Progressive Field – Cleveland, Ohio

— Matt Nelson

“I still call it ‘The Jake.'” Well, I can’t take credit for that line, but if you want a t-shirt with that quote, you can buy one here.

Progressive Field, probably still better known as Jacobs Field (1994-2007), is the very, very, nice ballpark located in downtown Cleveland, home of the Indians.

I’d been to a game at this park back in 2000. It’s a little different these days. Back then the Indians for the team to beat in the AL Central and the place was packed. No really, pretty much all of the time. From June 12, 1995, to April 4, 2001 the Indians sold out 455 straight games. That was a Major League record until it was surpassed by the Boston Red Sox in 2008.

These days the Indians are having a much harder time selling tickets. I visited the park for a day game on Thursday, July 1 against Toronto. No shortage of seats on that afternoon. Hopefully things will turn around a bit. The Indians are only a few years removed from their run to the ALCS in 2007. There seems to be a lot of talent in the Indians organization. But, as Indians VP for Public Relations Bob DiBiasio told me, “We are not a checkbook organization,” so don’t expect the club to sign a bunch of high-priced free agents to compliment those young players. The Indians lost Cy Young winners Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia in recent years because they couldn’t afford to keep them around.

The park is in a great location on the south side of downtown Cleveland. Sitting behind home plate or along the first or third base lines offers a nice view of the city. Of course if you sit in the left field bleachers, you’ll still find fans beating the drum.

Center Field pays tribute to the Indians long history. Heritage Park opened at Jacobs Field in 2007 and is very, very well done. Lots of great names have played baseball through the years in this city. No charge, just stroll in off the concourse. Also while strolling the concourse, make sure you hang out in the left field corner by the foul pole. A nice standing room-only area right there, and never a shortage of home run balls flying into that area either!

I love unique light towers, and the ones at Progressive Field are pretty darn cool. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s kind of a distinctive look for the park.

Progressive Field is not at the top of my list of the 31 MLB parks I’ve been to, but it ranks relatively high and really is a nice place to take in a game. I have no complaints with this park!

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Look for more on Progressive Field when my segments on Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio, air on KCRG-TV in a few weeks, and when they’re posted on the “Ballparks of the Midwest” KCRG.com site.

Classic Park is home of the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League, and Indians affiliate. What this means is that the Captains players are playing just 18 m iles from where they hope to be in 2-4 years.

The Indians were very accomodating with my interview/video request, as well as giving me the opportunity to watch the game from the press box! Again, look for that video story in August.

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