Progressive Field: Baseball Gameday Guide

Baseball history runs deep in the Forest City. Hall of Fame names like Larry Doby and Bob Feller immediately come to mind. Over time, the Cleveland Indians have found several homes in the city before settling on the corner of Ontario and Carnegie in Progressive Field.

First the team played in Hough neighborhood's League Park, coincidentally where a redevelopment project using some of the original ballpark façade is currently under way. Then it was on to the shores of Lake Erie in Downtown Cleveland, where they shared space with the Browns in the charmingly decrepit Cleveland Stadium. In 1994, the Tribe moved to Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) in downtown's revitalizing Gateway District. A 2008 Sports Illustrated fan poll ranked the ballpark Major League Baseball's best—for good reason. Simply seeing this modern structure ahead of you as you snake through the crowd, palpable with Tribe fever and pouring in from all corners of the Gateway neighborhood, will have baseball fans and Cleveland lovers alike giddy for what's in store.

Frankly, there's nothing like a game at The Jake. (Despite its rebranded name, and the organization's attempts to spread a new nickname of "The Prog," people have shrugged it off and keep calling it "The Jake.") The surrounding Gateway District and nearby pedestrian-only East 4th are covered with fans dressed in Cleveland red, white and blue, enjoying the influx of new bars and restaurants that have opened here in the past few years. New apartment buildings that cater to the city's growing young professional population add to the energy of Cleveland baseball. Now you can walk right outside your front door to the ballpark. You just can't beat that.

Quick links: WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE GAME

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Progressive Field's centralized location makes it easy for fans to enjoy the neighborhood before heading to The Jake for the first pitch. Come on down at least an hour before game time—two, if you want to check out a bar. Use RTA's red, blue, or green line to nearby Tower City if you can; you'll avoid unpredictable traffic jams. Here's where to go once you hop off the train.

WHERE TO GET A BEER
City Tap | You won't have a hard time finding a good craft beer on City Tap's menu, with 40 beers on tap. Drinks change, but local brewery Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA ($4.50) is almost always available.

WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Flannery's Pub | Right on the corner of East 4th and Prospect, this Irish pub, just a few blocks away from the RTA station, has no shortage of indoor and patio space for a large group. Just remember that you won't be the only Cleveland fans who think of going to Flannery's before the game.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
A.J. Rocco's | A.J.'s is a little bit of everything, depending on the hour: café, bar, music club. Just around the corner from the ballpark, it makes a point to advertise itself as a mere 257 steps away from the Bob Feller statue outside of Progressive Field. While you're here, grab a cold beer and try the aptly named "The Jake" ($7.50), with seasoned roast beef, turkey, provolone, coleslaw, tomato and lettuce.

WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Thirsty Parrot | Weekday pre-games kick off at 3 p.m. at this "Caribbean cantina" that only opens for Indians games and private events. You'll know you're there when you see throngs of baseball fans partying like it's the World Series on the patio facing the ballpark.

WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
The Greenhouse Tavern | Located on Cleveland's pedestrian thoroughfare, East 4th, Greenhouse serves fresh farm-to-table eats that satisfy all across the vegan to carnivore spectrum. When the weather's nice, opt for one of the outdoor tables in front of the restaurant.

WHERE TO EAT OR DRINK WITH A VIEW
The Black Pig | There's nothing quite like rooftop dining, and Ohio City's Black Pig nails it. Just one Rapid stop away from the ballpark, Black Pig boasts a French cuisine–inspired menu, using local ingredients as often as possible. Enjoy your dinner with a sparkling view of downtown Cleveland perfect for picture framing.

CAN YOU TAILGATE AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD?
No. However, legislation is being considered that would turn the area into an open container entertainment district. Stay tuned for the possible change.
INSIDE PROGRESSIVE FIELD

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Cleveland fans love their sports teams, even if the teams rarely reciprocate with a winning record. Still, fans fill the ballpark on Opening Day every year like a religious holiday, ever hopeful that maybe this is the year. Some call it masochistic, but it's simply the "never say die" character woven into the soul of the city and its people. The Jake is one of the city's altars we continue to return to with prayers to the baseball Gods that things—both inside and outside the ballpark—finally turn around. Maybe this is the year... maybe.

WHERE TO SIT
You'll be hard-pressed to find a bad view of the game in Progressive Field. Behind home plate offers a batter's view of the action with the art deco AT&T Huron Road Building poking out from behind the scoreboard. Otherwise, the bleachers boast the best in fan atmosphere thanks in large part to local legend John Adams, who has been rallying the Tribe with his bass drum for more than 3,000 consecutive home games.

Progressive Field Seating Viewer

BEST FOOD
Locos Nachos | Section 172 is home to Locos Nachos, where you can load up your chips with delicious queso, fresh jalapeños, salsa, and of course buffalo chicken.

BEST LOCAL VENDOR
Hometown Sausages | Three gourmet sausages await you in Section 171: Italian, spicy Cajun and broccoli Cheddar. What else needs to be said?

