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  • Marc Viquez

Classic Park – Lake County Captains


Photos by Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Classic Park 35300 Vine St Eastlake, OH 44095

Lake County Captains website Classic Park website

Year Opened: 2003 Capacity: 6,157

 

Location, Location, Location

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 the 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.


Food & Beverage 3

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 if you have a sweet tooth, freshly-squeezed lemonade and hand-scooped ice cream are located in the ballpark.

The food is mostly located near one another between the first and third baselines. 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 deciding 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.

Atmosphere 3

The ballpark is modern and sleek and familiar to many other suburban designs. A stylish pedestrian bridge offers a 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 the 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, two mascots 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.

Neighborhood 5

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 a 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 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 a 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 its 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.

Fans 3

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?

Access 4

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.

Return on Investment 4

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.

Extras 3

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 gate entrance. 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 true for Classic Park.

Final Thoughts

A nice little ballpark outside the Cleveland metro area and close enough to attract fans from around the surrounding neighborhoods, The prices are affordable, views are great, and there are plenty of activities for the kids. Classic Park is worth checking out when in the Cleveland area.

Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and on Instagram.

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