For my second ballgame of the season, I went to Progressive Field in Cleveland, which is a two hour drive from my home in Columbus. Originally known as Jacobs Field (can't get used to calling it other than the Jake), it has been around since 1994 as one of many ballparks built in response to the retro design that started back in 1992 with Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Being situated in downtown Cleveland, there are many parking options. You pay close to $20 close to the ballpark, and pay as low as $5 for a longer walk north of the park. I parked in the garage above Fat Fish Blue on the corner of Ontario and Prospect for $8.
If taking public transit there, take the RTA red line to the Tower City station. You will get off at the Tower City shopping mall and the ballpark is a short walk away.
What's Outside the Ballpark:
This ballpark is right across the street from Quicken Loans Arena. By the way, the Cavs were also playing a playoff game at the Q when I visited. This ballpark is connected to a parking garage where you can get to the ballpark by crossing over a sky bridge. There is some artwork there as the phrases "Meet me here" and "Who's on first" can be seen outside the ballpark.
What's Inside the Ballpark:
For the best experience, you should enter the ballpark from the left field gate where you step right onto the Home Run Porch. From there you can get a good standing room view of the ballpark. The scoreboard is in left field and is one of the largest ones in the majors. In center field is Heritage Park. In this shrine are plaques of stars who played for the Indians and the bricks there were messages written by Tribe fans. In right field is a food court where you could also see the game from.
Where I Sat:
I sat in section 555, which is on the upper deck right behind home plate. You get a really nice view of the Cleveland skyline up here and a great view of the action albeit be that it's far away.
Home Run Fanfare:
When the Indians hit a home run, a siren sounds off and fireworks are shot out of parking structure behind right-center field. Also, the lights go racing on the Toyota Home Run Porch. Different songs play out during the home run. When I was there, they played "Rock and Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter.
I had an Italian sausage dog with grilled onions and peppers. It is really great stuff and also the mustard there just makes this fabulous.
Bringing Drinks Inside:
Generally speaking, you can't bring any drinks into the ballpark from outside. The only drinks allowed into the ballpark are small juice boxes.
First or Third:
First. You get a great view of the Cleveland skyline from the first base side behind the giant scoreboard.
The Game: Indians 12, Blue Jays 0
The game was pretty over quickly from the moment Grady Sizemore stepped to the plate and the Tribe put up 6 runs in the first. Sizemore started the barrage with a homer and then came hit after hit. The onslaught was capped with another Sizemore homer in the fifth. From there, Aaron Laffey was on cruise control blanking the Jays.
When leaving the game, try and get on Superior Ave and enter I-90 by going east on Superior rather than trying to get on the freeway from 9th or Ontario if you are heading southbound after the game. You will bypass the traffic near the ballpark that way.
Basically what the greatest part of this experience would be the drummer out in the bleachers, John Adams, who is a lifelong Indians fan. When the Tribe have runners in scoring position, that is when you can hear the drum. Adams is seated in the top row of the bleachers in section 182 alongside with his bass drum. The atmosphere is what makes this ballpark so great.
4 (out of 5) Bad Luck concert tickets. This city (and the team) has had its fair share of "Bad Luck", but this ballpark does rock.
Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles
Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins
Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies
Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals
U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox
Angel Stadium, home of the Anaheim Angels
Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres
AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants
Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies
PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Oakand-Alameda County Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics
Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers
Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians
Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds