With the improvements being made to Progressive Field, there’s still room for more improvements
Progressive Field is in Phase Two of a multiyear remodeling that will revitalize the corner of Carnegie and Ontario for the next 20 years of Cleveland Indians baseball. It’s brought us awesome things like the Corner Bar and pour your own beer, a ton of new standing room and great views from concourses, and a bunch of sea containers in the right field upper deck. As a warehouseman, this, in particular, entices the imagination. This year they’ll be expanding concessions to include some Cleveland delights like Great Lakes and Melt and a rich people’s club behind home plate, among others. But there’s more to be done next year, and the park can always use more help. Well, I’ve got some ideas. Good ones.
Ball pits. Like 20 of them. For too long the idea of a ball pit has been all about the kids. But grownups like them too, and nowadays it’s weird to go to Chucky Cheese without a kid. These things are a blast, and obviously this means some slides too. Maybe 20 is a little much, but you could theme them and have the balls look like baseballs or something like that. Kids would love it, young people would love it, and you could put one in the Social Suite.
A driving range. Golf, obviously. Everyone loves driving ranges. It’s what baseball players do in the offseason too, make it part of a “Total Player Experience”. I know what you’re thinking, there’s nowhere to put one, what are they going to do, hit the balls over the field? Wrong. I’d say put them on the side facing Ontario, and rig up some nets if necessary. Or do it like that driving range in NYC that shoots into the river. Just make a really long pier or something. I don’t know, I’m an idea man. People would love trying to blast one to the Cuyahoga. Maybe it’s a bad idea because of traffic and stuff, but it’d allow the Indians to block off Ontario like the Red Sox do Landsdowne Street and put up a nice awning. People would love it. And the tickets have waivers on them anyway.
College of Coaches Box. It would be a premium seating area behind the home dugout that you’d have to take a test to sit in, allowing you better access for bellowing at the manager. And, in down seasons, the team could tap into this hidden well of baseball knowledge and get better in some way. Like how the Cubs did it in the early 60’s, but better. It would increase revenues in some way, I’m sure of it.
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Fry your own food stand. People already love the idea of building your own pizza, why not go the extra step? Let them go full on state fair and fry anything they want. It would be a nice revenue source on top of concession prices and people would love the excitement of sizzling, popping oil. You could have all kinds of flavors – canola, peanut, vintage, motor if you’re feeling bold. Texas can act all high and mighty with its gigantic hot dogs and other absurdities, but this a chance for Cleveland to go next level gourmand.
Move the jumbotron. A lot of stadiums feature a sweet backdrop of the city beyond the outfield wall. Progressive Field has this option, but that big jumbotron is right in the way. What the Indians should do is knock out that whole area where those sea containers are and put the video board up there, above the Corner Bar and all that and have the left field open instead. It would look really nice, make it a more intimate place and give the whole field a new, uniquely Cleveland flavor. The Cavs try this with the skyline on the court you can’t see anyway because of the height of the camera for TV broadcasts, why not feature the actual thing?
Get rid of that glassed in area in left. The Terrace Club I guess. It’s hideous. What is the point of it? Put regular seating in there, or get another District type thing going out there. Glassed in areas like that or what the Red Sox used to have with the .406 Club just accentuate the separation of the richers from the normal people. Its only value is to be a source of revenue in winter months for people to rent out. Open it up, make it regular, fresh air breathing seating. It probably has one of the best views in the city.
Petting zoo. Not even anything too extreme. To be honest when I imagined this, it was just a big area full of kittens and puppies. They could partner with the local humane society and have a big bin of adorable animals for people to fawn over. You know kids would end up demanding a pet from their parents, and that just adds to the fun. Plus on Bark at the Park Night, people won’t have to feel left out. Also, there should be a goat. Just one, for tin cans. And to ward off becoming the Cubs.
Batting cages. Like really, how do these not exist yet? Or do they exist and I haven’t found them? Those pitch speed things are everywhere and a lot of fun, so why not flip the script? Now that Statcast gives us batted ball velocities we could use that too. Perhaps people are worried about injury or something somehow, but life can’t be perfectly safe. And batting cages are dope.
Beautiful frescos and mosaics. Who doesn’t love a beautiful painting in the concourse? Ugly ones need not apply, but it would be really neat if while waiting to fry your hot dog you could be looking at a painting if Tribesmen past made by a local artist.
A bowling alley. No explanation needed.
Darts. I think I just want Progressive Field to be a sports bar at this point.
Cereal stations. I don’t get why you can’t have a bowl of cereal at a baseball game. It’s not just a breakfast food, and anyway when was the last time you ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cookie Crisp for breakfast? You could even have a cereal version of that pour your own beer thing. Can you imagine the markup you could lay on it too?
In-house brewed beer. Another thing I can’t believe they haven’t tried yet. Such a chance for pun based beer names. Wahoo Witbier. Tipi Trippel. These aren’t puns, are they. You get the idea.
So there you have it, Indians front office. I’ll be waiting for your call. As it stands these ideas are patent pending, which I’m pretty sure means I own them. I’m only trying to help.