Sunday, May 8 – Indians 5, Royals 4. Breast cancer awareness day with its pink bats, pink cleats, and other awareness paraphernalia ended with the Indians feeling in the pink after taking a series from the World Champion Royals and moving a game ahead of them in the standings.
Access: My hotel, halfway between Progressive Field and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was perfectly located for an easy walk to the park on Sunday morning. Weekend street parking in downtown even was free.
Seats/pricing: I picked a $27.00 upper deck seat just off home plate, but way high. The crowd was slim, especially in the upper deck, so I moved down a dozen or so rows fairly early.
View: Another newer downtown park in a recovering Rust Belt city offers an urban landscape over the open center field area.
Food: Amidst a wide variety of choices, I picked The Southside Slopes at $13.75 from Fat Head’s Brewery. Kielbasa topped with fried pierogis, American cheese, grilled onions and horseradish sauce. A new combination for me, and quite good.
Beer: Progressive offers a 12-ounce mass market can, which it calls small, for $4.00! A large can be had for $8.00. At the Great Lakes Brewing Co., small and large craft beers at $6.75 and $12.00 include Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Turntable Pils, and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.
Crowd: 14,463. For a gorgeous Sunday game publicizing a widely supported cause, the crowd was shockingly small. Maybe moms didn’t want to spend Mother’s Day at the ballpark, or, more likely, many fans stayed home to watch the Cavaliers’ afternoon playoff game in Atlanta.
Men’s Rooms: The clean men’s rooms get a special shout-out for having shelves above the urinals to set drinks or other small items. It’s a small touch that avoids the distasteful or messy alternatives of what to do with your beer or soda.
Neighborhood: Quicken Loans Arena, home of the NBA Cavaliers, is catty-corner from Progressive Field, practically blending into the Home Run Porch behind left field. Bars and restaurants dot the immediate neighborhood to the north of the field. And, you can walk right up Ninth Street to the R&R H of F.
Arts and visuals: Sculptures on a large plaza outside the gates behind center field honor (left to right) home run slugger Jim Thome; strikeout act Bob Feller from the ‘30’s and ‘40’s; Larry Doby, the first African-American player in the American League; and Frank Robinson, the first African-American major league manager..
Inside, large upper deck murals honor Cy Young and Tris Speaker.
Most curious are the boxy signs paying tribute to Feller and five other Indians of the past. They’re installed over seats on the upper deck in right field, presumably to reduce seating capacity and likely easily removed in event of post-season play at Progressive.
Cup holders and even rest room soap dispensers carry the Progressive Field logo. The ribbon scoreboard included a listing of what batters were on deck and in the hole. Don’t often see that..
Baseball Moment: Carlos Santana’s home run was my second leadoff homer in two days, but the highlight was Josh Tomlin’s solid pitching for the Indians that took him to 5-0. The play at the plate below kept the Royals from tying the score late.