Renovations on Schedule as Progress Made at Progressive Field
Bob Toth | On 21, Dec 2014
It may be the offseason for the Indians, but there is plenty of action still taking place at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in downtown Cleveland.
Progressive Field remains a busy site in mid-December this season as renovations continue to upgrade the 20-year-old ballpark in anticipation for the coming 2015 regular season.
After a heavy dose of the white stuff in November, workers have been treated to reasonable temperatures and little interference from the snow as construction is focused on several key areas of development around the stadium.
Nine rows of seating have been removed from the front of the mezzanine section, home of the Subway fan zone and, previously, Pronkville. It drastically opens up the visibility of the concourse section underneath, allowing in more light and an improved view of the field.
A large number of previously seldom-used seats in the upper deck in right-center and in the right field corner have been taken out. The installation of support beams for the outfield terrace seating area began Monday and already cover three sections of the upper reserve. The new arrangement will be the site for group outings and standing room only ticket opportunities and has already generated interest from groups looking to utilize the view during the season.
The center field bullpen, formerly the home of the Bullpen Mafia, will now host both teams’ bullpens. Concrete has been laid in some spots, including the walls around the facility as well as the outfield wall and the wall separating the two halves of the bullpen. An area in front of the bullpen for a new and unique seating opportunity has also been created.
The bridge connecting the stadium to the adjacent parking garage in this area is gone, as is the center field bar of many names over the last two decades. This area, once the Gate C entrance that housed the Bob Feller statue, now has a much more open view into the stadium from East 9th Street. The future locations of the Feller and Jim Thome statues, as well as the planned statue for Larry Doby, were not shared.
The other bullpen area is vacant. It will be reconfigured into seating, including a special section of seats at the field level.
Behind the former visitor’s bullpen, the large steel framework for the new bar has been placed. Seats have been removed from the lower reserve section on the field level in the right field corner to accommodate some of the renovations.
The number of suites has decreased to allow for the Kids Clubhouse to be expanded into two levels. A Whiffle ball field and batting cages are being added to the park as well, adding to the experience for younger fans.
Plans remain for the addition of five themed areas within the park that will pay homage to several key Cleveland neighborhoods.
Details on the cost of the project were not shared at this time. It was reiterated, as stated previously, that the cost of the work is “substantial”, but does not include public funds.
Estimates on the reduced capacity of Progressive Field were not available and would not be until the project drew closer to culmination. There is some belief that the stadium will hold somewhere in the ballpark of 36,000 to 38,000 fans, down from 42,487.
Representatives from the Indians indicated that the construction remained “on schedule” and that everything was moving according to plan. The Indians return to play in Cleveland on April 10th, 2015, when they host the reigning American League Central champions, the Detroit Tigers, in their home opener.
Photo: Bob Toth/DidTheTribeWinLastNight.com