It seems like yesterday when Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, and Carlos Baerga were playing in front of 455 consecutive sellouts at Jacobs Field. The Progressive Field name was christened in 2008 when the Mayfield Heights, Ohio based insurance company bought naming rights for $58 million over 16 years. Now, 20 years after opening its doors in 1994, the 11th oldest park in the big leagues hosts one of the worst attendance drawing teams and recently unveiled a privately funded renovation to significantly overhaul the appearance of the stadium.
Scheduled to be completed by Opening Day 2015, the focus of this renovation is on adding more group areas and family-friendly spaces, eliminating approximately 5,000 seats from the stadium’s current capacity of 42,487. Taking a page out of Coors Field, the Indians are removing the seats from upper right field and adding terrace decks with views of the playing field and city. Progressive Field is also expanding the Kids Clubhouse to two levels and are constructing a climate controlled two-story bar in right field. Further, a redesigned main gate in right center field, a shift of both bullpens to center field, and an even greater focus on connecting Cleveland’s neighborhoods through food and beverage is in the works.
Before bulldozers could be lined up to raze parts of the ‘Jake,’ it is time to take one last look at the modern classic that helped rejuvenate a once downtrodden Indians franchise into one that seems to be on the cusp of again participating in postseason play.
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".
While the traditional stadium fare of hot dogs, pretzels, and nachos are available at Progressive Field, do yourself a favor and seek out the creative and satisfying locally made options. Kids will be happy with Orrville, Ohio's own Smuckers Uncrustable Sandwiches, and fans of all ages can enjoy the Canton made Sugardale Hot Dogs with local ballpark Mustard (NOT Stadium Mustard). Even in some of the brisk evenings of April or September, ice cream from Pierre's never tasted better. Adults will be happy to find an ever increasing population of craft beers, such as Cleveland's own Great Lakes Brewing Company (go for the Dortmunder Gold Lager) or Portside Distillery and the easy on the pallet 216 Ale.
The best deals in the stadium remain either the $8 hot dog meal deal (with large popcorn and 16 oz. soft drink) or bratwurst meal deal (with a 12 oz. draft beer). Kid's Meals with the aforementioned Smuckers Uncrustable are $5.75 and also include a snack and soft drink. Sugardale hot dogs for $3 remain a cheap and easy go to staple. A word of advice for non-locals, yellow mustard is taboo in Cleveland. Go for the Stadium Mustard, a rich and tangy brown mustard.
The culinary gem of Progressive Field is the $5 Rally Burger. With a location on the first base concourse, this burger includes two patties, a generous portion of cheese, and two special sauces. Not to be sacrilegious, but this burger is as close as you can get to an In-N-Out burger in the Cleveland area.
If traditional concession stands are not your thing, take a trip to the glass enclosed Terrace Club that overhangs on the third base line. You can order food and drinks here as the once 'members only' club is now open to the public. This is a great option for a reprieve from less than ideal weather. Another helpful weather-related tip is to stay away from anything fried when the weather is cold as the food loses its temperature rather quickly, creating a less than optimal culinary experience.
While your aromatic senses and taste buds are satisfied with the quality food options, Progressive Field has plenty of seating options to keep your visual senses happy. The standard lower bowl circles the field from the left field foul line all the way around to right center field. Bleachers engulf the entire left field, while the second level is three levels of suites, a club level on the third base line, and a mezzanine in right field. An upper deck that is almost always closed off (except for directly behind plate) is the top level. The Mezzanine features a Kids Club play area which can be a nice diversion for the little ones. Adults can enjoy the table top seats in right field at the Budweiser party deck, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet.
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.
While bleacher seats are routinely sold by the club in the $10 range, they are not as good of a deal as perceived. The seats here have no backs, no view of the primary scoreboard (there are ancillary scoreboards throughout), limited concession variety, and fans are forced to move to a stand in another area of the park on fireworks nights. A unique ticket option is the SRO ticket that gives access to the home run porch in left field. While you do not have a seat for the game, the unique view of hanging over the left field wall is second to none and you are in the path of souvenir territory.
