Another day on the road, another stadium off the checklist. Grant and I woke up in Pittsburgh and headed West into Ohio. The drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland is less than three hours, so the two of us had some extra time to kill. We made up our minds after breakfast and decided to take a football detour from the baseball road-trip. We stopped off in Canton to visit the NFL Hall of Fame.
The NFL Hall of Fame, for any of you visiting the Cleveland area, a trip down to Canton is definitely something you should consider, and should absolutely be on your agenda if you are even remotely a fan of the NFL (even if you’re a Packers fan). It was fun educating my little brother on the greats of the NFL who graced the gridiron before his time (and before my time as well). But back to baseball!
We arrived in Cleveland and quickly found a parking garage a couple blocks from the stadium with $10 parking. There was plenty of parking available even closer if you were interested in spending $20+ for a space. We walked through downtown Cleveland, through the East 4th Street area and had lunch at the Harry Buffalo. The Harry Buffalo offered a nice beer selection, plenty of TV’s to catch up on sports happenings, a good bar menu and lots of seemingly happy Clevelanders.
From the Harry Buffalo we headed down the street to Progressive Field. In honor of Larry Doby (The first African-American to play in the American League) there were many festivities going on around the stadium, highlighted by Rally Alley. Rally Alley featured free face painting, balloon art and some other family friendly entertainment. There was a Cleveland Indians Trivia booth where I was able to win a free Indians shirt by guessing at the answer to some Indians Trivia (Jim “Mudcat” Grant was the answer). The gates of Progressive were open early for batting practice and Grant was able to score 4 balls. His first ball came on one of the most impressive fan catches I’ve ever seen. He was sitting about 5 rows up on the aisle, jumped up and snow-coned a ball through the crowd. It was impressive.
There are not a lot of really awesome things to say about Progressive Field, however, there are also not many bad things I would want to say about the stadium either. It’s pretty solid. We sat in the outfield bleachers and the seats were pretty decent, and we were in the same section as “the drummer,” or whatever the drum dude calls himself. Progressive Field is in a great location, has tons of food stands throughout the stadium and bathrooms seemed to always be just around the corner. The real detraction from Progressive Field is that there’s nothing really awesome about it. It’s solid all around, but the architecture was rather plain, they surely didn’t take any chances with the design of Progressive Field. The beer selection was pretty good, and I was even able to snag a beer for $4 bucks as I headed into the stadium for BP, and best of all, Progressive Field has Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap throughout the stadium. I couldn’t resist getting myself a PBR as soon as I saw they were available! Yum!
The Tampa Bay Rays came into Cleveland and did a real number on the hometown Indians. The final score was 10-3. As a Twins fan you’ll never hear me complain when the Indians are losing, and watching Justin Masterson implode on the mound on a hot summer night was fun for me.
Hot Dogs at Progressive were pretty good, and they had a special spicy “ballpark” mustard available that was FANTASTIC. The hot dog itself was plump and delicious, and easily the largest hot dog I’ve had so far on the road trip. It was a good hot dog, but not good enough to wrestle the hot dog championship belt from Marlins Park.
After the game the Indians had a special dedication ceremony for Larry Doby and named the street outside of the park after him, Jim “Mudcat” Grant gave a nice speech and Larry Doby Jr. spoke as well. Following the ceremony there was a super hero themed fireworks display. Grant and I enjoyed the fireworks from the grassy plaza outside the stadium directly between Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena.
Tomorrow we head down the road to Detroit to watch the Tigers take on the Royals. As a Twins fan it will be hard for me to cheer for either team, so most likely I’ll just try to enjoy the game and hope both teams can find a way to lose.
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