Progressive Field Seating – Best Seats, Cheap Seats + Standing Room

Cleveland Indians


Progressive Field Seating – Best Seats, Cheap Seats + Standing Room

Posted by Kurt Smith

Here it is Guardians fans and Progressive Field visitors…your complete and handy Progressive Field seating guide! I’ve included all the tips I could find for choosing the best seats at Progressive Field for your budget and taste…including cheap seats, great standing room spots, shaded sections and more.

(If you’d like to know about getting tickets, parking and food at the Cleveland Guardians ballpark, be sure to check out my complete Progressive Field guide here!)

 

progressive field seating guide tips best seats

Yes, there are many thousands. I’m here to help.

I’ve broken this down into parts so you can skip stuff if need be (but don’t, it’s all good…):

Your Key Progressive Field Seating Tips

Progressive Field Layout
The Dugout Suites
Lexus Home Plate Boxes
Kaulig Companies Club
Drug Mart Club Seats
Lower Level Seating
Field and Lower Box Seats
Lower Reserved
Family Deck
Upper Level
Bleachers
Standing Room
The Corner

As you can see, there’s a lot to cover here to help you find the best seats in the Cleveland Guardians’ ballpark…so after this quick word from our sponsor, we’ll get started. (Please use the links, and thanks for your support!)

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

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Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

 

 
cleveland guardians seating chart

Featuring color-coded sections to show you just how well off you really are!

Progressive Field Seating, Part 1: Ballpark Layout

Progressive Field has three tiers; all three levels extend from the left field foul pole around to about right center field and Gate C; the bleachers in left field are somewhat elevated above the high left field fence.

The second tier is mostly club level and several levels of suites; this is where the Terrace Club, Club Lounge, kids play area and mezzanine are. The upper tier is upper box and reserved seating; this level is pretty high up, something to be wary of if you’re acrophobic.

Like most ballparks, the right field corner is the last to see shade; this can make it a desirable spot on those Cleveland April days.

Rows are lettered and start with A, so Row AA is Row 27. Facing the field, Seat 1 is always on the right. The home team dugout is on the third base side.

Progressive Field has a lot of premium seating, so we’ll start there.

 

 
progressive field premium seating

I’m sure they’ll move the wagon and the hose before the game starts.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 2: Dugout Suites

Yes, those really are fans that you see on TV sitting inside what is normally the fence behind home plate, not scouts with radar guns. Those seats are the Dugout Suites, which are among the most popular premium seats in the ballpark.

These seats are in high demand and expensive, and presently only available for groups. If you have to ask the price you probably can’t afford it. But they do include all of the suite amenities, and the literally field level view is pretty amazing. You’ll be closer to home plate than the pitcher, and can see facial expressions on the players and everything. And you’re covered from the rain, although these seats are in the shade.

 

 

Progressive Field Seating, Part 3: Lexus Home Plate Boxes

The Guardians decided to greatly improve the box seats they had behind the lower sections at home plate and turn them into exclusive box seats behind home plate. I’m presuming you still have a view of the scoreboard back there.

The package for these seats includes eight tickets, two parking passes, and an all-inclusive menu that includes beer and wine (you pay for cocktails). Better yet, there are balcony heaters here, and access to the Home Plate Club, two very welcome amenities in Cleveland. You also get a team store discount, so you can more cheaply replace all of your Indians gear.

Again, these are sold on a season ticket basis, but if I find anything cheaper on TickPick I’ll let you know. (Feel free to have a look!)

 

 
Progressive field seating tips kaulig companies club

It used to be the Infiniti Club. They apparently liked companies that sponsor racecars more.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 4: Kaulig Companies Club

The then-Indians tore out a bunch of suites in 2013, and installed a huge high-end lounge next to the press box on the first base side, for a straight ahead view of the most impressive Prog scoreboard.

The Kaulig Companies Club features an all-inclusive menu with top shelf drinks, extra wide leather high-backed seating with drink rails, 20 hi-def TVs, and live access to the pre- and post-game shows, if any of that tickles your fancy. The Club also has indoor seating with a view of the game, something that the Club Lounge seats lack.

Seats are sold on a season ticket basis only and this spot is popular; the Guardians usually sell almost all of the 100 or so available seats for each event. Thus far I haven’t seen anything available on third party sites.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

 

 
progressive field seating club seats

It’s almost like it’s sticking its tongue out.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 5: Club Seats

You see that big mezzanine section on the first base line, covering a good portion of the lower section? Those are the Club Seats, placed in front of the climate controlled and very large Club Lounge on the suite level. They are padded and comfortable, and you can escape the Cleveland weather in the huge Club Lounge.

Inside the Lounge are comfortable leather chairs, full bars and TVs to watch the game. If you’d rather stay in your seat, you get in-seat wait service as well.

