I still refer to Progressive Field as The Jake due to its original name of Jacobs Field when it opened in 1994. Whichever name I use, I also call the place “awesome”. The Jake has all the hallmarks of a new era ballpark – a downtown location with a view of the skyline, different sized walls in the outfield, and various places to walk around and enjoy the views.
Located in downtown Cleveland, The Jake is a shiny example of the arguments for a downtown ballpark. The area around it is full of people on game day – people spending money on food and merchandise. The Indians even set a record with 455 consecutive sellouts during a stretch of nearly 6 years (the record has since been broken by the Red Sox).
On the outside, the park features primarily white steel. The photo included here shows the home plate entrance when it was still Jacobs Field. Entering at street level on the west side of the park brings you in on the outfield concourse near the standing area that overlooks the left field corner. Inside, the park has a very open feel, thinks in part to the concourses being wide and exposed to the elements. In the upper deck, most of the concession stands face away from the playing field and you are actually out in the open air with views of the surrounding streets while walking around. The best views do come from your seats, especially behind home plate where you get a great view of the Cleveland skyline.
A glance towards the outfield area gives a glimpse at several of the park’s features. There is the nearly 20-foot-tall left field wall with a very nice out-of-town scoreboard built right into it. There is also a nice patio area overlooking the left field corner where fans gather and hope to catch a home run. Finally, and perhaps coolest of all, is John Adams. He is the fan in the bleachers that’s been beating the drum for nearly four decades. He has done so for over 3,000 games, missing an average of about one home game a year!
A Tip of the Cap
- The design centered around a view of the Cleveland skyline
- The electronic out-of-town scoreboard built into the left field wall
- The open concourses on the upper level that provide fresh air and additional views of the city
- The open area in left field for fans to gather and wait for a souvenir
Swing and a Miss
The main scoreboard behind the left field bleachers is big but not very attractive. Too many advertisements and too much to look at. A few tweaks would enhance an already attractive outfield.
Enjoy the game from seats behind home plate for views of Cleveland, but take some time to stroll around and check out the pavilion in left field during the late innings. While in town, check out the lakefront and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
Overall Rating: A
- Setting (A): A great spot in downtown Cleveland, which is underrated.
- External Appearance (A-): The exposed steel architecture and white coloring really make the park stand out.
- Internal Appearance (A): A beautiful park with a beautiful view. The asymmetrical outfield seating sections and varying wall heights really help.
- Atmosphere (A): Fans were into the game and a large crowed remained even after a rain delay. The Jake is a great place to spend a summer evening.