Home of the Cleveland Indians
Experience the Park Progressive Field Fan Guide
Soak up the Scene at Progressive
The streets around Progressive Field are abuzz on game day, with plenty of salesmen having set up shot on the sidewalks and hawking Indians’ shirts, caps and other paraphernalia, often at deep discounts you won’t find inside the park. Peanut vendors remind passersby that they’re “cheaper on the outside!” And you’ll likely hear the smooth strains of a saxophone played by a street musician whose repertoire includes a mellow rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and classic Big Band and jazz. Feel free to toss a few coins or bills into his horn case.
Ground-zero outside the park is the 20-foot high bronze statue of Bob Feller near Gate C. Fans gather there before every game below the likeness of a young ‘Rapid Robert’ in full wind-up, his leg kicking high in the air before he delivers a fastball. Pitching in the majors at age 17, Feller turned in a phenomenal career that landed him the Hall of Fame, and on a very short list of the greatest Indians of all time: 266 wins, 162 losses, 2,581 strike-outs and an ERA of 3.25. This includes three no-hitters and 12 one-hit games. What could Feller have accomplished had he not lost more than three full seasons to World War II?
Feller, approaching 90, has always contended the service to his country is his greatest accomplishment, with baseball second. Looking up at the Feller statue before a recent game, a 7-year old Little Leaguer named Zach remarked, “I didn’t know Bob Feller was that big!” Yes, son, he was the biggest, most prolific pitcher in Indians’ history.
Here are some other things to see and do at the Pro:
• The coolest spot to pick up some Tribe history is Heritage Park beyond center field. That’s where the Indians Hall of Fame is located and the greatest players and moments in franchise history are immortalized. One of Heritage Park’s most inspiring features is a semi-circle of 13 granite markers that honor the likes of Bob Feller, Early Wynn, Napoleon Lajoie and Larry Doby, the first black to breech the color-line in the American League; Lou Boudreau, “boy manager” of the 1948 world champions, Tris Speaker and Satchel Paige, who spent 20 years mowing down batters in the old Negro Leagues before pitching for the Tribe.
There is also a memorial plaque just recently discovered that dates to the old League Park, the Indians’ early 20th-centruy home. It honors Ray Chapman, the only major leaguer to be killed during a game. Chapman was a 29-year-old shortstop for Cleveland (then the Naps) when he was struck in the head by a fastball from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays in a game in 1920 in New York. He never re-gained consciousness and died early the next morning.
• Progressive is marketed as family entertainment and being kid-friendly, and a corner of the 300 section along right field is designated Kidsland, where the little ones can climb and play while dad keeps his eye on the game. The Indians have designated dates for kids to run the bases and play catch on the field, which is always popular with fans.
• Fans can have their own pitchers’ duel at the Pitching Cage, located between Sections 131 and 134. One dollar will get you three baseballs to throw at a makeshift home plate – then check the speed-meter. After this exercise, Sabathia’s 94 mph fastball seems even more impressive.
• Say hey to John Adams, the Tribe’s self-appointed drummer who can be found in the last row of the bleachers pounding out a steady beat to rally the team. Adams began playing his drum at the old Municipal Stadium in 1973, then moved his one-man band to Jacobs Field and Progressive. The 57-year-old has only missed 34 home games over the past 35 years. And until recently, Adams always bought his own ticket – and a ticket for his drum.
• There are a few spots where fans can head inside for a drink and some food. The Club Lounge and Terrace Club are both exclusive and pretty expensive, although the food and drink options go well beyond regular ballpark fare (roast beef and crab legs, anyone?). For working stiffs, the Batter’s Eye Bar is located behind right-center field. The view of the game falls short of ideal, but no one seems to mind too much. Frozen daiquiris and Hurricane cocktails are popular out there, as well as beer and other cocktails.