Cheap Seats at Progressive Field

Cleveland Indians

Cheap Seats at Progressive Field

Posted by Kurt Smith

For folks and families on a budget, you have plenty of options for cheap seats at Progressive Field. Here are three suggestions from Ballpark E-Guides…all of these sections have their advantages and disadvantages, so pick what works for you.


cheap seats at progressive field view box

Stay warm in the lower seats.

Cheap Seats at Progressive Field, #1) View Box/Upper Box. With the deals to be had on Tribe tickets, you’re probably better off seeking View Box or Upper Box than Upper Reserved. The price difference between Upper Box and Upper Reserved isn’t much, although View Box can cost a chunk more. (It’s worth it for the ease of getting to the concourse).

The upper level at the Prog is pushed up pretty high by the three levels of suite seating, and is steeper than you’d probably like, especially in Upper Reserved sections. It can also be considerably cooler up there…dress warm.

All that said, these are still among my favorite seats here for one great reason: the stunning view of the Cleveland skyline and the Big Board, especially from first base side. If you like big scoreboards and city views at the ballpark, the upper level in Cleveland offers one of the best.


cheap seats at progressive field bleachers

Featuring backs with assigned numbers for less cheek sharing!

Cheap Seats at Progressive Field, #2) The Bleachers. The bleacher benches are among the dirt cheapest seats in the ballpark, and they’re fairly popular. The Indians even sell some season tickets here…but if you’re going to sit on these benches 81 nights a year you should probably bring a cushion.

The benches have backs and aren’t too uncomfortable, and the view isn’t bad save for missing some of left field. You are facing away from the Big Board here, though, and that’s one of the Prog’s more striking visual features.

The bleachers are also, of course, where you’ll find John Adams, the Tribe fan that has been carrying his big bass drum to Indians games since 1973. John’s a nice fellow; introduce yourself and he’ll chat with you when he’s not pounding the skins.


cheap seats at progressive field district ticket

Life at the Corner. It’s pretty hopping.

Cheap Seats at Progressive Field, #3: The Corner Standing Room. OK, I know it’s not technically “seating”, but the very inexpensive “District Ticket” includes a drink, and The Corner is a terrific standing spot. There are lots of drink rails to lean on and a multi-level bar, with a wide selection of great craft beers.

The upper level in the Corner has sofas and a fire pit, making it a great spot for those chilly April Cleveland nights; if you’re single it’s not a bad place to meet a fellow single Tribe fan.

One very important caveat though…at dusk the sun will be directly in your eyes. Might want to hang out at the drink rails in left field for the first inning or so.

There you go…some cheap seats at Progressive Field for fans on a budget. If you’re spending a few extra bucks, try taking a look at these.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Progressive Field Seating (For Larger Budgets)

Posted by Kurt Smith

The Progressive Field seating chart has everything from dugout suites to bleachers and loads of party areas. But if you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend on seats, check these out…


Progressive Field seating dugout suites

I don’t know if you can ride the wagon to your seats, but that would be pretty cool.

Progressive Field Seating, Ginormous Budget: The Dugout Suites. Yes, those are fans sitting behind that screen that you see on TV during Indians games. It’s just like sitting in the dugout, except without the water coolers.

You need to be of considerable means to get one of these…they’re for mostly groups and I believe you can order them for individual games. You do get all of the suite amenities, which of course includes a private restroom, complimentary food and in-seat wait service. And three parking passes for your group. I saw it during a tour of the ballpark…the field level view is pretty amazing.


progressive field seating home plate club

Indoors is often a great place to be in Cleveland, especially in April.

Progressive Field Seating, Big Budget: Field Box. The Field Box seats aren’t the top level seats; they’re the lower level seats that are found behind the Diamond Box seats. If you search for these on SeatGeek for an April game, you could find a very nice deal. (Note: that’s an affiliate link you just passed. Thanks for your support!)

They’re mostly great seats to begin with, but a Field Box seat season ticket holder (and I presume, anyone who buys a third party ticket on SeatGeek from one) has access to that swanky new Home Plate Club, which features a full bar and some of the hot new Cleveland-based food items that the Indians have added to the Progressive menu.

The Home Plate Club is climate-controlled, which is no small thing here, and presumably lines for food wouldn’t be as long.

One caveat about Field Box though…avoid the “Field Box Back” or even “Field Box Middle” on the first base side…these seats are below the overhang of the Club Level, which blocks the view of the impressive scoreboard if you’re high enough. Plus being in the shade in April isn’t fun.


progressive field seating club seats

You can almost have that end section for yourself.

Progressive Field Seating, Medium Budget: The Club Seats. With the price of food at the game being what it is, often fans will go for an all you can eat deal that teams offer. In most places, this means generic ballpark food in the worst seats in the ballpark.

But in Cleveland, you can get a nice inclusive deal. Club seating here is a better value than at most ballparks.

The club seats in Progressive are fantastic seats: they are close to the field on the first base side, with a boffo view of the impressive scoreboard and the Cleveland skyline, not to mention the plays at first base.

They also have access to the Club Lounge, with food and non-alcoholic drinks included in the ticket. The food is a class above the basic undersized hot dog and nacho cheese sauce; there are pasta, stir-fry and carving stations, salads, and a chef’s action station with a changing menu. You could get your money’s worth on that.