 

club lounge guardians cleveland

Plenty of seats in the Lounge too.

Included with Club tickets are access to the impressive Lounge menu, from which you can gorge on plates from a pasta bar, a meat carving station, salads, nachos, pizza and whatever the chef’s special that day might be. They’ll even prepare the stuff right in front of you. Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages are also included in the price.

Seats at this level aren’t high up at all; they almost seem like field level, and being on the first base side there’s a great view of the Big Board and Cleveland skyline. In cold weather especially these seats may be worth the extra price for the perks.

The Guardians separated the Club seats into three sections, with the most expensive seats being closest to home plate. You can find some seats for a real bargain on non-prime nights. Remember that would include April games, and you’ll have access to the heated lounge. (Don’t let weather stop you from enjoying Guardians baseball!)

 

 
progressive field seating field box

And the best part is, you don’t have to clean up!

Progressive Field Seating, Part 6: Lower Level Seating

The seats between the bases on the lower level are the Field Box seats, and this includes the first few rows of sections past the dugout. The first few rows of infield sections are premium Diamond seats and generally go to season ticket holders; if you’re looking for one of these, try TickPick sometime in April and you may get a great deal. For certain opponents, they’re not expensive at all.

The nice thing about lower seats is that there aren’t too many seats to a row, so you’ll have less of a problem with people getting up and walking by to get their Barrio nachos.

 

 
progressive field seating lower level

Low incline + small number of seats in a row = worth a few extra bucks.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 7: Field/Lower Box Seats

Field and Lower Box rows start with A-Z and then AA, BB, etc. and generally extend to Row HH. Just past the bases there are two sections where the Field Box seats are closest to the field. The Guardians charge different prices for front, middle and back seating in Field Box sections, but the difference is slight.

The sections past the dugouts are the Lower Box sections—these are significantly lower in price, and in most sections the seats are angled towards home plate. Well, towards second base would be more accurate. If you can land a low row in Section 138, you’re not doing badly.

 

cleveland guardians best seats

Well, there’s plenty of shade, anyway.

The only problem with some of the Field and Lower Box seats is on the first base side, where that big Club section of seating juts out over everything, providing some nice cool shade for those scorching April days in Cleveland (the Guardians are one of the few teams that don’t hide obstructions on their interactive seating map).

From about row AA up in the lower level, which isn’t far, your view of the Big Board may be blocked. If you’re getting anything in Sections 129-150 on the first base side (“Field Box Back”), try to get a lower row if you can.

 

cleveland guardians home plate club

Swanky! (And warm.)

Field and Diamond Box season ticket holders also have access to the swanky Home Plate Club; the Guardians inserted an indoor club with a full bar, some of the better food items, and a glass enclosure to view the game. Great in cold months but nice anytime.

I’m not sure yet if you can get Home Plate Club access buying a third party stub from a season ticket holder, but if you can it’s a sweet deal. You can even hang out there after the game for a while to let the traffic clear out.

 

 
progressive field seating tips outfield seats

If you decide to sit in the outfield, Cleveland fans will stand behind you. (snort)

Progressive Field Seating, Part 8: Lower Reserved

In the corners and the lower level seats in right field are the Lower Reserved sections. They’re even less in price yet, about half the price of Field Box. Most of the upper seats in these sections have been replaced by drink rail and patio areas, so you don’t need to worry about upper rows having a blocked view anymore, and you can land a good spot close to the field fairly cheaply.

Sections 125 and 175 are tucked into the corner and may require you to crane your neck a bit; better to move a section over to the outfield if you can.

 

cleveland guardians bullpen seats

Just steps away from honest-to-goodness relief pitcher heckling!

Section 103 is next to the newly relocated bullpens, and it’s a prime spot to watch pitchers from both teams warm up. It’s extra cool to watch on the stairs behind the catcher. This section misses a bit of left field if you’re close to the bullpens, but it’s not a big deal.

 

 
progressive field seating family deck

It’s the section in the middle with surprisingly few occupants.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 9: Family Deck

The mezzanine in right field is laid out over the lower seats in the same manner as the Club seats in the infield, but there’s no club here and the seats are much cheaper. The view isn’t great, but it’s better than the upper right field boxes and doesn’t cost too much. There are about 20 rows in most sections.

These seats have been renamed the Family Deck to remind people of their proximity to the Kids Clubhouse on the mezzanine level, making it a prime spot if you’re bringing the kids. There are also interactive games in the concourse behind these sections.

 

cleveland guardians concourse escalator

Not so secret after all now!

Progressive Field Seating Pro Tip! The outfield mezzanine section has its own secret and exclusive escalator to reach it; it is located in the right field concourse.