The public address announcer is crisp and clear, but a treat for any baseball fan would be to put in the earbuds and tune in to local radio broadcaster (WTAM 1100 locally) Tom Hamilton, one of the sweetest sounding baseball announcers in the business. The Indians pipe in the live audio feed throughout the concourse, but this is also due to the fact that the field is not visible from most of the primary concession stands.
Concourses inside the stadium tend to move traffic well, except during a rain delay when they become busy as they are the only covered option in the park. The best view outside of the skyline is on the upper concourse, which offers great views of the Cleveland area in every direction.
Progressive Field is surrounded with plenty of nearby dining options. Sports bars and restaurants line Prospect Road, Huron Road, and East 4th Street, and are all within a five minute walk of the stadium. Places like City Tap and their $4 Craft Beer pints feature both pre and postgame specials. A couple hidden gems in the shadow of the stadium are Nick's Sports Corner on Prospect (casual dive bar) and Wilbert's (try the rack of ribs and stay for the live music).
Roughly ten minutes from Progressive Field is the new Horseshoe Casino. Product of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the multi-floor casino is teeming with table and card games, slot machines, a premium sports bar, and plenty of dining options. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a 15-20 minute walk but is a must see when in the area.
If planned right, you can pair an Indians game with a Cavaliers or Gladiators game as Quicken Loans Arena is a stone's throw from Progressive Field. Indians opening day in 2014 was on a Friday afternoon and plenty of the crowd moved over to the Gladiators game later that evening.
Regardless of where you go before or after the game, you will feel safe. Police are patrolling traffic and streets are well lit and marked. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance regularly has ambassadors on foot to answer questions or point you in the right direction. If ever in doubt, follow the crowds and you will not get lost.
While attendance woes are no secret over the past few years, the fans that do attend games are passionate, knowledgeable, and loyal. A glance at a scarce crowd on a brisk September evening will feature jerseys and shirts from the dominant teams of the 90's. Rival fans, like those of the Tigers and White Sox, are jeered and razzed. However, when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town it is hard not to notice their presence and voice often meets or exceeds those of the Wahoo faithful. With the Royals recently breaking their 29 year playoff disappearance, plenty of Brett and Saberhagen jerseys were sprinkled in the crowd with a few Butler and Hosmer replicas when Kansas City was in town in 2014.
A tradition like no other in Cleveland is the presence of John Adams, the longtime season ticket holder who makes his home in the left field bleachers with his drum. Pounding away when the Indians have runners in scoring position or before key pitches in the game, his rhythmic beats are synonymous with Indians home games.
No Indians game would be complete without participating in the audience friendly rendition of the Ohio anthem, 'Hang on Sloopy,' complete with the 'O-H-I-O' built-in to the chorus. Not to be outdone, Nick Swisher and his loyal following have a role in keeping fans engaged. Since his signing a couple years ago, Swisher and his Ohio State University roots throws out the 'OH-' chant and the crowd responds with an '-IO' after he circles the bases on a home run.
Progressive Field is located in the heart of downtown Cleveland. The skyline, buildings, social scene, and sports presence gives Cleveland a big city vibe. However, visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the affordable parking prices (parking is $10-$20 right outside the park), friendliness of the locals, and access to the stadium. Cleveland Hopkins Airport is a scant 20 minutes from the park and all major highways in the city either go through or are adjacent to downtown.
A hotel option for all price points, from the Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance to the Hampton and Residence Inn, are available, and once again, within a short walk. The parking garage on Huron Road across the street from Quicken Loans Arena tends to always be $2-$5 cheaper than the facility connected to Progressive Field and is only adds a minute to the walk.
Public transportation on the RTA rapid can get you from points East and West to and from the game for less than $5. The rapid drops you off at Tower City, a building that houses the Horseshoe Casino, a couple hotels, a movie theater complex, and plenty of dining options. There is a connected walkway that will get you to the stadium gates in 10 minutes, all without walking outside.
Restrooms are plentiful and clean with nothing to be concerned about. The added touch of the radio broadcast is a nice touch. Handicap access is plentiful throughout with the standard last row of each section on the lower concourse reserved.
Progressive Field offers three primary entrances. The gate on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario (home plate) will get you in the fastest but for good reason as it is not really close to the better parking and dining/social spots. The left field gate is adjacent to Quicken Loans Arena and can sometimes be the most congested as it is near the more popular pregame destinations. The right field gate is near ample parking and features a statue of Bob Feller.
