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Stadium 22: Our Visit to Progressive Field, Take Two!

Heather 0

Last week, we were scheduled to see the Detroit Tigers take on the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field when the game was postponed due to severe weather. Rob, the Guardians’ ticketing agent, was gracious about getting the game rescheduled for us for Wednesday, August 23rd. So, the morning after our Brewers game in Milwaukee, we got up early to make the 430 mile drive from Racine, Wisconsin to Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Another Change in Plans

The 23rd was supposed to be a travel day. Our schedule gave us the entire day to make the long journey from Racine to Indian Brave Campground, north of Pittsburgh. The campground is only 124 miles past Cleveland, so we decided that we could go to the game and then continue to camp. After so many days of driving, we were looking forward to some downtime at camp.

I called the campground to alert them to our schedule and inquire about their late check-in procedures. Much to our surprise, they don’t allow late check-ins. If you aren’t there by 8:00 p.m., you can park outside the gates and get in at 10:00 a.m. the next morning!

Fortunately, Ohio rest stops allow RVs to stay overnight. Some even offer hookups on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Parking at Progressive Field

Cleveland is another field without dedicated parking for RVs, so we were thankful to arrive a good three hours before the first pitch. The first two lots we found turned us away, even though they had ample space. Fortunately, we found another lot with a reasonable per spot price and ample space. Conveniently, there was also no parking attendant to tell us we needed to leave!

We found two spots along a barrier that would accommodate the truck and the trailer and not block traffic. After a bit of back and forth, we got both the trailer and the truck up close to make sure they were not hanging over the line into the neighboring spaces. Then the attendant arrived.

He was skeptical at first, but not for the reason about which we were concerned. There were better places on the lot to park, he explained. Then, he moved us to a spot where we could easily exit at the end of the game, and which didn’t require taking the trailer off the hitch!

After we parked, we spent about half an hour talking to our new friend, Travis Scott, about his life, his family, and our trip. He gave some great life advice to Ryan and told him he’d be looking for him when he came back to Cleveland as a player in the big leagues. We have been so grateful to meet wonderful, helpful, and supportive people all along our trip, including Travis!

Our Impressions of Progressive Field

When Rob helped us get our tickets for this game, the seats we had previously selected were unavailable. Rob recommended that we purchase club seats. While they are more expensive, they come with unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages! I know that most stadiums have a section like this, but these are the first such tickets we had purchased.

Our Seats: As you would expect, we had great seats! We were in Section 342, Row H, Seats 2 to 4.

The Food: After a month of ballpark food, I was grateful that the upgraded food selection in the Club section included a salad bar! We also had our choice of their hot meal of the evening or the traditional baseball fare.

We enjoyed the piroshki, potato pancakes, sausage, apple sauce, sauerkraut hot meal. I paired mine with a salad, while Ryan and Brad had a second course of hamburgers and fries. I skipped dessert, opting instead for a coffee. Brad and Ryan were thrilled to find ice cream sandwiches to cap off their meal.

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: Progressive Field carries Athletic Hazy IPA, which I really enjoyed!

The Game Recap: The Cleveland Curse

We had already been rained out of Cleveland once. Well, to be fair, it was more than rain. Cleveland was the center of a nasty rainstorm with lots of lightning and thunder. Given that past experience, you won’t be surprised to hear we were monitoring the weather.

As we were driving into Cleveland, the weather forecast called for a similar mix, and we went through some heavy rain. But when we arrived at the parking lot, it was overcast and dry. We were optimistic.

We settled into our seats for the game, and watched the Dodgers take an early lead in the top of the first with three runs. The Guardians Jose Ramirez gave Home Runs for Housing our first (and only) home run of the game in the bottom of the first! The score stood three to one, with Dodgers in the lead, and that’s where it ended.

After a second inning with no more runs and no rain, we were surprised to see the ground crew rolling out the cover for the field. While the skies were getting darker, there was still no rain, so I texted another member of the Home Team for an update.

My mom has been following our progress and watching every game from the comfort of her chair at home. She told us that the Dodgers were complaining about a delay when there was no rain in sight! The fans were doing pretty much the same thing.

And then the weather rolled in. The rain came down in buckets. Then the lightning came in. Finally, the weather service issued flash flood warnings, warned about hail the size of golf balls, and suggested everyone shelter in place. That’s when play was suspended and the staff encouraged everyone to leave. Immediately.

So, we did.

Driving through the Storm

My mom said that Elyria, which is just west of Cleveland, had been pelted with hail. We were happy to see no evidence of that when we returned to our trailer. We were also one of the few vehicles left in the lot. The billboard above the parking lot was flashing a warning to motorists asking them to shelter in place. We debated staying in the parking lot, but finally decided to move on.

It was a spectacular, if somewhat scary, drive through heavy rain and an awe-inspiring electrical show. We stopped as soon as we were outside of Cleveland, at the first rest stop we saw. Fortunately, there were spots with electric-only hookups available, and we settled in for the night.

The Umpires’ Ruling on our Chase

People who are trying to see all 30 MLB stadiums, whether over a month or over their lifetime, are called Chasers. Each Chaser has a slightly different set of rules as to what qualifies as a successful visit to a stadium.

We had decided in advance that we wanted to see a game in every stadium. Just visiting the ballpark didn’t count. We also wanted to stay to the end of the game, watching every inning that was played. So, when the game was postponed in advance, we knew we needed to loop back to see Cleveland play. When the Mets game had a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, resuming play at 11:15 p.m., we were there to watch the full game. But we never anticipated a game that was rained out in the middle of play.

The umpires huddled. We deliberated. We considered the facts that we already had the stamp in our Ballpark Pass-Port, a hat from the stadium, and a review of the seats, food, and beer. And we discussed the fact that we had seen all of the innings that had been played that night. On the other hand, returning the next day at noon to watch the rest of the game was logistically possible. We could get from the end of the Cleveland game to the Pittsburgh game in time for the first pitch. It was a tough call.

In the end, we ruled the visit complete. We also decided that, if there were additional home runs the next day, we would not count them toward Home Runs for Housing, since we did not see them. As it turned out, there were no more home runs the next day, and the Dodgers won the game 6 to 1 over the Guardians.

Up Next:

The storm continued all night long, but we slept soundly. The next morning, we drove on to our campground outside Pittsburgh, arriving just after noon. A quick load of laundry and a little trailer-housework, and we were off to see the Pirates! Follow our adventures at Stadium #23 in our next post!