Off-Route: The Cleveland Indians and Progressive Field

Summer demands baseball. There’s something about the atmosphere of a packed stadium that fills you with energy, and cheering with thousands of other people at the sound of bat hitting ball is nothing short of exhilarating. I don’t really even know much at all about sports, but I know I like that quintessential summer experience!

When my boyfriend Trevor asked me if I wanted to go up to Cleveland to see an Indians game, I leapt at the opportunity. I grew up in southern Ohio, so I wasn’t born a Cleveland sports fan, meaning I had to get together some Indians gear (while trying to avoid anything with the infamous outmoded mascot on it… but that’s an issue for another post). One cap and one shirt purchase later, I was ready for a road trip.

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I look like I fit in, right?

We attended the June 22 game vs. the Detroit Tigers. This caused a small internal conflict for me, as my mom’s side of the family is from Detroit and I grew up on Tigers games. However, I accepted the fact that I love a man who loves the Indians, so following logic, I’m an Indians fan now. I only cheered for the wrong team once, which was much better than I expected to do.

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We got into the city around 5:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game. After paying a small fortune for a parking spot near the stadium (the weather was looking dicey and we were not looking to get soaked), we walked a short way to Progressive Field. It was hard not to get excited. There was a live band playing at the entrance, and a good amount of people were already milling around.

We headed off to find our seats, just so we’d know where we were going when the game started. We had a great view of the field, about midway between home and first, which also included a beautiful view of the Cleveland skyline.

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After finding our seats, we decided to go get some ballpark food. I was craving nachos, so we headed over to the stand on our level… And that’s when the deluge began.

We’d been watching the weather and knew that rain was in the forecast, so we’d come prepared.

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I never said this was a fashion blog.

We grabbed some loaded nachos from the nearby stand, and sat and ate them under a nearby picnic shelter while we waited for the rain to pass.

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Thousands of calories of adequacy.

While we were making a mess of ourselves (there were apparently no forks anywhere on our level), they announced that the game had been delayed, which we’d expected. We decided to take the opportunity to head down to the main concourse level and walk around a bit.

The stadium is beautiful, and was absolutely spotless. You can tell there’s a dedicated cleaning crew that does their job well. The main concourse level offers a variety of different restaurant and snack options – almost as soon as we stepped off the stairs, we noticed several people walk by with plates full of deluxe nachos, loaded with fresh veggies and cheese that wasn’t garishly yellow. We also passed a pizza place, a gastropub-style restaurant, a sweet shop and more. Lesson learned: don’t be lazy, go back down to the main level to eat!

Truth be told, I was totally satisfied with my classic ballpark nachos, we just thought the contrast was funny.

After about an hour of wandering and checking out all of the vendors and activities in the stadium, the announcement was made that the game would be played after all, and would start at 8:50 p.m. We were thrilled… we’d get to see some baseball after all!

Not long after the announcement was made, the tarp was rolled back from the infield. The tarp folding process was actually kind of fascinating to watch.

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Can you imagine how much that thing must weigh?

Trevor went and got us some peanuts, because the evening wouldn’t have been complete without them. We promptly made a mess of our seats with the shells.

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After the teams warmed up and the National Anthem was sung, the game began! The first two innings were relatively uneventful. In the bottom of the third inning, Francisco Lindor smashed a home run, which was incredibly exciting and brought the whole stadium to its feet. Not long after, José Ramírez hit another home run. Trevor remarked that you could go to a whole season’s worth of games and never see two home runs in the same evening. I cheekily responded that I was really holding out for a grand slam, and was met with an eye roll and a grin. Both of us knew how unlikely that was.

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The game was great, but both of us were fading fast –  by the seventh inning stretch, it was already past 11 p.m. and we still had a 45 minute drive back to our hotel (neither of us are terribly exciting people past 10 p.m.). We decided to head back to our car.

Almost immediately after we exited the stadium…

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We heard the roar from the crowd and the fireworks, both due to Yonder Alonso’s GRAND SLAM. We couldn’t help but laugh at what terrible timing we had. We shrugged it off, because hey, at least we’d been there on the night it happened!

The Indians ended up shutting out the Tigers 10 – 0, so it was really an incredible game to attend. If you get the chance for a Cleveland road trip any time soon and if the Indians are at home, do yourself a favor and catch a game at Progressive Field!

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