x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Don't go by the name - this ballpark is retro

Second home In 1989, the Indians owner Richard Jacobs spearheaded an effort build a baseball-only ballpark in the heart of Cleveland.

By the late 1980s, the Cleveland Indians were yet again on the verge of moving, and part of the reason was the stadium they called home. Cleveland Stadium, which opened in 1931, was a multi-purpose facility on the shores of Lake Erie, and wholly unfit for baseball. Throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, the Indians played to what seemed like friends and family. This was mostly because the team were so awful - but also because of the deteriorating facilities and the brutal weather emanating from the nearby lake.

In 1989, the Indians owner Richard Jacobs spearheaded an effort build a baseball-only ballpark in the heart of Cleveland. Jacobs put up a little more than half of the US$175 million (Dh642.7m) price tag, which gave him naming rights to the new facility. Jacobs Field opened in 1994, and was an immediate success. Between June 1995 and April 2001, the ballpark was sold out for 455 consecutive games, then a major league record.

Now called Progressive Field (a local insurance company purchased the naming rights in 2008), the ballpark was one of the first "retro" parks, stadiums that tried to capture the feel of the ballparks of the early 1900s. Fans at Progressive Field are very close to the action on the field, particularly down the right and left field lines. The left field wall rises 19ft in the air, above which sits the bleachers, and beyond that, a massive free-standing scoreboard.

Beyond the scoreboard, fans get a good view of the Cleveland downtown skyline. At the top of the bleachers sits John Adams, a man who has been banging his drum for Indians rallies for many years. It has been 15 seasons since Progressive Field opened, but it is held up remarkably well, and is still a fantastic place to see a baseball game. Richards edits blogletsgotribe.com