Finding Your Way Around Progressive Field

The Finding Your Way Around Progressive Field
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Gate C opens first, allowing you early access to the stadium
  • Most of the sights are around the 100 Level
Heritage Park is one of the areas of Progressive Field that makes your visit complete.

Getting the most out of a visit to a new stadium means getting there as early as possible, and Progressive Field is no exception. Fortunately, the Indians know that many fans enjoy entering the park several hours before first pitch, and are willing to accommodate. For a 7 p.m. game, for example, Progressive Field opens at 4:30 p.m., but be sure to line up at Gate C, as it's the only gate that opens this early. The other gates don't open until 6 p.m. For 1 p.m. games, Gate C opens at 11:30 a.m., while the rest of the gates open at either 11:30 a.m. or noon, depending on the day. Weekday games that begin at noon have limited access; gates don't open until 11 a.m. If you don't have your tickets yet, there are plenty of opportunities to grab them before the game. Progressive Field's ticket offices are found at Gates A, B, C and D. Once you're in the stadium, you can check out the ticket kiosks at Section 153. As you wait in line outside Gate C, you might want to get your picture taken next to the famous Bob Feller statue, buy a program at the souvenir cart or check out the other sights.

If you access Progressive Field through Gate C before the park's other gates are open, you'll only have limited access to the park. You'll be allowed in the right field seats, Heritage Park in center field, the Market Pavilion area in center and the Kids Land play area. Don't fret, though, as these areas give you plenty to see and do before you can explore the rest of the park. The right field seats are the perfect place to try to catch a home run during batting practice, and Heritage Park allows you to take a walk through the Indians history. If you enjoy baseball's history, Heritage Park will likely consume a significant part of your time. Since it opened in 2007, this area has been a must-see spot for everyone who visits Progressive Field. The multi-level park features plaques recognizing the team's greatest players, a wall displaying the top 100 Indians of all time and a plaque recognizing Ray Chapman, a shortstop for the Indians between 1912 and 1920 who died after being hit in the head with a pitch.

It's good to get to Heritage Park early if you plan to get pictures of a bunch of the plaques and displays. Because it's a hot spot, fans will quickly fill it up, which can make photographs difficult. Once you've given Heritage Park its due, take a wander through the Market Pavilion/Ridgid Job Site area for a fun atmosphere and perhaps a drink or two.

While you're milling around in the area, keep an eye out on the Progressive Insurance SUV in right field. Every so often, it honks its horn and begins to spin, then shoots T-shirts out of a hole in its roof. In this area, be sure to check out the stadium's unique bullpens. The Indians' is in center, while the visitors' is in right field. The neat thing about each bullpen is that each has three plates and rubbers, so that three relief pitchers can warm up at the same time. It's the only such setup in the Majors.

There are a handful of other concession stands in the immediate vicinity, but once the gates open to allow you to walk around the rest of Progressive Field, you'll be able to check everything out. It's always a good idea to take a tour of the 100 Level of any stadium you visit for the first time. On your walk, keep an eye out for any concession stands you wish to visit, sights you might want to return to see and anything else that catches your eye.

If you're in a hurry to get some Indians merchandise, the main team shop is located at Gate D, which is just on the third base side of home plate. The shop is only one level, but it's enormous and has virtually every Indians-related thing you can think of. Bertman Ball Park Mustard, a Cleveland favorite, is available at concession stands throughout Progressive Field and for sale in bottles in the team shop. It's somewhat reminiscent of Dijon mustard, and is a popular item. On a budget? The discounted items are in the back left corner, farthest away from the door. The main team shop isn't the only place to get some Indians swag. There's a kids' shop behind Section 119 (right field corner), a Majestic stand and a New Era stand behind home plate and Tribe Pride for Her, a store that carries items exclusively for women, behind Section 142 (first base side).

Touring the 100 Level concourse might be easy if you're on your own or with some friends, but if you're visiting with small children, it's wise to make a stop at Kids Land, located near Gate C. This kids' area has numerous games that are sure to keep your young ones entertained. If it's you who wants some extra entertainment, consider testing your mettle at either of the stadium's speed pitch booths, located behind Section 185 in left field and Section 130 down the first base line.

Progressive Field has numerous ushers that can help you with any inquiries, but if you're in need of further assistance, visit the Fan Services kiosks at either Section 108 or Section 153 or the First Aid booth at Section 120. If you need some cash, the stadium has ATMs at Sections 117, 158, 178 and 550.

The 100 Level is where most of the action is, but even if your seats are in the lower bowl, it's worth taking a long climb up to the 500s to see the stadium from an elevated view. As you might notice from field level, Progressive Field's upper deck is very high. In fact, this is one of the few knocks on the stadium; some fans aren't too fond of the vast suite levels, which push the 500s up higher. Unless you plan to take an elevator, it's best to wear good shoes. The climb to the 500 Level is more than 100 steps, but once you're up there, it's perfect for panoramic shots of not only the stadium, but also the Cleveland cityscape.