.
One point for the interesting, but reserved architecture of Progressive Field. As it was built on the cusp of the stadium construction boom and didn't need to be flashy to stand out from other new stadiums, the 'less is more' approach works so well. It feels like this stadium could age gracefully and become a classic park to the next generation of baseball fans.
Heritage Park and the Indians Hall of Fame are both incredibly well-done. A great feature is that the park isn't just about the history of the Indians, but all of Cleveland baseball.
An extra point for having the ability to squeeze in a trip to the historic remains of League Park, where Babe Ruth hit his 500th career home run, and Cy Young once took the mound. Make sure you give yourself an extra half hour to make the short trip.
I'm also a huge fan of the devotion of The Drummer, John Adams. He's one of a kind, and an iconic fan in American sports.
This is one I want a chance to do again soon, because I feel like it can be better. Regardless of the team's record, Progressive Field is a terrific ballpark and deserves a higher rating. However, the decline in fan enthusiasm is no aberration and needs to be fixed. This is too nice of a place to ignore.
In 1901, the American League was founded with 8 charter members. The team in Cleveland was originally called the Bluebirds, which was later shortened to the "Blues" and finally they became the Indians in 1914.
The team's original stadium, League Park was located only 4 miles from their current home, Progressive Field. The remains of the original ticket office and a portion of the right field wall still stand today, and are a must-see for any ballpark chaser making the trip to Cleveland.
Progressive Field was built in 1994. Amazingly, when the Marlins move into their new ballpark in 2012, Progressive Field will be older than 18 stadiums in Major League Baseball. It was a crown jewel when it first opened as Jacobs Field. The place sold out 455 consecutive games from 1995-2001, causing the team to list 455 among their retired numbers, in honor of their great fans.
Today, the park has a fantastic downtown location, but there are many elements that seem outdated when compared to the many newer and more modern facilities.
Progressive Field was built in 1994 and was known as Jacobs Field until 2008, when the naming rights were purchased by Progressive Insurance.
Entering at the "C" gate (located just behind centerfield) the first stop is Heritage Park, located beyond center field. This is a small, outdoor Indians Hall of Fame where monuments have been erected to great Indians players of the past. Immediately next door is Batter's Eye Bar, a full bar within the confines of the stadium where one can enjoy the bar's thriving singles' scene while sitting on bar stools that overlook the field.
Continuing down the concourse, there are a myriad of concession stands to choose from as you make your way around the base of the stadium. General concessions are available nearly every step of the way, with stands hawking specialty items peppered throughout. Several team shops are available for souvenirs, the largest being located in the center of the concourse.
Progressive Field is really a great park for so many reasons. It is right in the downtown of Cleveland, with plenty to do before and after games. They also do a great job with the "Heritage Park" in right field, with tributes to past Indians greats.
If you get a chance, plan to go by League Park, or at least what's left, about 15 minutes or so from Progressive. Great sense of history there.
I know that many say that Baltimore's ballpark is the best in the majors, but until I actually go there and see for myself, Progressive Field is everything a baseball fan could ever want out of a ballpark and more.
Located in Downtown Cleveland, Progressive Field is a site to behold both structurally from the outside and from the inside.
A true masterpiece of MLB!
within walking distance, but all the other attractions of Cleveland are not even close to Jacobs/Progressive. Parking is difficult, I parked at the mall with the Hard Rock (cheaper and easier to get to both with) and it's "underground"-ish. You'll know what I mean if you park there.
Went to a game yesterday and enjoyed having a very good meal at Greenhouse Tavern before the game. There are many nice restaurants and bars close by the park which is nice. The stadium is nice (women's bathrooms were very clean) but nothing special jumped out to me. The concourse for the most part is very separate from the field which I did not like.
I've attended two games at Progressive Field and have to say that this is definitely a nice ballpark. It might get an upgraded acore since I saw my first no hitter here pitched by Ervin Santana earlier this year. Overll though a beautiful stadium with a variety of good food selections and great views from no matter where you sit.
The Jake (okay, Progressive) - is a great ballpark. Too bad the Indians haven't been competitive in several years - during the late 90's when the team was winning, this place was sold out consistently - had the longest streak in MLB for a while. It's a modern, clean park, built right after and taking inspiration from Camden Yards. No bad seats. Highly recommended.
The now famous 1989, Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen movie 'Major League' depicted an inept baseball team as they fought against all odds to battle in the American League. The subject of the film was of course the Cleveland Indians. The Indians were the perfect fodder for such a film. They had been inept for decades. They played in arguably the worst stadium in baseball. They lived up to the moniker of the Mistake by the Lake. When Cuyahoga County built what was then known as Jacobs Field, the fortunes of the Indians made a 180 degree turn. They were no longer the hapless losers playing in front of no fans, in the dumpiest stadium ever conceived. They were a power in the American League.