All this in a comfortable climate-controlled area—again, no small thing in April in Cleveland. April’s a good month to try this out, in fact…you may find some pretty good deals on SeatGeek. (Legal bit: that’s an affiliate link, through which Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support!)

That’s three tips for Indians seating, but there’s a lot to know about all of the seats at the Prog. If you’re interested in getting in on the cheap, you have some perfectly nice choices. Stay tuned.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Progressive Field With Kids – 3 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

Visiting Progressive Field with kids is a treat for parents these days. In addition to a large, fantastic and partially climate-controlled play area, the Indians offer great deals for families.

Here are three things you should know about when bringing the children to an Indians game:


Progressive field with kids little league

Clever play on words in the title.

Progressive Field With Kids, Tip #1) Get KeyBank Kids Tickets. The Tribe gives two discounted tickets for kids with one adult ticket; the seats are in the mezzanine section near the kids area.

The kids area at Progressive is among the best I’ve seen; there’s an indoor multi-level play section with a big slide, and a “Little League Park” spot with a wiffle ball field, climbing wall and batting cages. Whatever the weather, the kids have a place to play.

The best part? From most of the area, Dad (or Mom!) can keep one eye on the game.


progressive field with kids run the bases

The high five from the coach is the best part.

Progressive Field With Kids, Tip #2) Go On Sunday. Sundays are Kids Days and include pre-game entertainment on Larry Doby Way; kids can interview players and get their pictures taken with the hot dog race mascots. After the game they can run the bases – a very popular promotion.

But if you can’t make it for a Sunday game…


progressive field with kids fireworks

Yeah yeah yeah, just bring out the fireworks!

Progressive Field With Kids, Tip #3) Try Friday Nights. If the little ones don’t mind the noise and like fireworks, take them to see the Rock-N-Blast show on Fridays after the game. The very impressive (and very popular) shows include a musical theme, like the Beatles, one-hit wonders, etc.

There’s three things to know when taking the kids for an Indians game…if you want more Progressive Field hacks (including finding cheaper tickets), check out the links below or click here for the fascinating and informative Ballpark E-Guides Progressive Field page!

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Brands of Progressive Field Nachos

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you love nachos with your baseball (and who doesn’t?) the home of the Indians will make you very happy. There’s not only three types of Progressive Field nachos, they’re all very different and great in their own way.

Here they are, in order of my personal preference, but your mileage may vary.


progressive field nachos barrio

That’s what nachos need folks…lots of ingredients.

Progressive Field Nachos, #1) Barrio. Barrio is a Tremont-based eatery that is mostly about handmade tacos, crafted by a team of experts before your eyes. But they also make a truly awesome…and large…plate of nachos.

Barrio makes a big plate of chips with melted and shredded cheese, several types of salsas, and extra chicken or chorizo for a small fee. It’s easily enough for two, and reasonably priced for a ballpark.

The chips are salty though, so be sure to get a drink with them.


progressive field nachos momocho

Not just sour cream…cilantro-lime cream. This is a ballpark, remember?

Progressive Field Nachos, #2) Momocho. Ohio City based Momocho is more focused on nachos and quesadillas, and their chips are made to order and heated in a giant rotisserie oven.

Toppings include chicken, pulled pork, or chorizo, with pickled jalapenos, green salsa and a cilantro lime cream that both tastes and looks nice. And you can get extra queso or beans.

The chips are less salty here than at Barrio, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash it down with a Luchador.


progressive field nachos locos

Just in case you were wondering if anyone had red salsa.

Progressive Field Nachos, #3) Locos Nachos. They aren’t a locally based brand like the two heavyweight nachos at the Prog, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them.

At Locos you can get a perfectly adequate plate of beef, pork or chicken nachos, with Blanco cheese and red or green salsa. You can even add BBQ of Buffalo sauce, which doesn’t hurt Locos as a nacho choice.

It might be cheaper than the other two too, but don’t hold me to that. It is a place where you can get nachos without waiting in line, though.

That’s three excellent brands of chips with stuff piled on at Progressive Field in Cleveland. But the place has a great selection of other Cleveland based stuff too, like Happy Dogs, Ohio City Burritos, Melt grilled cheeses and much more. The food selection alone at the Prog is worth the price of the ticket.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Indians Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

With the Tribe at or near the top of the AL Central often these days, cheap Indians tickets can be harder to come by. But you still have some ways to save a few bucks on tickets – here are three courtesy of Ballpark E-Guides.


cheap indians tickets april games

The fire pit is a chick magnet. Especially in April.

Cheap Indians Tickets, Tip #1) Brave The April Cold. Cleveland weather being what it is, the Tribe doesn’t generally draw big crowds for April games, especially on weeknights with dynamic pricing. This is a great time of year to save on Club tickets or tickets with access to the Home Plate Club, and you can duck out of the cold in the club.

You can also order a cheap ticket and move to the upstairs section of the Corner bar, and move to the fire pit between innings. And who knows, it might not be that cold that night. I’ve gone to April games in Cleveland that weren’t too bad.


cheap indians tickets donate items

Nothing like a broken-in baseball glove.

Cheap Indians Tickets, Tip #2) Take The Volunteer Challenge. The Indians sometimes offer tickets and other rewards to philanthropic sorts; you can sometimes score tickets by donating cans of food or a used glove.

If you give your time through the team’s Volunteer Challenge, you can reap some rewards when you build up a number of volunteer hours, including game tickets. Who says good deeds aren’t appreciated? Not the Indians!

