Monday, June 1, 2009

Progressive Field

After staying the night at Andy's friend Jake's house, we spent the morning at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Highlights included: Me as an inducteeMe scared of being stabbed, Seeing that the HOF officially recognizes this name, And of course, this.
Afterwards, we drove to Cleveland for the Indians game. Not wanting to pay a ridiculous amount for parking near the stadium, we found out that the Great Lakes Brewing Company, which is about 1.5 miles away, provides a shuttle to and from the stadium. Technically, the pass to ride that you buy at the brewery costs $1, but I'm pretty sure that you could quickly flash any receipt and be fine. After finding cheap parking near the brewery, we boarded the "Fatty Wagon" and headed for the ballpark.

You'll notice a recurring theme in this review. Everything about the stadium is nice, but nothing is spectacular. The one exception is in promotions: June 15th is Rick Vaughn bobblehead night. That's pretty awesome.

The entire game was played, which was nice. But not until after a 1 hour, 30 minute rain delay, which actually started before the rain even did. We walked into the park, and even though it wasn't raining, we saw this. We sat through about 20 minutes of dry weather before the rain actually started. Better than: The Cubs game. Worse than: All the other ones.

The view from the ballpark is a great showcase of the Cleveland skyline. Unfortunately, Cleveland does not have much of a skyline. But you can clearly see all three of Cleveland's buildings. Better than: White Sox, Nationals, Milwaukee. Worse than: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati's river view.

They have a nice area with plaques of famous Indians players from their history. Better than: most ballparks, including the White Sox who also have a long history and fairly new park but no such area to honor players (at least not on the upper deck). Worse than: this is basically a cheap imitation of Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

They have a fair amount of standing room areas; however, the upper deck overhang stretches way out, obstructing the vertical view of a large portion of the standing room area behind the plate and on the baselines. And there's no standing room or open concourse on the upper deck. Better than: most old stadiums. Worse than: most new stadiums.

The stadium design itself, as seen from our seats, is pretty basic. Nothing special. Better than: old stadiums. Worse than: anything built in the past 10 years.

Attendance: Not as many people as some other parks. But more bugs and seagulls than you'll see at any place that doesn't have longshoremen working there. Better than: Nationals park, insectariums, or the docks. Worse than: any place without a midge infestation. (Bonus: a section of the ballpark that had more seagulls than people in it.)

Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs play, is right across the street. There's a gigantic poster on the side of the arena of Lebron. Better than: most of the Eastern Conference. Worse than: Orlando.

The ushers are nice. They're not as friendly or allowing of you to go anywhere in the park as some of the other stadium ushers. Better than: most parks. Worse than: St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

The big race in Cleveland is ketchup vs. mustard vs. onions. Worse than: Milwaukee's sausages, Washington's presidents, Pittsburgh's pierogis. Better than: Any of the animated train races on the jumbotron or the gang fight in the outfield of the White Sox game. 

*As a side note, this may have been the best actual race of any we saw. Mustard bumped ketchup and sent him flying. Ketchup responded by cheating, cutting through the infield grass. Nevertheless, mustard still won. Ketchup got even more mad and pushed mustard in his smiling hot dog face as he celebrated. Mustard ran away, pumping his fist in the air. All of this is real. Andy has video that I'll upload if he sends it to me.

The Indians' mascot is named Slider. He looks like the Philly Phanatic after a paint job and a face herpes breakout. He was also inducted into the "Mascot Hall of Fame" in a ceremony after the game while they set up the fireworks show. His "parents" were there for the ceremony. So were his "kids." But no wife. So I guess the herpes thing makes sense. Worse than: any legitimate mascot. Better than: Vomiting Kermit.

The highlights: The Yankees won 3-1. We were able to move down to seats on the field level for the last 2 innings. The fireworks were pretty cool and were set to 70's music. Andy got his picture taken with ketchup.

Quick Summary: Progressive Field is nice, but not really special or memorable in any sort of way. Everything is done well, but no aspect of the stadium is at the top in any specific category.

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