BEST BEER IN PROGRESSIVE FIELD
Spirits of Ohio | Escape drafts of glorified water by grabbing a locally crafted beer or wine in Section 152—there are about 15 varieties to choose from. Of course you can never go wrong with anything from Great Lakes Brewing Company, headquartered just across the Cuyahoga River in Ohio City.

WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
Spuds and Suds | Find your gluten-free eats at Spuds and Suds in Section 162, including veggie dogs.

BEST STADIUM BAR
Batters Eye Bar | Those with a taste for everything from exotic frozen drinks and specialty coffees to craft beer and cocktails can get their fix at Batter's Eye Bar, in right-centerfield. You'll find a more party-oriented crowd here, especially on a sunny summer weekend.

OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
Heritage Park in centerfield opened in 2007 to celebrate Cleveland baseball Hall of Famers, such as Cy Young, Larry Doby and Bob Feller, among a number of other classic and modern greats. Check it out before, during, or even after the game.

Progressive Field Tours

GAMES ON A BUDGET

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Baseball games at The Jake are easier on the wallet than other ballparks; Business Insider found the Indians have the most affordable brews in the league.

WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
Your Dad's Beer | Cheap beer isn't hard to find at the Jake. Specifically, check out the Your Dad's Beer stand in Section 119. It's exactly what it sounds like. Arrive at the ballpark when the gates open, drink your father's favorite brews of yesteryear and enjoy some alcoholic nostalgia.

BEST CHEAP BITES AROUND PROGRESSIVE FIELD
You can find small nachos ($4.50) in eight stands throughout the stadium. In sections 107, 163 and 570, hamburgers ($5) and a burger/French fry combo ($9) are also a good value.

BEST CHEAP INDIANS TICKETS
Tigers, Yankees and Reds games excluded, last-minute ticket deals are pretty easy to find on StubHub. The bleachers (best seats in the house) can drop into the $6 range. Otherwise, there's no shame in grabbing nosebleed seats and seeing what ends up being available during the game.

PROGRESSIVE FIELD WITH KIDS

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Indians and Browns games are football fields (or baseball diamonds) apart in terms of fan atmosphere. Parents can bring their kids to the ballpark knowing it's unlikely they'll find intoxicated bros hurling f-bombs at one another as they fan their inebriated fists. With Rally Alley, the Kids Clubhouse and Kids Shop, you can rest assured that the little ones will leave happy (and tired).

WHERE TO GO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
Set up right outside the stadium by Gate A and Eagle Avenue, the Rally Alley has just about everything a kid could ever want to help tire themselves out. Live performers, concessions, magic performances — you name it, it's here every weekend.

BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Featuring an aptly named "Lil Sluggers" menu, the Terrace Club serves kids' meals with a side of fresh-cut fries.

WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS?
Moms and dads will line up early outside the players' parking lot off East 9th with their sons and daughters. You can also try snagging a player here after the game as they head home.

NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
Need the kids to burn some energy? The Indians Kids Clubhouse is full of family-friendly activities, like the Rookie Suite filled with play equipment (children 6 and under) and the Slugger's Sandlot with a wiffle ball field (ages 7 and up), that allow kids to play and adults to watch the game. Best of all, it's free.

WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR THE KIDS
The young ones can find all the gear they need at the simply named Kids Shop in Section 119.

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE GAME

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As in many other cities, most Cleveland fans leaving the ballpark after the game hit the road or grab the next train. The latter is manageable, but drivers would be wise to stick around until traffic clears out, unless, of course, you think sitting in idle traffic is a good way to cap the evening. No? Didn't think so. To the bar!

WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
The Market Garden Brewery | Before, during and especially after the game, Market Garden is filled to the brim with Tribe fans celebrating the latest win or life in general. Choose from a diverse and tasty selection of craft brews, brewed in-house. Pearl Street Wheat with a hint of banana flavor is a house and customer favorite.

WHERE TO GET A POSTGAME MEAL
Bier Markt and Bar Cento | Bier Markt stays open until 2:00 a.m. six days a week and until 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays, ready to keep hungry baseball fans happy all through the night. There are more than 100 Belgian and American craft beers to choose from to complement a solid Italian-style menu from attached Bar Cento. You can't go wrong with any of the pizzas.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
Most who stick around after the games go to East 4th, the Warehouse District or Ohio City due to their connectivity with the ballpark and vibrancy. All three have different vibes. Loud and crazy club types head to the Warehouse District's West Sixth Street. East 4th harbors a more casual vibe, and Ohio City has a little bit of everything. Rest assured that whatever you crave, you can find it within a short walk or Rapid ride away from the game.

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Joe Baur has been a masochistic Cleveland sports fan since his father began brainwashing him at a young age. When he's not wallowing in sports misery, he's traveling the world with a camera and pen for a variety of national outlets. Follow his adventures and misdemeanors at joebaur.com or @BaurJoe.