By Jason Kaminski
During these early spring months of the baseball season the attendance down at the ballpark is often times sparse. Here are five reasons you should come out and enjoy what the park has to offer in addition to the game being played on its field.
5. Team Shop
The official Cleveland Indians Team Shop is located at Gate D. This is the place to go if you are looking to purchase any type of Tribe merchandise. From hats to jerseys to bobbleheads, you can more than likely find what you are looking for here. The nice thing is they are often running various deals on products so it’s always worth browsing if you have some extra time.
4. Your Dad’s Beer Stand
For the fans that are age 21 or older this is a unique and affordable stop. Dad’s Beer Stand was put in behind section 119 in the main concourse before the 2011 season. It has a “throwback” feel to it with its unique menu that includes snacks like pork rinds, Beer Nuts, Andy Capp Fries, and fresh roasted peanuts. What makes this stand “stand out” is the lowered price of “old style” alcoholic beverages that include 12 oz cans of Blatz, Genesee, Iron City, MGD, Miller High Life Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rolling Rock, Schaeffer and Stroh’s. They also have Natural Light, Busch, Miller High Life, and Milwaukees Best on draft. Of course always remember that there are families with kids trying to enjoy the game as well so be responsible and polite when consuming beers.
3. Market Pavilion/Behind Home Plate
Another food and beverage hot spot at the park is the Market Pavilion. At one time it featured various menu items that spanned the globe but these days it is mostly typical ballpark fare. However, they do offer items you can’t find anywhere else in the park like whole pizzas and pulled pork nachos. It also features an outdoor patio area to enjoy your food. On the opposite side of the ballpark behind home plate there are some newer food locations to check out too. The Food Network cart features higher end ballpark fare like steak sandwiches and Buffalo Mac & Cheese. The Appetizer Store has all things fried including Fried Twinkies, Corn Dogs and Chicken & Waffle Sandwiches. If you get thirsty check out The Spirits of Ohio stand in section 152 where you can get craft beers such as Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog, various wines, and fountain sodas if you prefer a soft beverage. If that wasn’t enough you can even “eat fresh” in section 148 where a Subway stand is located.
2. Home Run Porch/Bleachers
One of the most enjoyable places to watch a game is in left field where the Toyota Home Run Porch and Time Warner Bleachers are located. They are some of the most affordable tickets in the house, single game bleacher seats cost only $10. If you get there early you can flag batting practice home run balls that continuously fly in the area and perhaps if you are lucky you may grab an actual gametime bomb. It seems that no matter what game is taking place the left field area is a party. Venture up to the top near the giant scoreboard and say hello to John Adams. You can’t miss him, he’s the one with a giant bass drum next to him. When a rally is needed you can be sure to follow the beat to him.
1. Heritage Park
Last, but certainly not least, is Heritage Park/Indians Hall of Fame. This is a must visit when walking into Progressive Field. It is located in center field between the bleachers and Market Pavilion. There you can see all of the past superstars that have played for the Cleveland Indians. Their plaques highlight their Cleveland achievements and signify their entrance into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame. As you walk through be sure to look down as well, there are personalized bricks that several fans purchased with their personalized messages on them. Heritage Park has two levels and the bottom level may be the most impressive. It contains more plaques but also has three unique tributes. There is a mural of Bob Feller on the side wall that was added after his passing in remembrance. There is also a wall of signatures from past players that were named to the “Top 100 Indians of All-Time” list in 2001. Near the stairs on the wall is a big plaque recognizing Ray Chapman. Chapman was struck by a pitch during the 1920 season that led to his death, making him the only player to ever die from an injury caused on the field. The team rallied around this tragedy and propelled their way to the World Championship that season. Heritage Park is by far the most appealing attraction of the ballpark and a must-see for all Tribe fans.