So now onward to the cheap seats at Progressive Field and their respective merits…

 

 
progressive field seating upper level

The height doesn’t stop Cleveland fans. Nor should it.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 10: Upper Level (Cheap Seats!)

The upper deck at Progressive Field is divided into three tiers around the bases; from low to high they are View Box, Upper Box and Upper Reserved. Past the bases, View Box (the first five rows in the infield) becomes Upper Box. Rows are lettered, and usually Row X is the breezy top of the ballpark. The View Box and lower Upper Box seats are the 400 level; Upper Reserved is the 500 level.

The upper level is pushed up fairly high by the three levels of suite seating and is steeper than acrophobic sorts probably like. Even View Box seats are high up. It can be considerably breezy and cooler up there, so dress warmly for colder nights.

 

cleveland guardians ballpark

“We’ve got all these buildings, let’s put the ballpark here.”

The upper level does provide an outstanding view of the Cleveland skyline and the Big Board, especially from the first base side, but in right field the very distant Upper Reserved seats were at one time the worst seats in the ballpark. The Indians recognized this, and they have replaced the seats in the entire upper deck around the foul pole (all sections numbered lower than 528), and turned it into the Right Field Terraces, closed off with tables and bar stools.

 

cleveland guardians party areas

Looks cool at sunset, although I don’t know if I’d stand up there.

The tributes to team greats look cool, but it looks like an odd way to watch a ballgame. Thus far I haven’t seen anyone there, but I’ve read that it can be a popular spot for people who want to get away from the standing room crowds and long bathroom lines. The view isn’t great in my opinion, and it would be the last place to see shade on a hot summer evening, but suit yourself.

With the deals to be had on tickets, you’re probably better off seeking View Box or Upper Box than Upper Reserved. Between Upper Box and Upper Reserved isn’t much of a price difference, although View Box can cost a chunk more (and it’s worth it for the ease of getting to the concourse). You may find a better deal on TickPick for View Box depending on demand.

 

 
progressive field seating bleachers

NO, the Big Board won’t fall on you, but it’s nice to have a view of it. Just saying.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 11: Bleachers

There is a large amount of bleacher seats at Progressive Field; they are the green benches in front of the Big Board in left field. These seats are among the dirt cheapest in the Cleveland ballpark, and they’re fairly popular, drawing those dedicated Guardians fan crowds, and are a prime spot to catch home run balls in batting practice. You’ll have to move for fireworks nights though.

The bleacher sections are divided into three price levels now, with the lower bleachers sections considerably more expensive than the upper sections, especially for premium games. Row L is probably the best bang for the buck here.

 

cleveland guardians bleachers

Just bring a cushion is all I’m saying.

The benches have backs and aren’t too uncomfortable, and the view isn’t bad save for missing a portion of left field. You are facing away from the Big Board, though, and that’s one of the ballpark’s more striking visual features, especially nowadays with its improved resolution. There are about 25 rows in the bleachers, which are designated by letter.

The Guardians even sell some season tickets to this spot. But I’d say if you’re going to sit on these benches 81 nights a year, you should probably bring a cushion.

 

john adams cleveland indians drummer

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a prominent blogger, but he did let me hold his drumstick!

I don’t currently know the status of John Adams, who attended thousands of Indians games at the top of the bleachers where he pounded on his drum. He hasn’t been there since 2019 as he’s struggled with health problems, and he’s definitely missed. I met him once and he’s a super nice fellow. We wish him Godspeed and a safe return to his bleachers spot.

 

 
progressive field seating standing room

Drink rails for standing room patrons. Someone is thinking in this team’s front office.

Progressive Field Seating, Part 12: Standing Room

There is more demand for standing room these days, with the new Right Field District and Corner Bar added for 2015; the Guardians are even selling very affordable standing room District Tickets that include a free drink. Nowadays there is much more space to rest your drink or Momocho nachos, and there is standing room space directly behind the visitors’ bullpen. Great for heckling if you’re into that kind of thing.

If you’re interested in such a view, the Guardians now let people sit behind the right field fence for an inning; if no one’s waiting they’ll let you stick around. It’s a bullpen pitchers’ perspective, and you’ll realize that you usually have better seats than relief pitchers do. But it’s a neat thing to check out.

 

guardians game standing room

Lots of space to grab a batting practice shot.

The Home Run Porch in left field has been improved for the standing room ticket holders, and many fans just buy a cheap seat and stand there, even on top of the sign itself. A bunch of left field corner seats have been pulled out…not a bad idea in a spot where the foul pole can get in the view…and replaced with drink rails, making it similar to the Corner in right field. There isn’t an indoor bar there, which makes it less crowded, but you’re closer to the impressive food options on the third base side.