You can find opportunities like this in the Community section of the Indians’ website.


cheap indians tickets box office

Just in case there is no one at the window.

Cheap Indians Tickets, Tip #3) Eschew The Fees. If you know a game probably won’t sell out (see the April tip above), try getting your tickets at the box office or the team shop rather than online…with multiple tickets especially, you can save a considerable chunk of online fee change.

The only exception is the District Ticket, which is only available online. Bonus tip: the Indians sometimes waive ticket fees and will tell you so in their e-mail ticket alerts; that’s the time to snag those District Tickets.


cheap indians tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Indians tickets.

Cheap Indians Tickets, Tip #4) Bonus Tip: Try SeatGeek. SeatGeek is my favorite third party outlet for Indians tickets, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate. SeatGeek searches from a number of ticket outlets, and I frequently find better deals there than on StubHub.

(Note: the links above are affiliate links, through which Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support!)

There you go; three ways (+1!) for you to land some possibly cheaper tickets to see the 2016 AL Champion Cleveland Indians. Stay tuned, I’ll post more.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Progressive Field Parking – Three Swell Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

The Progressive Field parking layout is sufficient enough to handle most Indians games – although you should probably use the RTA in some cases, such as when the Cavaliers are playing. For most games, though, you have plenty of choices for cheap and/or convenient parking.

Here are three favorites I’ve found, each suitable for its own situation…


progressive field parking gateway east garage

We’re working on the rest of the arrows.

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #1) The Gateway East Garage. This garage is right across Larry Doby Way from the ballpark, and for the convenience it’s reasonably priced (and cheaper than most East 9th St. lots). The lower levels are reserved for employees of both nearby venues, so you’ll be heading to the upper levels, but there is an elevator.

Just get there early, or book your spot ahead of time especially if you anticipate a big crowd at the game.


progressive field parking tower city garage

All this AND offices!

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #2) The Tower City Garage. Tower City is a bit of a walk from the ballpark, but most of it is a covered walkway for RTA users that are dropped off at Tower City, so weather shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s cheap and an easy out after the game, and nearby restaurants like Morton’s Steakhouse are right there if you’d like a decent meal before or after the game.


Progressive field parking flat iron cafe

Cleveland’s oldest Irish pub, no doubt because they take people to Indians games.

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #3) The Flat Iron Cafe. You can park for free on the street at the Flatty, as locals call it, or use the very inexpensive lot nearby. At the Flatty you can have a decent meal and ride their colorful shuttle to the ballpark and back.

Great money saver for parking and food if you have the time, and you’re spared the traffic hassles at the ballpark.

There you go, three helpful parking tips for Indians games at Progressive Field. But you have lots of other options to get there, like light rail, the Healthline, even the Great Lakes Fatty Wagon. Stay tuned, I’ll post more.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Visiting Progressive Field – 5 Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Progressive Field for the first time, here are a few tips for when you go. With the Cleveland nine back on top of the American League Central in recent years, they’re back to being a draw again…so plan accordingly.


Visiting progressive field ticket kiosks

The one on the right hooks you up if you mention my name.

Visiting Progressive Field, Tip #1: Try buying tickets from the team first. The Indians, for the moment, still have some great offers especially for multiple games. They also employ “dynamic pricing”, and they claim that prices will be lowest when tickets first go on sale. That may be true, but given the increased demand, you should try to buy tickets through the team first.

For mid-week games in April, you can probably still go to the box office on game day and avoid the considerable online fees.


visiting progressive field club seats

Sometimes whole sections of folks go for food.

Visiting Progressive Field, Tip #2: Look into Club seating. The Club seats at Progressive Field are more expensive than much of the seating bowl, but they’re worth it; you not only get food and drink from several buffet stations included in the ticket, you also have access to the climate controlled concourse and its tables and bars…no small thing in a city that often needs climate control.

The club seats are divided into three sections, so you can go for the ones closest to the outfield to save a few bucks.


visiting progressive field flat iron cafe

A free ride to the game? It’s my lucky day!

Visiting Progressive Field, Tip #3: Try an Ohio City shuttle. If you want to have a pre- or post-game drink, there are a couple of joints west of the ballpark that not only sell cheaper beer, but will also give you a ride to the game.

The Great Lakes Brewery is a popular pre-game spot with both a great selection of local brews and good burgers, but the Flat Iron Café is no slouch either, and both have vans to take you to the game. It’s not a bad way to avoid parking prices and traffic hassles at the ballpark, which can be considerable. But…


visiting progressive field dogs and shakes

“Which one would you like, sir?” “Yes.”

Visiting Progressive Field, Tip #4: Eat at the game. Progressive Field has shot up the rankings of best ballpark food selection in baseball in the last couple of years, and the best part is how many great Cleveland institutions are represented there now.

There’s the Melt grilled cheeses and the amazing Parmageddon sandwich, Barrio tacos, Ohio City Burritos, Fathead’s sandwiches, and that Slider Dog from Happy Dogs and many more. Finish it up with Sweet Moses ice cream.

The food selection absolutely rocks at the Prog these days…bring a few bucks and an appetite. And share.


visiting progressive field believe in cleveland

I do now!

Visiting Progressive Field, Tip #5: Enjoy Cleveland. The city was once called the Mistake By The Lake; today, thanks both to a great ballpark and Drew Carey, everyone can sing “Cleveland Rocks”.

