Review by Gary & Mike
Progressive Field is the home of the Cleveland Guardians of the American League. I was last in Cleveland during the final month of play at Cleveland Stadium and had only seen “The Jake” under construction. I had looked forward to a return to see the finished product for many years. Despite the anticipation, our visit was a mixed bag.
The downtown location is great, as is the view of the Cleveland skyline. The scoreboard is tremendous, very high quality and full of great information and beautiful, crisp replays. The views from all over the park are excellent, especially the upper deck, right behind home plate. It was a lovely panorama, except for the icy April wind blowing in off the lake, but I can’t blame the team for that.
However, a number of experiences soured the visit somewhat. I was turned away at the gate because they claimed my 300mm zoom lens was too big. This is a compact lens, only 8” long, but they claimed it was MLB policy. This turned out not to be true. It’s Cleveland Guardians policy, so they should own that. Never in my 140 ballpark career has anyone objected to this lens, but I was forced to miss the first inning, trudging back to the distant parking garage to unload the lens.
Next was the usher in the upper right field corner who told me I couldn’t take pictures. She said the section was closed, although there were no ropes or signs indicating this. I said, “No problem, I’ll just snap a photo and move on.” She literally yelled at me, “NO PICTURES!” Seriously? I took my picture and moved on.
Speaking of right field, for reasons I cannot imagine, they removed seating in the upper deck in right and replaced them with what appear to be shipping containers with retired numbers and pennants on them. It looks quite silly and when I asked an usher why they had done that, he rolled his eyes and said “I have no idea.”
Finally, there were the thousands of millennials that jammed the concourse, drinking, partying and not watching the game at all. It was like trying to push our way through a singles bar. Maybe I’m just old, but I did not like the vibe at all. I hadn’t bargained for Le Club Progressive.
Enough complaining. There was a nice bleacher section under the scoreboard and a lovely Heritage Park beyond centerfield that celebrated Indians history and the greats that have played for the Indians. Nice looking statues adorned the entrance plaza in right field. Plus, the crowd that were actually watching the game were really into it. Oh, and Gary really liked the double-decker bullpens and the funky-angle tiered club seating in left. And there was a very nice usher behind home plate who let us sneak in there for some cool photos.