Itinerant Fan

Progressive Field

Progressive Field occupies a special place among major-league ballparks, as it was at the forefront of the retro-ballpark movement back in the early 1990s and has still maintained its uniqueness over more than 20 years of existence.

The former Jacobs Field (many Indians fans will still refer to it by its old nickname, “The Jake,” even though the corporate takeover of its name has been in place for several years now) definitely has its charms, from the toothbrush-like light towers to the “Little Green Monster” left-field wall to the view of the downtown skyline.

And whether the Indians are in contention or middling along, the Jake remains one of the best places to take in a major-league game.

  •   The Approach

    Progressive Field occupies its own little corner of downtown Cleveland — the southwest corner, to be specific — right along Interstate 90 as it begins to wind through the city center. If you’ve never been to Cleveland, you might find yourself surprised by how vibrant the downtown area really is, especially when one of its sports teams is doing well. As it was, on the day of our visit the area around the ballpark wasn’t exactly teeming with activity, it being a Tuesday on the final week of the season with the Indians just barely in the race. But there was a reasonable amount of foot traffic heading south on the main streets.

    One option you might find viable depending on where you’re staying or coming from is light rail — the closest stop to the ballpark is about three (long) blocks away at Tower City-Public Square. But truth be told, if you’re a visitor to Cleveland and there mainly to see a ballgame, you’re probably staying in a hotel within walking distance anyway.

    Parking is plentiful in the lots and structures surrounding the ballpark, and since it’s downtown there’s an infinite number of nearby private lots that can be accessed as well. You can pay for and save yourself a spot in one of these parking facilities through Parking Panda. Make use of this service to search for, compare, and purchase parking online ahead of time.

     
  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    As previously mentioned, there’s a lot to do in downtown Cleveland. For good places to hang out and eat/drink, head a couple blocks north to Prospect Avenue, which is lined with establishments that cater to the sports crowd. (There’s also a casino in the area, just on the other side of Quicken Loans Arena, if that’s your thing.)

    An even better spot for restaurants and people-watching is East 4th Street, an alley that’s closed to vehicles but full of eateries and bars. And the proximity to the ballpark means you can spend extra time there before making a brisk walk over to the game.

    For more well-attended games, the Indians will open up “Rally Alley,” a street festival along Larry Doby Way behind the left-field stands. As you can imagine, though, a Tuesday near the end of the season wasn’t considered for this feature.

  •   The Ambiance

    As much as there is to do near the ballpark, this is definitely one of those times where you want to go in as early as you can and see what there is to offer, especially if it’s your first visit. A good starting point would be Gate A, the side of the ballpark that faces Quicken Loans Arena and opens up to left field. From there, check out the many murals and photos celebrating the Indians’ history (though it isn’t necessarily a winning tradition — the Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948 — a LOT of great and significant players in baseball lore have played in Cleveland). And if that’s your thing, make sure to head toward center field, because Progressive Field has a beautiful section called Heritage Park that was built expressly to celebrate its great players and history.

    If you’d rather just stroll around, though, there’s lots of room to do so on the main concourse. Not only can you stand behind the main seating bowl and watch the game if you so chose, there’s another concourse farther back, separated by concession stands. And speaking of concessions, there’s plenty to choose from in those stands, from the usual hot dogs, burgers, sausages and beer to slightly more adventurous items like cheese fries, nacho bowls and fresh lemonade.

    Oh, and fried cookie dough — sold at a stand that also offered funnel cake, it appeared to be one of the more popular items based on how many people I saw walk by with it in hand (had to have been at least 10). It’s an interesting buy if you’re into, say, county fair food (it tastes exactly what you’d expect fried cookie dough to taste like, nothing more special than that), but hey, I’ve never seen it offered at a sports venue before. An order of that for dessert, following an order of cheese fries for dinner and a small soda on the side (and I mean *small*, as the cashier showed me the size of the cup as she gave me an “are you sure?” look), constituted my meal on this night, and it satisfied me just fine.

    Most of the park offers good sightlines, but if you’re going for atmosphere, you might want to start by seeking out a spot in the left-field stands. They’re bleacher seats, but typically the rowdiest of Indians fans sit there, as does the devoted fan who bangs a bass drum at every game. Back in the days when the Indians were selling out 455 straight games at the Jake, spots there (and everywhere else in the ballpark) were pretty hard to come by. That’s not the case anymore, particularly on this night, when the Indians didn’t give their fans much to cheer about in a listless loss to the Royals. But even a not-very-full Progressive Field is still a pretty cool ballpark to drop in on.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
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The Particulars

Home Teams
Cleveland Indians

Address
2401 Ontario St.
Cleveland, OH 44115

Year Opened
1994

Capacity
43,345

Upcoming Events
All times local
Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
6:10 pm
Get tickets at SeatGeek »

Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
7:10 pm
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Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians
Thursday, April 26, 2018
6:10 pm
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Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians
Friday, April 27, 2018
7:10 pm
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Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians
Saturday, April 28, 2018
4:10 pm
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