- Chris Green
Progressive Field - Cleveland Guardians
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71
Progressive Field 2401 Ontario St Cleveland, OH 44115
Year Opened: 1994
Baseball Paradise in Cleveland
The halcyon days of grand expansion in MLB took over in the 1990s and early 2000s. Out of these new stadiums emerged some all-time showcase facilities (Camden Yards, PNC Park, and Coors Field), while others faltered and have already been replaced (Glove Life Field and Turner Field). For their part, Cleveland opened the gates to what was called Jacobs Field in 1994 and never looked back. Progressive Field has become a shining example of how to maintain a beautiful baseball stadium over the years, altering the seating in the upper deck, incorporating local food and beverage providers, and maintaining a modern look in a ballfield that is nearing its 30th year of operation.
Thanks to a new team name, the Cleveland Guardians now call Progressive Field home. The changes are reflected in the logo over the scoreboard and over the stadium facade’s infield entrance at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. As with the stadium, the new team name reflects a local heritage, taking the name from the Guardians of Traffic statues that adorn the ends of the Hope Memorial Bridge that leads to Progressive Field.
Food & Beverage 5
The food at Progressive Field has long been regarded as among the best in all of baseball. Standard ballpark fare is available as one would expect – the basics include jumbo hot dogs ($7.50), popcorn ($6), sodas ($3.75-$8.25), peanuts ($5), Cracker Jack ($4.75), and more all call the stadium’s various concessions stands home. But what helps the options stand out here are the local vendors; Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Fat Head’s Brewery are among the local beer options you can find in the stadium. In addition, Momocho in Section 149 was recently named the best ballpark food in all of baseball, while other local options include Barrio, Sweet Moses, Dynomite Burger, Happy Dog, and Melt. Another favorite is Ohio City Burrito, serving massive burrito bowls for $13.75 that rival those of any stadium food you’ll find.
The stadium’s aesthetic hasn’t changed over the years, yet it continues to remain classic and relevant. Its iconic light towers adorn clothing and are almost as much a symbol of the stadium as the team itself. The Cleveland skyline rises over the outfield walls, giving the stadium a true city feel. The big digital LED scoreboard in left field is viewable from anywhere you sit, and features a stunning display with all the vital statistics of the game and players. The famous hot dog races remain a Cleveland staple during games, while staff run up and down the dugout roof waving large flags to hype up the crowd.
Unique to Progressive Field is the outfield bullpens. Situated right in the middle of the outfield seating, both bullpens allow fans to get up close to watch the action of the pitchers warming up, both before the game and during.
Next door to Progressive Field is Rocket Mortgage Field House, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Monsters. Cleveland’s historic downtown Public Square is just a few blocks away as well. Here you will find classic architecture of the city’s past in places like Tower City and The Arcade. Both of these locations also house hotels, with Hyatt Regency housed in The Arcade’s upper levels and Ritz-Carlton in Tower City’s. Food options are also plentiful, with local favorites The Winking Lizard and famous Sylvan’s Restaurant all nearby. Visitors can also see some of the local sights, such as West Side Market or the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame within a few minute’s drive of the stadium. Shopping and entertainment are all nearby as well, and for the nature lovers, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is south of Cleveland and well worth the short drive.
The fans in Cleveland are known for loyalty. Currently holding the longest active drought without a World Series title to their name, Guardians fans have endured years of near misses. Nonetheless, their fans are among the most loyal in sports. Regardless of their record, Cleveland’s faithful turn out to Progressive Field to watch their team take on the rest of its major league foes. However, while once holding a record 455 sellout games, tickets are a bit easier to get nowadays. The fans in Progressive Field are also deeply sport knowledgeable, meaning you won’t see bandwagon fans in the seats here.
Getting to Progressive Field is quite easy. Located right downtown, I-90 will deliver you right to the front steps of the stadium. Parking lots dot the landscape around the stadium, offering plenty of options for fans. The best option is the Gateway East Garage, located right across the street from the Left Field Gate. This garage also features a walkover bridge that connects to the stadium’s middle concourse for easy entry and exit. Lots in the area can range from $15 on up depending on the game and the day. Signage is also plentiful on game days, allowing for easy navigation.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to the Guardians range from $15 to $120 depending on the game and day. Numerous promotions fill the calendar for the season as well, offering more bang for your buck. With middle deck tickets at $30, you can get a great seat for a low price, meaning a family of four can enjoy a day at the ball park for less than many may assume.
The right field gate is home to some Cleveland Guardian statues of players from their past. Larry Doby, Jim Thome, and others are honored here in an area that connects both inside and outside the gates, all the way down to Heritage Park. Here, you can see Cleveland’s past players honored as well, and walk through a beautiful garden area that celebrates the team’s history.
Another great feature is the team’s history celebrated throughout the concourse – large images and banners adorn the halls all around the stadium.
The team store also is a showcase for fans at the game. Open on game day with hours before the gates open, you can visit the team store all morning and afternoon, before it closes and connects to the inner concourse.
Finally, the middle deck is home to the Kids Clubhouse. Here, interactive games and play areas are available for the smallest fans at the park.
The Guardians continue to showcase what makes their home one of the best home stadiums in the major leagues. Progressive Field has everything you would want in a perfect setting. Top food and beverage options mix here with a constantly improving stadium that remains one of the best in baseball. Affordability and easy access create a welcoming environment that makes for one of the best game-day experiences around.