There are several other attractions not far at all, like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which is finally legit with the induction of Rush and Chicago), the Science Center, and a very happening nightlife scene between the ballpark and the other attractions. They even got their football team back.

There you go, five tips for visiting Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Oh, don’t forget to bring the kids, too…they have a brand new multi-level play area in right field, and unlike most ballpark play areas, the parents can watch the game from there. It’s a win-win.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Get To Progressive Field – Take The “RTA” Train

Posted by Kurt Smith

It’s easy enough to get to Progressive Field by car, at least when there isn’t a mammoth construction going on as there has been recently. The Prog is in the heart of downtown Cleveland, and there are three interstates with exits dropping one off right at the ballpark, and ample and reasonably inexpensive parking can be had in any direction.

When I’m in Cleveland though, at least traveling solo, I prefer finding a park-and-ride on Cleveland’s RTA Rapid Transit, and taking a train to the ballpark for several reasons:


get to progressive field rta sign

Just so the pics here are helpful too.

– RTA trains are inexpensive; you might be able to get a good deal on parking at the ballpark, but you will use some gas getting there, and the RTA gives day passes relatively cheap. Most park-and-rides do not charge anything to use their lots. You can get to Progressive Field very cheaply with RTA.

– RTA trains are surprisingly comfortable, more so than most other big city public transit trains that I’ve ridden anyway. The seats are large and padded, and the view isn’t bad on the way, especially approaching Tower City and downtown Cleveland. (Sit on the right side of the train for a cool view of the Prog coming in.)

– The RTA drops riders off at the Tower City Center, which is sort of a small mall. From Tower City there is a covered walkway that is about a quarter of a mile to the Quicken Loans Arena (the “Q”) and Progressive Field right next door.


get to progressive field hard rock guitar

Bring your “big” pick.

This last is a nice reason; Tower City has shops and restaurants including a Hard Rock Café (and the huge guitar there is really cool); you can have a decent meal before or after the game or find goodies to put in your bag for the ballpark. The walkway is open for about 90 minutes after the last out, so you have plenty of time to get back after the game. You can still get to the train station without the walkway, you just won’t be protected from the elements.

Again, it isn’t difficult to drive to the ballpark, but I prefer avoiding the pre- and post-game traffic around the ballpark, and RTA is well-suited for getting you to the Indians game.

Of course there are other ways to get to Progressive Field…like the HealthLine, the Flat Iron shuttle, or just driving your car… stay tuned, I’ll post more.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard – The Real Deal

Posted by Kurt Smith

Even if you’re getting a loaded dog, you can’t pass up on Bertman’s ballpark mustard.

Somehow many people, myself included, have confused the “Stadium Mustard” made by Davis Foods with the authentic, served-since-the-League-Park-days Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard that goes on most hot dogs served at Progressive Field. (Note: those are affiliate links you’ve just passed, through which Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission. Thanks for your support!)

Joe Bertman’s spicy brown mustard has been part of Cleveland since the 1920s, while the “Stadium” version was made by another company smart enough to give it a similar name and make it available in retail stores first.

The two are similar in taste. Both are spicy Dijon deli-style mustards, better in quality than the French’s yellow usually found at the ballgame. Bertman’s takes pride in not watering down their mustard and using the finest vinegar; Stadium Mustard is pretty thick too. The only difference (according to a West Side Market vendor) is that the Stadium Mustard has cayenne in it.


bertmans ballpark mustard progressive field

Be careful of impostors that spell “ball park” as one word!

To this day Stadium Mustard is easier to find in supermarkets and elsewhere, including in sports arenas outside of Progressive Field; I was unable to locate a bottle of Bertman’s in my travels except at the West Side Market. But despite their similar tastes, Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard is the real thing if you’re looking for authenticity.

It’s not that Stadium Mustard is bad by any means, just be sure you know what you’re getting.

(Note from Kurt: I received an e-mail about this piece from someone who remained anonymous, accusing me of “mustard propaganda”, which may be the funniest thing I’ve ever been accused of. As far as I can tell there aren’t any factual errors here, but if so feel free to call me out.)

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Progressive Field Food – 3 Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

Until recently, the Progressive Field food menu hadn’t been populated with local icons. But as of 2015 the Indians started to recognize the city’s best food purveyors in the Right Field District…and the Indians game experience is much better for it. They’ve since added even more local icons to the ballpark…you can read about them here.

Here are just three items worth trying on the fantastic Prog menu these days…


Progressive field food melt

Add an egg and it would be a pretty mean breakfast too.

Progressive Field Food Tip #1: Melt Chorizo and Potato Grilled Cheese. Come on man. Chorizo sausage with potato hash and cheddar cheese in a sandwich! Man food, but of course women love it too.

The Melt stand in the Right Field District is based on the local chain of grilled cheese sandwich shops in Cleveland, and they’re popular not just because of those wacky ingredients but also for that thick garlicky bread they pile them on.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer pronounced Melt as a place where “you don’t go to watch your calories”. Bonus at the ballpark: you’ll be walking them off anyway, so go ahead and have a Melt grilled cheese.


progressive field food dynomite

I think J.J. would approve.

Progressive Field Food Tip #2: Dynomite Burger. Yes, it’s named for Jimmie Walker’s signature phrase on the TV show “Good Times”, and yes, you’re dating yourself if you’re familiar with it.

