A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cleveland Indians, OH

The Cleveland Indians, as the Cleveland Indians, have been around since 1915. They have an endless amount of history and notoriety. The most politically incorrect sports team around, it does seem that requests for a name change have died down. The socially minded part of me thinks it might be good for the Indians to take a look at what some of the other Minor League "Indians" teams have done. The Spokane Indians have kept their name, but redesigned their logo with the help and support of the Spokane Tribe. A secondary logo was even designed written in the language of the Tribe. Former Frontier League team, the Chillicothe Paints embraced a logo and theme that was very respectful of Native American traditions.

Bob Feller, who made his debut for the Tribe in the 1930's still hangs out in the area. It's easy to find him around the area, and I hear he is very present at spring training. I have met him a couple of times and he still seems to be in great shape for a guy in his 90s! He is a Hall of Famer, and a great guy. Get his autograph if you see him, and thank him for his service. He missed 4 seasons of baseball VOLUNTEERING for the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Bob Feller is a legend in Cleveland, and a true American hero!

The Indians have sold out to the whole "naming rights" game. They are playing in the same stadium previously known as Jacobs Field, but it has been retitled Progressive Field. In fairness, I guess they sold out before the name change. The stadium is nice, it offers a great cool skyline view of downtown Cleveland. There is a nice view of some of the other downtown scenery in the upper levels away from the field.
The stadium does have some drawbacks. If you get upper level seats, you really feel like you are looking down on the action. It feels very steep.
Security can be tough here too at times. Still, this is a stadium to see.
Slider is one cool mascot. Also, their pretzels are shaped like a cursive Indian "I".

A personal side note (actually I am just bragging here). My wife and I were once the "seat upgrade" fans of the game. We had cheap seats (actually, free seats through a team shop promotion) in the upper levels. We were asked if we would like to get the seat upgrade treatment by one of the Indians promotions people. They filmed us and another couple walking from our upper level seats to our new seats, not too far behind home plate! They later played the video of us walking on the scoreboard in fast motion. It was funny. My favorite pitcher Cliff Lee allowed one run and beat up the White Sox that night too!

The area
The stadium is in the downtown Cleveland area, and there is a lot going on. Tower City is walking distance. Check this place out. It is several floors of mall stores under a couple of office buildings. This place is active. Also, if you are a fan of the movie, "Christmas Story" several scenes were shot in this area. There is a Hard Rock Cafe here too.

Have lunch or dinner over at Fat Fish Blue. This is one restaurant I miss in Cleveland. Cajun food, and a fun atmosphere. They have live music in the evening. I saw my all time favorite band Equation here many times.
You are also right next to where the Cavs play. You are a short drive from the Rock Hall, and Browns Stadium. The Rock Hall is cool to do once. If you are on a time limit, but really want to see cool rock stuff, I would suggest going to the Hard Rock.

Why go
This is the Indians, and they have brought up a ton of talent through their farm system, like CC, Sean Casey, and Jim Thome. This is a fun team to watch. There are several players on the team now who, if they keep it up, will go down in the history books as legends.
I can be hard on Cleveland sometimes (Cleveland was hard on me for many years) but I love this team. The players have character, and are playing to win. This is my team.

Why not go
If you are a baseball fan in the Cleveland area, Cleveland's biggest competition is itself. 2 of it's farm teams are a very short drive away. There are several minor league teams peppered throughout this area. All of the teams in this area are worth checking out. I love the Indians, but I must say that if are are staying between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and you can only go to one park, I would head for PA.

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