Major League is over two decades old. The Jake is also almost two decades old, and has since been renamed Progressive Field, and Indians baseball remains as great a baseball experience as any in the league.
I recently attended a game at Progressive Field with my four year-old son, and one improvement that the Indians have made is the Kids Play Area on the 3rd level. They have a small whiffle ball field, sliding game, pitching machine, and a place to throw your own pitches. I ended up making 3 trips to this area. It's free, and run by energetic and friendly young staff who do a fantastic job given the volume.
Actually, I kind of hate the play area, as my son wanted to spend the whole game there, so I didn't get to watch as much of the game as I would have wanted.
Progressive Field is becoming one of my favorite ballparks. They have great food, it's easy to get to/leave, and downtown Cleveland is a nice place to spend some time before or after the game.
Given the attendance issues at Progressive Field is 2012, combined with a winning team, this is a great time to go see an Indians game as tickets are inexpensive. We sat (the little bit that we did) in the second row of the upper deck behind home plate, and the cost of the tickets was below face value (using ScoreBig as the ticket provider).
Be sure to go and visit old League Park as part of a trip to Progressive Field, and if you're feeling sociable, go say hi to John Adams in the bleacher as he beats his bass drum, a tradition at Indians games for nearly 40 years.
I love going to the Rock N Roll City of Cleveland to see sporting events. I know great people there. In matter of fact, I went to a game last month and I met up with a guy who's taking his one year old daughter to all 81 games this year with him. He invited me back anytime. That makes my future games there even more enjoyable. As usual, I heard John Adams who beats his drum throughout the game in the bleachers. I always here him when I go to see the Tribe. I need to meet him someday. The location is ideal right downtown and off the highway. Overall it's a wonderful experience at Progressive Field. If you haven't been there, make the time to get there. They recently opened a Casino nearby too. There's plenty of entertainment to enjoy.
Even though it was 100 degrees when the game started we were able to get decent seats and in shade. The stadium is neither great nor terrible, but a decent average stadium. If you're looking for a wide variety of food and/or adult beverages this is the ball park for you. Just walking around the concourse I was able to see a plethora of beers.
There are a ton of bars/restaurants to go to after the game that are just a block away.
Over all a good stadium, but nothing that really made it stand out.
I am a baseball fan who has had the pleasure of attending games in many cities, and I was prepared to hate Progressive Field. It is Cleveland, after all, so how good could it be? While the ballpark is nice enough, it did enough to impress me on a few levels. They definitely do their part to teach you the history of this great franchise, and these days, that's all you have with this team. Getting tickets is easy, but the scampers and brokers along the sidewalks outside the ballpark will tell you anything to get you to buy from them, including lie about where your seats are. Once you are in, it's free reign, and no ushers were even around to question whether or not we were supposed to be sitting in the sweet seats we were in. (I would imagine if attendance was better, this would not be the case. The food was great...the gourmet hot dog I got from the Food Network stand was amongst the best food I hav ever had at a ballpark. Skip the buffalo Mac and cheese...seemed like a good idea (I am a red blooded American male), but it was dense and gave me a tummy ache. The beer selection is phenomenal...for ballpark prices, craft beer was not overpriced. It did advertise itself as having the best beer selection in the majors, though Mikwaukee gives it a run for its money. Neighborhood is underrated, with lots of bars within walking distance and great, craft beers available at most of them. There is a nice hotel we stayed at literally across the street from the park, which is nice if you are just coming for the weekend...you don't even need a car with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and so much stuff so close. All in all, very enjoyable experience!
I went back in 2010 and I thought Progressive Field was a gem. It was neat, clean, and a great place to watch a game. Food was magnificent and you got a lot of bang for the buck.
My only complaint was that the game I went to (Mets/Indians), about 3/4ths of the fans that were there were Mets fans. The Indians fans did not show up and it felt like what it would have been if I had gone to old Cleveland Stadium. I don't see how a city can go from 10 years previous where any ticket was a hard ticket to get to a hard draw and you could possibly get tickets for free. Sad too because the stadium is a real gem.
This ballpark is decent but a little overpriced. We payed $45 to sit high up in the nosebleed section. I liked the scoreboard; it was huge and informative. The "Little Green Monster" in left field and the Toyota Home Run Porch are nice.
Saw the AL Wild Card game and was impressed with three things: fans were into the game and stood quite a bit (until it was clear the Indians were in trouble); there were $4 cans of beer including Rolling Rock; and you can stand along the concourse for the entire game.
812 Huron Road East
Cleveland, OH 44115
2120 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
2038 E 4th St
Cleveland, OH 44115
748 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
1281 W 9th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
811 Huron Road E
Cleveland, OH 44115
2516 Market Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
323 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44114
1100 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115