But it’s not a bad exclamation for a fresh burger in any of several styles…like the “Parallax” (white cheddar, bacon, BBQ mayo and red onion), or the “Chinato” (Mortadella, tomato, red onions and tomato mayo). There are other places to get a perfectly adequate burger here, but this is the high end stuff. Look at those toppings.

Dynomite Burgers are a creation of chef Zack Bruell, who by day is a chef for five fine dining restaurants in Cleveland. And yes, it was his idea to use Jimmie Walker’s catchphrase.


Progressive field food wisconsin brat burger

They always get me with the peppers and onions!

Progressive Field Food Tip #3: The Brew Kettle Wisconsin Brat Burger. Picture this: a smoked pork burger patty, topped with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut relish on the side, on a pretzel bun. With peppers and onions for a small fee, as you can see. Did I not tell you Cleveland’s ballpark has a banging food selection?

The Brew Kettle is a brewery with several locations in the area…and they offer some of their signature beers at the Prog, like their White Rajah IPA, the Four C’s with four types of hops, and Kitka, a coconut chocolate milk stout. Get your sausage, pretzel, beer and chocolate fix in just one place!


That’s just three selections at Progressive Field food; the place is full of great Cleveland eateries like Barrio, Sweet Moses, Great Lakes Brewing and a fine selection of craft brews too. Stay tuned, I’ll post more…

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

What To Eat At Progressive Field – 3 More Items

Posted by Kurt Smith

Not very long ago, the question of what to eat at Progressive Field wasn’t hard to answer. You had a lot of choices for what to eat, like Cleats wings or loaded burgers, but the Indians hadn’t brought in a lot of local icons the way the Phillies or Nationals have.

That has completely changed; today the Prog has an entire taste of the city of Cleveland in the ballpark. In the opinion of this traveling fan, Progressive Field is now one of the top destinations for ballpark food. Even when it comes to the weird stuff!

Here are my three favorite new food concepts at the Prog as of 2016…


what to eat at progressive field slider dog

On a hot dog? Sure, why not?

What To Eat At Progressive Field, Tip #1: The Slider Dog. The whole concept of the Slider Dog is so insane that you’ve got to try it. It’s a quarter pound dog with mac and cheese and bacon…okay, so far not anything totally unusual…and then topped with Froot Loops. Yes, Froot Loops.

Yes, someone at Happy Dog thought the classic sugary cereal would make a great hot dog topping. But the Happy Dog people that added their grub to the Prog in 2016 are known for this…at their Gordon Square location, they have over 50 toppings for the classic American food…including Spaghettios (!), peanut butter, and Caribbean cole slaw.

The Slider Dog is at the Happy Dog stand on the third base side.


what to eat at progressive field fat heads

The beer there is pretty good too.

What To Eat At Progressive Field, Tip #2: The Fat Italian. If you’re hungry, Fat Head’s is a good choice for their “Headwiches”…sandwiches the size of your head. The Fat Italian has every pork product you need in an Italian delicacy…ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni and hot sausage, topped with provolone, banana peppers, and a hard boiled egg for that late night breakfast feel.

Come to think of it, that sounds like a great breakfast sandwich…great for those early arrival folks that missed out on Sunday brunch to go to an Indians game.

Fat Head’s is a brewery and sandwich shop located in North Olmstead; they have a great selection of summer seasonal beers at their stand on the third base side. Nothing like a big sandwich with a craft beer.


what to eat at progressive field ohio city burrito

Note the complete absence of brown-ness on the guacamole!

What To Eat At Progressive Field, Tip #3: The Ohio City Chicken Burrito. I recently read a quote from a blogger that the burrito is the perfect ballpark food; you can eat it on the fly and carry it in your non-beer holding hand. The skies parted for me when I read that.

Ohio City Burrito, as the name strongly implies, is a burrito joint in the Ohio City section of Cleveland. They take great pride in their burrito-rolling technique…which is no small feat to master. At the Prog your burrito includes chicken with rice, black beans, onions, peppers, cheese, lettuce, and a choice of homemade salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

Ohio City Burrito is also on the third base side. Just hang out there if you’re hungry and you’ve tried everything in right field.

That’s three more selections of food at Progressive Field; I haven’t even mentioned the cool new stuff like the Sweet Moses sodas, the spaghetti and meatball pizza from Dante’s Inferno, or the Wisconsin brat burger at the Brew Kettle. But there’s plenty to choose from…stay tuned, I’ll write more!

(Fat Head’s logo courtesy of Fat Head’s Brewery.)

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Progressive Field Photo-Ops

Posted by Kurt Smith

Well, I hope I’ve offered some helpful Progressive Field tips on this site for your next visit. It’s nice to know all of your transportation options and about the Barrio nachos. Here are a few great Progressive Field photo-ops to be aware of in your visit:


Progressive Field photo-ops heritage park

No, Jake Taylor isn’t here yet.

Progressive Field Photo-Ops, #1: Heritage Park. The Indians may not have won a world championship in a long time, but when you go to see Heritage Field in the left center field area, you realize that this team has had some great players through the years.

There’s dedications to the top 100 Indians as chosen in the 100th anniversary celebration, great moments in Cleveland baseball through the years, even a plaque dedicated to shortstop Ray Chapman, who was killed by a pitched baseball in 1920. Heritage Park also has bricks dedicated by Tribe fans.

