Opening Day this past April, I paid a visit to Cleveland, where the Indians are hoping to improve their on-field performance and attract more fans in the 2015 season. Like many other ballparks across the country, Progressive Field has renovated and made significant updates to their space to enhance the fan experience.
Heritage Park – which is a tribute to former Cleveland baseball players that have graced the baseball diamond – is now more readily accessible for fans and passers-by. The statues of former Cleveland Indian greats (Bob Feller, Larry Doby, and Jim Thome) are located in center field and are free for viewing.
Another major addition to Progressive Field is the Bob Feller Terrace. Feller was an 8-time All-Star, pitched 3 no-hitters, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, and was winner of the 1948 World Series against the Boston Braves. He was born and raised on his family farm in Van Meter, Iowa, where he pitched with his father on a daily basis. Van Meter had its own Bob Feller Museum, which housed many of Feller’s baseball and Navy artifacts for many years. The museum hosted many autograph signings and attracted many fans who wanted to learn more about the Iowan native and Hall of Famer. Feller died in 2010 and the Museum saw a declining interest in subsequent years, finally closing its doors in 2014. All of Feller’s collectibles were then moved to their new permanent home at Progressive Field.
The Bob Feller Terrace is free to every visitor to the ballpark, according to Curtis Danberg, VP of Communications for the Cleveland Indians. It’s a wonderful place to watch the game, have a drink, and view some of the rare Feller collectibles, which are divided into 6 categories: Pop Culture, Post-Career, Feller Accomplishments, Military, Baseball Career, and Van Meter. Feller’s father’s original catcher’s mitt and items from Feller’s Naval service aboard the USS Alabama are included, as well as the famous bat that Babe Ruth used as a cane in 1948 when he was dying of cancer. These collectibles are true gems of baseball history and are certainly a highlight of a trip to Cleveland.
New in 2015, there is a two-story bar in right field nicknamed, “The Corner.” For a $13 District Ticket, you get a standing room ticket, one beer, and a very good view of the field…this is by far the best deal in all of baseball! Additionally, there are a number of lively attractions in right field to entertain fans between innings. A favorite is the “Fast Pitch” machine, where fans can determine just how fast their fastball really is. Each fan eager to show off their skills can have 3 pitches for just $1. I watched Kyle Mrdinna, 13 years old, throw a lightning fast pitch that clocked in at 76 MPH, significantly faster than anybody else, including many adults!
There are many more exciting changes coming to Progressive Field in 2015, and I highly recommend that you make a trip to Cleveland to experience them on your own. Don’t miss the Bob Feller Terrace and all the wonderful history it holds…and good luck showing off your fastball!