Autograph Tips For Progressive Field

The Autograph Tips For Progressive Field
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Dugout-area access opens an hour before game time
  • Cleveland dugout is crowded unless they're facing a prime opponent
Players from each team sign around the dugouts before the game. The Indians side is often more crowded unless they're facing a popular opponent.

If you want to collect some autographs during your visit to Progressive Field, the process isn't complicated. Get to the park as early as possible so that you can enter as soon as the gates open. The Indians dugout is on the first base side and the visitors are on the third base side. For 7 p.m. games, Gate C opens at 4:30 p.m., allowing you to watch both teams take batting practice. You can't get to field level around the dugouts until 6 p.m., however.

Once fans are allowed to go to field level, walk (or run, depending on badly you want to be at the head of the line) to the fence along either team's dugout and look for the players you hope to have sign for you. Players often sign around their dugouts, so get to the correct dugout as quickly as possible and secure a spot along the fence. Cleveland's dugout is on the third base side. Depending on when you get there, the field might be crowded or somewhat empty. Don't fret -- soon, players will begin to emerge from the dugout and some will sign on their way to stretch on the field while others will sign on their way back to the dugout after stretching.

A good rule of autograph collecting is to have your material ready at all times -- pen or marker, card, ball or program. If a player is signing around you, don't count on him waiting for you while you fumble for a pen in your backpack. It's also good to be able to spot the player you seek by his face. Many players wear pullovers during warmups, making it impossible to tell who's who by his jersey number.

Cleveland's side is often more crowded, but the dispersion of autograph-seeking fans typically depends on who's in town to play the Tribe. If it's the Red Sox or Yankees, for example, the autograph crowds are heavier around the visitors' dugout.

Technically, Progressive Field's rules state that players shouldn't sign autographs once it's 45 minutes until first pitch. This rule isn't enforced by anyone and players routinely sign much closer to game time.

Once the game begins, MLB rules stipulate that players aren't allowed to sign. The players follow this rule to a T, so don't waste your time once the first pitch is thrown. Additionally, don't count on getting any autographs after the game. While players will occasionally sign, most head straight to the dugout from the field and disappear quickly. In other words, go all out to get the autographs you want before the game, because it's probably going to be your last chance.