Sunday, May 24, 2015

2015 Game #4 - Cleveland Indians

Road trip!!!  For the remaining portion of this trip, we will do some driving around the middle part of the country - we started off Friday morning by picking up our rental car, hitting the road (via the Ohio Turnpike), and making our way to Cleveland.

The drive was pretty simply and we arrived to Cleveland on a clear, sunny day.  We were able to check into our hotel early (which was a building that had been converted from one of the first indoor malls in America) and the staff pointed us to E. 4th Street in the Historic Warehouse District to get some lunch.  Following lunch, we walked across town towards Lake Erie - Cleveland was actually a great town that was very clean and full of very friendly people!  I would definitely like to come back to Cleveland and have some more time to explore.

As we walked out to the water, there was some very cool architecture and then we passed by the Cleveland Browns stadium.  

From there, we spent some time at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.  There were countless exhibits with all sorts of different Rock N' Roll artifacts - from records to concert outfits to musical instruments to Johnny Cash's tour bus.  And one of my favorites, all of the rejection letters to bands like U2, Eagles, etc.  After viewing all of the exhibits, I sat in the theater and watched a 90-minute film highlighting all of the inductees into the HOF - very interesting.  

After the hall of fame, we quickly returned to the hotel to change for the baseball game and headed out to find a pre-game watering hole.  We wandered into a sports bar about two blocks from Progressive Field - Harry Buffalo.  Now, not only was there an Indians game tonight, there was also a Cavilers playoff game - this basketball game was not being played in Cleveland but since the Cavs arena was next door to the Indians ballpark the area was bustling with energy and the bars were starting to fill up.  We found three seats at the bar with our bartender, Renee, being absolutely wonderful!  She gave us all of the inside tips on the area, but more importantly the tricks of the trade around Progressive Field (turned out all of the advice was spot on once we got inside).  After getting a little snack and some drinks, we headed to Will Call - for this game Kevin secured tickets from a friend of his who is a relief pitcher for the Indians - Marc Rzepczynski.  Once we got our tickets, we headed in and sat in the family section of the ballpark.  The seats were in the 200-level which is actually the upper sections off the main concourse, only about 6 rows deep.  

During the game, we walked out to the Heritage Park in Left Field to check-out some of the history of the team, the monuments, and the notable player names on the wall.

At Progressive Field, both teams have bullpens in left-center field (a 2-level bullpen) that you can walk right up behind the catcher area with only netting separating the fans from the players.

In right-center field, the have a bar area called The Corner - this area features a full bar and was packed full of people.  Everyone in this area seemed to be focused on the TV screens and the basketball game - I believe this is was accounted for high concentration of Cleveland fans.

Following the game, we were given family passes to head into the clubhouse to see Marc - we followed our guy, Buddy, through the bowels of the stadium.....we thought we would be inside, but we actually got to go into the Indians dugout to see the players and watch the fireworks show!!!!  A few shots from inside the dugout while we were down there:

What a unique and awesome experience - thanks to Marc for setting us up with the tickets and trip to the dugout.  Besides the constant sticking to the floor of the dugout from all the chew spit, it was perfect!

During our pre-game trip to Harry Buffalo, we made sure Renee would be able to get us back into the place even though there would be a large crowd watching basketball - sure enough, no issue and we bellied back up for some victory drinks!  We walked back to the hotel to call it a night and get ready for the next stop, Pittsburgh......

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