With the Cleveland skyline in the background, fan friendly amenities, and locally infused food and beverage options, attending an Indians game is a quality investment for your entertainment dollars. Throw in the affordability factor and plenty to do within the area, attending a game here is requisite for any baseball fan.
While some have been critical of the Indians employment of the variable pricing model that is catching on in sports ticketing, finding a reasonably priced ticket to an Indians game is always easy. The team only sells the upper-level 'cheap' seats when demand dictates so you are at times forced to purchase a higher priced ticket, but they are still near the cheapest in the big leagues. The best values are found on games taking place during the school year, weekdays, and/or when the weather is a little cooler. In 2014, a pair of box seats behind the Indians dugout for a game with playoff implications versus the Royals was had for $20 a piece on Stub Hub.
If you are looking for a unique experience, checkout the 'Brohio' deals available for all Friday and Saturday home games. Nick Swisher adopted a section of fans located on the lower level to the right of the first base foul line. A roughly $40 ticket gets you into the game, a nice 'Brohio' t-shirt, and a pair of Indians sunglasses. The section host is the 'Mayor of Brohio,' a dedicated fan, who with his Indians flag and '216' jersey, will keep you entertained throughout the night. Other special offers include tickets loaded with concession value. These are available for the Sunday Kid's Days and weekday afternoon games.
Progressive Field is filled with small touches that combine a traditional baseball experience with the modern amenities a fan craves in 2014. A point goes to the detail placed in the engineering and architectural design. At first glance you may not notice the wind turbine on top of the right field roof that powers the stadium, or the fact that the light towers were designed to look like smokestacks, which is an homage to the industrial history of Cleveland.
Progressive Field earns another point for treating all fans to a free abbreviated program upon entering as well as free wireless access that is fast enough to check Email, Facebook, and Twitter without any problem.
Fans who bring their kids will be happy to know that in addition to the Kids Clubhouse, there is a mini-team shop dedicated to children (and one exclusive for women's fashions as well), a speed pitch machine, and plenty of options to meet Slider, the Indians' amenable mascot. Sundays may be the best time to bring kids as they can run the bases for free after games and the plaza outside of left field has a carnival-like atmosphere with fun activities for children. The attention paid to the fans of tomorrow earns an additional point.
Souvenir stands blanket the concourses with traditional options. The best kept secret is a back corner of the primary gift shop (located behind home plate) that features game used authentic merchandise options for every budget.
The final extra point is earned when you can arrive 30 minutes early and check out Heritage Park in center field. This is a museum to honor Cleveland baseball and features a large statue of Jim Thome. You will also get a front row seat to the live Fox Sports local pregame show being filmed.
While Progressive Field is no longer the new kid on the block, it has established itself as a solid place to experience the American pastime due to its views of the skyline, ode to local cuisine, and small touches to differentiate it from other parks. However, any nostalgia is lost when the stadium is only a third full on any given night. If the team can ever regularly draw 30K+, this may one of the top baseball experiences in the country. The expansive renovation going on right now hopes to draw some of these fans who contributed to the 455 consecutive sellouts back to the 'Jake' (It will ALWAYS be the Jake to me).
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.
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.
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.
This ballpark was one of the forerunners of the "retro stadium" movement, but seems to be left out when conversation turns to the trend. I have been here twice, and while the fans and atmosphere is lacking, I can see how great this place must have been when the Indians packed the house every night in the '90's. Great surrounding neighborhood.
Many good food selections.
Low attendance = quiet crowds.
Many bars and restaurants in walking distance.
$10 parking 2 blocks away. $25 near ballpark,
Biggest issue is seat cost, at least for a good seat. Indians are competitive, and a small market team, and near last in attendance. They may need to review their NY Yankee level seat prices. For a recent Reds game paid $68 for a left field box seat. That same seat in Cincinnati is $36 and similar in Pittsburgh. In Miami a lower box behind home plate was $42. If the Indians stop fan gouging, maybe the crowds will return.
Overall, this is a beautiful ball park. They recently announced some remodeling that will downsize their capacity by 5000.
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