Each year, I strive to get to at least one MLB ballpark I have not yet seen. In past years, I have traveled to such locales as Milwaukee, Chicago (Sox), Kansas City, St. Louis, Arlington, Los Angeles (Angels & Dodgers), San Francisco, & San Diego. I try to plan these road trips to follow the Twins, if possible, and this year it worked out to travel to Cleveland’s Progressive Field, where my Mom and I saw what could potentially turn out to be one of the most iconic moments of a (hopefully) division championship.
The trip started out poorly: The flight into Cleveland was delayed (that’s what we get for flying Frontier on the cheap, I guess), and after two innings the rains came and did not stop. After we spent nearly two hours huddled in the concourse, the game was called and a doubleheader scheduled for the next day.
So, the next day we ventured back into Cleveland’s city-center to catch both ends of the twin bill. The Twins took the first game, a 2-0 squeaker, in front of a Cleveland crowd that I have to call disappointing (even for a makeup game) considering their division standing was essentially on the line.
The Tribe’s faithful packed the house for the night contest, however, which is where things got a bit wild:
Approximately around the 7th-inning stretch, a fight broke out one section over from my Mom and I. This was no small scuffle, either...
As Brusdar Graterol was pumping 100 mph dimes over the plate, one fan was dropping an elbow, ala Macho Man Randy Savage off the top turnbuckle, onto another fan. I’ve never seen any fight at a baseball game, much less a knock-down, drag-out affair like this. A very nice Indians fan actually came over and apologized to us, saying “this isn’t who we are in Cleveland”.
Not too long after that fracas, Miguel Sano stepped to the plate with the game tied and the bases loaded. You probably remember the result. I know my Mom and I will never forget it...
Much like Jim Thome’s flagpole-seeking missile in mid-September effectively ended the AL Central race in 2010, Sano’s grand slam may prove to produce the same result nine years later. Needless to say, it was a fun walk back to the rental car, after taking two from the Tribe in one day.
In terms of my thoughts on Progressive Field, I’ll say this: It is a perfectly serviceable ballpark. Nothing wrong with it, clean, looks nice. There is also absolutely nothing that stands out about it, though. No visual flair or local aesthetic whatsoever. I’d probably put it near the bottom of stadiums I’ve attended thus far (though the ChiSox’s park will likely always sit at the very bottom of that list) for that reason. Very utilitarian, in other words.
A few other trip highlights:
-Finding a gourmet ice cream sandwich shop in downtown Cleveland.
-Touring the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Highly recommended for any gridiron fans!
-Visiting the Christmas Story house/museum dedicated to the iconic holiday film. I still have both my eyes, in case you were wondering.
All in all, a wonderful little long-weekend, baseball-themed journey. Another one crossed off the bucket list!