Progressive Field, still known as Jacobs Field or “The Jake” to many, is a wonderful “retro-modern” baseball park which opened in 1994. In the relatively short history of the stadium, it has hosted two World Series – in 1995 and 1997 – as well as the 1997 All Star Game and more than a few playoff games along the way before the World Series and since. The charm of the place makes it a wonderful venue to watch a ball game.
Here are 5 reasons you should check out Progressive Field.
Heritage Park. The stadium is 17 years old. The Indians baseball club, however, is not and the stadium reflects that history. In 2007, the Indians opened Heritage Park in the centerfield concourse of the stadium to honor the players and contributors to Cleveland Indians baseball. If you’re a student of the game, and enjoy the history of the game, Heritage Park can be a draw unto itself. Of note, the Bob Feller showcase within the two level area. The team pays tribute to Feller not only for his contributions to the club, and for his Hall of Fame career, but honors his military service as well. Further made superb by the fact Feller has lived to see his achievements honored.
Your Dad’s Beer. Yes, there’s actually a beer stand that will sell you the beer your dad might’ve had in the fridge when you were a kid, now that you’re of age and you can legally drink some of the suds you were sent so many times to fetch. And cheap? Well, by ballpark standards anyway – $4.50. Let’s face it, that’s a pretty steep fine for brews the like of PBR, Iron City and Strohs, but it’s a bit of nostalgia as you stroll the park, which leads to the third reason you should check out Progressive Field. You can find the Your Dad’s Beer stand near section 119.
Wide Concourses. There is plenty of space in which to walk around. On the day I was there to see my hometown team play the Indians, the sky opened up and caused one rain delay to start the game, and three-innings of rain soaked action at the end of the game. In the intervening time, the park was wandered with others seeking to escape the rain without that crushing feeling of being packed in by the crowd. It was actually pleasant to be able to stroll through the ballpark without feeling under constant fear of being swept away by the crowd. At game’s end, the packed rush out isn’t as intense with more than enough space to corral the exiting patrons.
Ticket Price. You want a bleacher seat? $10. It’s been a long, long time since I saw bleacher seats for $10. I bought four tickets online for $40 with an additional service fees bringing the total to a little more than $50. $10 to park and to provide entrance for four with a ride home was $60. Two weeks before, I had paid face value, without fees, for two standing room only tickets at Fenway Park for $50. What makes this an appealing take is that it remains an affordable option to take kids to the game which makes it accessible to them and affords the luxury of taking in a game on a whim. And there’s not a bad seat in the house. My $10 bleacher seats allowed me a great view of the game from left field. I could see the pitcher and the pitch and the play on the field without strain
Last, but certainly not least, The Cleveland Beer Guy. You just cannot buy the entertainment this guy provides free. You don’t even need to buy a beer from him – I didn’t – to get a dose of entertainment. I didn’t catch his name, but what I do know is that he’s been at this for a while: I found a video of him on YouTube uploaded in 2006. From what I understand, you can often hear him selling his wares over the Indians radio broadcast. He took a few moments to give the fan from Boston a bit of a good natured ribbing even though nary a beverage was purchased. He wanders the stadium, and so no matter where you might have your tickets, you will still have the opportunity to meet the Cleveland Beer Guy. However, if you miss him, there’s always the condiment race.