Heritage Park is nicely laid out, making it easy to see all of the exhibits. For big games it can get crowded, so you should check it out early if you can.


Progressive Field photo-ops mascot races

She made kissy noises when I asked her for a date. At least I think it’s a she.

Progressive Field Photo-Ops, #2: The Sugardale Hot Dog Races. Now that the Brewers, Nationals, and Braves all have racing mascots, the Indians have followed up with mascots of Sugardale hot dogs, the official dog of the Indians.

But rather than dressing up as different kinds of dogs, the Sugardale mascots differ only in the condiment that covers them. On the Indians website they’ve given them different personalities: Ketchup wins a lot but cheats to do so; Mustard is the clean cut hero; and Onion is the “diva” that has a crush on Mustard—much to the chagrin of Ketchup.

Maybe not original, but a fun twist on the Brewers’ Sausage Races. During the game, the mascots greet fans in the concourse areas.


Progressive Field photo-ops john adams

#1 Cleveland Indians fan John Adams poses with #1 Progressive Field expert Kurt Smith.

Progressive Field Photo-Ops, #3: John Adams, The Drummer. He’s been the Indians drummer for many years and almost never misses a game; you can hear the drum pounding during rallies or other key points in the game. It would be hard to find a fan willing to sit for every game in the top row of the bleachers…arguably the worst seats in the ballpark…but Adams doesn’t mind. He and his drum both have season tickets, courtesy of the Indians who like his style.

Adams looks serious when pounding the skins, but he’s a very friendly guy, and he spends much of the game posing with fans for photos and talking baseball with them. If you get a chance, go meet him. People like John Adams make baseball great.

There’s three great photo-ops at the home of the Tribe. Enjoy.

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Best Ballpark of 2016 – Progressive Field

Posted by Kurt Smith

Progressive Field may not be the best ballpark in MLB, but it was the best of 2016 in terms of improvements. I’m not sure how much of this post will apply now (like affordability), but it’s still worth the trip.

When Jacobs Field was new in the mid-1990s and featured a suddenly competitive Indians team, it was the hottest ticket in baseball. Indeed, the venue experienced 455 straight sellouts back then, a string of almost eight straight seasons with no empty seats.

Nowadays that is hard to imagine. The Indians are near the bottom in baseball attendance as this is being written, even with a fairly competitive team. Only the Rays draw fewer fans.


best ballpark of 2016 progressive corner

It used to be the Jake, but the location was the same.

Part of the reason for this may be the difficulties of traffic in an area with lots of construction. I don’t know how else to explain it; the team is reasonably good, the prices are reasonable right now and the ballpark has been greatly improved since last year. The Indians have added party areas, shuttles and a greatly improved Cleveland-themed menu.

Here are a few reasons why you should put Cleveland on your list of ballparks to see this year (or any year!).

Best Ballpark of 2016, Reason #1: Affordability. Tickets are easy and cheap; a very good seat at the Prog can be had for a fraction of the price of the same seat at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. That’s the plus of a team that struggles at the gate. If you can stand Cleveland weather in April especially (remember that club seats offer an out from the elements), you can get into the ballpark for a great price.


best ballpark of 2016 barrio nachos

Great nachos = Great ballpark.

Best Ballpark of 2016, Reason #2: Great food. The Prog has been renovated, and part of the new menu is some outstanding Cleveland staple food items, like Melt, Barrio and Sweet Moses. The food selection has greatly improved, and there is still the ubiquitous Ballpark Mustard.

I won’t say the food is a bargain here…it’s still a ballpark…but you do get a little more value at the Prog in my experience. The Barrio nachos are a pretty hefty plate of food, and the bigger hot dogs are no slouch either. And there are dollar dog nights and cheap burger stands, too.


best ballpark of 2016 e 9th st

Just look for this exit.

Best Ballpark of 2016, Reason #3: Easy Access. Parking is ample and reasonable here, and the ballpark…if you know what you’re doing…is very easy to get to. If you don’t want to drive, there are perfectly adequate public transit options, like the RTA train lines or the HealthLine.

There are also a couple of taverns with beer specials and fine food that will shuttle you to the game, making for a great night out.


best ballpark of 2016 winking lizard

With a logo like this, you know it’s a cool place.

Best Ballpark of 2016, Reason #4: The Area. Downtown Cleveland is a great destination in its own right, with the Rock and Roll Hall (which finally properly includes Rush, Yes and Chicago), the Science Center, and some great downtown bars and restaurants. And the West Side Market is a worth a visit.

Like in Baltimore, there are quite a few major attractions in Cleveland that are not far from the ballpark. Making a day of visiting Cleveland is no problem these days.


best ballpark of 2016 road trip

Next on the map: Detroit.

Best Ballpark of 2016, Reason #5: Road Trip Essential. Cleveland is not very far from Detroit, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, and you can make Cleveland the centerpiece of a road trip that includes four of major league baseball’s great ballparks.

Oh, and last but not least, here’s a very cool bonus reason, at no extra charge:

Cheap Beer! You can get a beer at Progressive Field for just two bucks!! (Don’t know if this will be the case following the 2016 AL Championship season.)

Cheap tickets for a renovated ballpark in a happening town.

So if you’re wondering which is the best ballpark to put on your travel list for 2016, consider the newly renovated, beautiful ballpark in the great city of Cleveland.