The area can still get crowded, but home run balls do land there, and as one observer put it “it gets like Waveland Avenue at Wrigley” at batting practice with people scrambling for a souvenir.

By most accounts ushers are very tough on seat poaching in the lower level, so if you decide you want to sit, take the escalator to the upper deck. There will likely be plenty of available seats there, and the ushers are nowhere near as strict.

 

 
progressive field seating corner bar

Who needs a seat when there’s craft beer behind you?

Progressive Field Seating, Part 13: The Corner

The right field corner features the aforementioned and millennial-friendly Corner Bar, named for Tom Hamilton’s radio broadcast introduction: “We’re underway at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario!” The two-story bar is pretty cool; its walls are made from remnants of the Columbus Road Bridge, and the furniture is from an old Cleveland foundry. There are also sofas and a fire pit on the upper level, no small thing on those September nights.

The Corner has plenty of standing room space in front of it, with an abundance of drink rails, and you can go inside the bar if it gets too hot or cold. The glass doors are floor-to-ceiling, and the upper level has a fine view of the field. At dusk, though, the sun is going to be directly in your eyes; you’ll definitely want shades for that.

 

cleveland guardians standing room

Ah, that pesky sun. Forgot about that.

It undoubtedly is a great standing room spot whatever the weather forecast, and the Guardians feed into that with the aforementioned District Ticket. It’s also popular, so stake a spot early.

If partying in the outfield isn’t your thing for standing room, there are open concourses throughout most of the lower level, but in most spots you won’t be able to see the Big Board with the overhang. You can also find some picnic areas with a view in the outfield. There are no open concourses on the upper level, except in right field, which is pretty far.

As stated, remember that the third base side is the last to see shade for night games. Something to consider on a hot day. Or a cold one, for that matter.

 

progressive field cleveland guardians seating tips

Now, unlike these mystified people, you know where to go!

Get all that? You’re now educated on how to choose a great seat at Progressive Field for your taste and budget. I’ve written plenty more helpful money-saving tips for Progressive Field if you need more help, whether you’re a first time visitor or a regular…have a look at my complete Progressive Field guide here!

Thanks for reading, and please support Ballpark E-Guides sponsors using the links in this article. Your support is greatly appreciated!!

 

Planning a trip to Cleveland? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

new york hotwire

Click here to start booking your trip to Cleveland and Progressive Field today!

 

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

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. (If you’re planning a trip to Cleveland for a Guardians game, check out my complete guide to Progressive Field!)

 

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.

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Guardians tickets tickpick

Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

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.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

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.

Planning a trip to Cleveland? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

new york hotwire

Click here to start booking your trip to Cleveland and Progressive Field today!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

 

3 Ways To Score Cheap Guardians Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

With the team at or near the top of the AL Central often these days, cheap Guardians 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. If you want to choose from the cheaper seats, check this out…and if you’re planning a Guardians game, be sure to read my complete Progressive Field guide!

 

cheap indians tickets april games

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

Cheap Guardians Tickets, Tip #1) Brave The April Cold. Cleveland weather being what it is, the team 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.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

cheap indians tickets donate items

Nothing like a broken-in baseball glove.

Cheap Guardians Tickets, Tip #2) Take The Volunteer Challenge. The Guardians 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 Guardians!

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

 

cheap indians tickets box office

Just in case there is no one at the window.

Cheap Guardians 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 Guardians sometimes waive ticket fees and will tell you so in their e-mail ticket alerts; that’s the time to snag those District Tickets.

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Guardians tickets tickpick

Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

Cheap Indians Tickets, Tip #4) Bonus Tip: Try TickPick. TickPick is my favorite third party outlet for Guardians tickets, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate. I frequently find better deals there than on StubHub, and there’s no fees!

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

Planning a trip to Cleveland? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

new york hotwire

Click here to start booking your trip to Cleveland and Progressive Field today!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

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.

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.

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Guardians tickets tickpick

Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

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.)

Planning a trip to Cleveland? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

new york hotwire

Click here to start booking your trip to Cleveland and Progressive Field today!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

 

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.

Going to a Guardians game? Check out my complete guide to Progressive Field!

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.

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Guardians tickets tickpick

Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

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.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

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…

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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.

Visiting Progressive Field for a Guardians game? Get all the tips you need in my Progressive Field guide!

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.

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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.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

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.)

Planning a trip to Cleveland? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

new york hotwire

Click here to start booking your trip to Cleveland and Progressive Field today!

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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.

My friends at TickPick have Guardians tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Guardians tickets tickpick

Click here to order your Guardians tickets on TickPick!

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.

Going to a Cleveland Guardians game? Reserve your parking spot now, with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Progressive Field guide parking

Click here to find great deals on prepaid parking at Progressive Field, and tell ’em Kurt sent you!

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.

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.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

 

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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