Want to know more about Progressive Field? Sign up here for my completely free Progressive Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

The Greatest Indian – Bob Feller

Posted by Kurt Smith

A few years ago, I was approached by a gentleman named Peter Fertig, author of a children’s baseball book called “The Deal Is On Strike Three” (that’s an affiliate link, incidentally), who asked me if I might be willing to serve on the board of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award that he had founded.

I was surprised and more than humbled by the request. I had always admired Feller, but reading more about the man, I am now in awe of him.

When I think of players I wish I could have seen in their prime, it’s often pitchers that go near the top of the list. I loved watching Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander or David Price just blow through a lineup and make the best hitters in baseball look like Little Leaguers.


Bob Feller dedication

One of baseball’s greatest pitchers. And an even greater American hero.

So one of my only regrets of being born when I was is missing out on seeing the greatest pitchers; and if you asked me to pick my top three that I never saw, they would be Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Bob Feller. And maybe Steve Dalkowski, had he ever made it in the bigs.

The Indians hadn’t been much of a powerhouse for most of my 45 years. But there was a time when the Cleveland nine were a consistently contending squad, and the biggest reason was Rapid Robert. During Feller’s career, the Indians made two World Series appearances, winning the 1948 Fall Classic against the Milwaukee Braves. They finished first or second for six straight seasons towards the end of Feller’s career.

Bob Feller piled up strikeouts in an era when hitters were far more selective than they are today. It’s not that Kerry Wood or Roger Clemens recording 20 Ks in a game isn’t a big deal, but I doubt it was as much of a big deal as Feller fanning 18 in one game, as he did in October of 1938. In 1946, he set a record with 348 strikeouts, which would stand until Nolan Ryan K’d 383 in 1973.

He also threw three no-hitters, a record until Sandy Koufax came along, and 12 one-hitters, a record that still stands (shared with Ryan). One of them was the only Opening Day no-hitter in history, in case anyone asks you the trivia question of “when was the only time in history when every player’s batting average was the same before and after a game?”. Another was against the mighty Yankees.

Said Feller of that one: “The no-hitter on opening day in Chicago is the one that gets all the attention. But my no-hitter at Yankee Stadium was against a much better team than the White Sox. There was no comparison. I had to pitch to Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller and Joe DiMaggio in the ninth inning to get the Yankees out.” What a thriller that must have been to see.


Bob feller tribute part 2

The one baseball record that is most unlikely to be broken.

My favorite quote from Bob Feller is this one: “I would rather beat the Yankees regularly than pitch a no-hitter.”

Feller posted 266 wins and 2,581 strikeouts in his career. And like many great players of the era, he lost four seasons to World War II.

Despite a terminally ill father and the offer of an exemption from combat, Feller enlisted immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and served as a gun captain on the U.S.S. Alabama, a ship that saw several combat missions. During his time in the Navy, Feller earned six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars. He is still today the only Chief Petty Officer that is in the Baseball Hall of Fame…the one record he owns that is most likely to remain unbroken.

Of his World War II service, Feller modestly said that “the real heroes didn’t come home.” He told a reporter that “combat is an experience that you never forget. A war teaches you that baseball is only a game, after all — a minor thing, compared to the sovereignty and security of the United States. I once told a newspaper reporter that the bombing attack we lived through on the Alabama had been the most exciting 13 hours of my life. After that, I said, the pinstriped perils of Yankee Stadium seemed trivial.”

Feller believed that everyone should serve in the military because of its character building. I could never argue with someone who no-hit the Yankees in the Stadium.


bob feller tribute statue

A windup that says: here comes strike three.

Baseball people estimate that given Feller’s 1941 and 1946 performances, he would have likely totaled over 300 wins and 3,800 strikeouts in his career…enough to top Walter Johnson, the record-holder at the time. He also probably would have added some no-hitters and one-hitters to his lifetime total. But the Heater from Van Meter had no regrets. When asked what his biggest victory was, he always replied: “World War II.”

Feller passed away in December of 2010, and while I didn’t think too much of it at the time, I realize now how fortunate I was to have been to a game in Cleveland the following season, and seeing tributes decorate Progressive Field…some of which are featured in this post…and seeing the statue dedicated not just to the Greatest Indian, but much more importantly to a proud war hero.

It is a great honor to serve for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. I highly recommend that you have a look at the Act of Valor Award website and Facebook page, and see more about what they do to acknowledge war heroes, both of past eras and today.

A Trip To The Jake

Posted by Kurt Smith

One day in late June of 1994, I stood at my coil-winding machine wondering what I was going to do with my long weekend. The Fourth of July yielded two whole days off from my employer, who no doubt was trying to weasel out of giving holiday pay to their undeserving employees. With my Orioles in Cleveland, I pondered taking a road trip.


trip to the jake panorama

See, Cleveland’s not so bad.

The city of Cleveland had begun a long overdue resurgence. A brand new ballpark, Jacobs Field, had finally replaced Municipal Stadium, a place that could have been used for religious pep rallies. The Gund (now Quicken Loans) Arena, the new home of the Cavaliers, had emerged next door. The city barely edged out Philadelphia as the new home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Suddenly, in a matter of just months, the Mistake on the Lake was a worthwhile place for tourists to spend a few dollars.

I had a new car, a 1993 Chevrolet Lumina. I didn’t doubt that it could get me there from Willingboro, NJ. But I didn’t want to drive eight hours to a rainout. Right up until that morning, I was still apprehensive. Why, I don’t know, although it might have had something to do with a Baltimore game getting rained out the year before, and that’s just a two hour drive. Apparently I considered it a big enough deal to be full of trepidation about going.

Watching the Weather Channel, there was rain in the forecast just about everywhere in the country. Except in Ohio.

A phone call to their local weather confirmed a clear evening. A sign from the Baseball Gods. Finally at about 10:00 AM, I pulled the trigger. Called the team, ordered a ticket, got in the car and went.

A light drizzle peppered me along most of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but shortly after crossing the Ohio border, following a rest stop with a fill-up and a Whopper, choirs sang and the skies began to clear…and by the time I had reached the city, it was a gorgeous 73-degree evening with completely clear skies…a perfect night for baseball. I hopped off I-77 at East 9th Street, finding a parking spot at the bar that is now “Local Heroes” or something, just minutes before gametime. Downtown Cleveland.

I circled the ballpark on foot and took in Cleveland’s newest jewel with awe. The white steel, the limestone façade, toothbrush lights, and hordes of newly awakened baseball fans. Just as fresh and stylish as Camden Yards, yet completely different.

All on a beautifully clear, temperate early evening made doubly special by the dark, rainy weather that I had experienced most of the day. I managed to grab a program and find my seat just before gametime, staring at the huge “Indians” atop the scoreboard and marveling at the notion that I was in Cleveland.


trip to the jake moyer

This guy could pitch.

And the game wasn’t half bad. I believe I hold a small distinction of being present for Cal Ripken’s only homer at the Jake. It put the Birds up 2-1 behind the crafty pitching of Jamie Moyer, one of the more underrated pitchers of his era (and this era, since he’s still pitching as I write this).

I had forgotten about it, but I instantly remembered it when I saw his name in the boxscore. In the sixth inning Chris Sabo, playing in his only season for the O’s, tried to stretch a routine single into a double and was thrown out by about an hour. I remember thinking that I wished the Orioles wouldn’t sign National Leaguers.

Wearing my Orioles gear, I wasn’t too popular with the guys on my right until I bought the guys on my left a beer. Then my right hand men struck a conversation with me, asking how many strikeouts Moyer had (that’s why I keep score). The Indians scored later to make the score 2-2 by the seventh, when Moyer gave way to Mark Williamson, in order to face the mighty Albert Belle with one on.

I am convinced that backup pitchers are called relief pitchers because of the opportunity they provide to empty one’s bladder. At least it worked for me. The Jake’s architects were obviously fans, and installed speakers to broadcast the games in the men’s room. Great idea, I thought, as I pulled up my pants listening to Williamson deliver the first pitch to Belle.

The temperamental Belle reacted by crushing the ball as only he could, and unleashed a mammoth blast into the left field bleachers. Returning to my seat I remarked to my neighbor that it was a good time for an Orioles fan to be not watching, and he agreed…I believe “Yeah, that was a shot” were his words. Williamson would be out of the game a batter later without recording an out.

Cleveland won 4-2 with Mark Clark pitching a complete game. But for once I didn’t mind an Orioles loss (I would certainly have to get used to it after 1997), even as a Cleveland fan sneered at me in the concourse for wearing Orioles gear.

After the game I stopped in the bar where I had parked for a beer and an enjoyable chat with a few local fans. That beer totaled four for the evening, a high number for me. Starting the trek towards home, I simply figured I would go as far as I could go towards home, then crash in a hotel somewhere.

Back out on the Turnpike, with Devo playing on the stereo, I suddenly realized I was tired enough to sleep immediately. Stopping in a Dunkin Donuts on the highway for coffee, I went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face.


trip to the jake AM PM market

It was AM. And not the good one.

Picture a six-foot-four guy having removed his hat that he’d been sweating in all night (and I wasn’t much for haircuts back then), dangerously close to falling asleep, with four beers sloshing around his system. What do you suppose this lanky, wide-eyed Baseball Geek looked like? If you said “an alien with an Orioles shirt on” you’d be about right. I pondered what the people at the counter were thinking when the deranged derelict came in for a cup of coffee. A good Thanksgiving story for many of them.

Crossing over the Pennsylvania border, I finally stopped off the first exit, waking up the nice hotel owner and just barely out-negotiating two other people for the last room in the place. It was a little spooky, actually–an out of the way little hotel at 2AM.

The next day that same hotel owner at the office recommended a diner called—I’m not making this up—Sadie’s Big Beaver. And after a fine breakfast of bacon and sunny side up eggs at Sadie’s, I enjoyed a long ride home driving through the hills of Pennsylvania, on a picture-perfect July day.


trip to the jake what if

Answers to this question are often great things.

The Jacobs Field souvenir beer cup made it home with me, where I could display it next to the Camden Yards cup. With notes underneath for my roommates: Under Jacobs Field–“This is cool.” And under Camden Yards–“But this is better.” A sentiment I still carry today, with all respect to Cleveland fans.

Looking back it was one of the most enjoyable days of my life, perhaps even top five on that scale, and yet that morning I had to overcome my stupid hand-wringing and take the chance on going. What a difference a Nike moment can make. It’s one of my favorite tips for ballpark road trippers. Just do it. I’ve never regretted it.

So endeth my first Cleveland adventure, and the beginning of the making of a certified Baseball Geek.

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