Last Monday was Memorial Day. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm, and the Cleveland Indians were playing the Texas Rangers with a 4:05 start time.
A perfect day to take in a ball game.
13,000 people showed up. And keep in mind, the Indians made the wild card game in 2013, and went to the last weekend of the season in 2014 before being eliminated.
Even in Tampa, a city which probably shouldn’t have a major league baseball team, and hasn’t ever warmed to the Rays, drew 15,000 folks.
In Miami, another city not known as a baseball hot spot, they had over 21,000 in attendance.
And it Pittsburgh, a blue-collar town very comparable to Cleveland, more than 39,000 poured into PNC Park to watch the Pirates.
We understand the fans don’t trust the ownership and front office of the Indians, and although local television rating are high, no one ventures to Progressive Field.
We have attended three Tribe games downtown this month and here are our impressions.
Although we mocked the new bar in right field, it is very nice. Our objection was to taking seats out of the park instead of giving fans a reason to buy tickets for the seats the organization removed.
And there are certainly many, many different foods and beverages to consume. It is very different from when we attended games as a kid and people looked at you weird if you wanted a hamburger instead of a hot dog.
We don’t like how the upper deck in right field looks. Your eyes are drawn to it because it is kind of a monstrosity, out of place with the rest of the park.
We did attend Corey Kluber’s 18 strikeout masterpiece against St. Louis.
What was strange about the game is we really didn’t know how many strikeouts Kluber was racking up. It wasn’t publicized to our knowledge, and we look at the various scoreboards a lot.
We finally went on our phone to keep track of Kluber’s accomplishment.
And when the right-hander fanned his 18th hitter in the top of the eighth, once again, we did not detect any mention that Kluber had tied Bob Feller’s club record for strikeouts in a game.
Very, very strange.
We also bought tickets at Progressive Field the day of a game, which is a ridiculous experience. We paid almost double what the tickets are listed at on-line. This is mind-boggling. It is almost that the front office is trying to discourage fans who may be downtown at the casino or a restaurant from going to the game.
With attendance the way it is, they should be embracing anyone who wants to enter the gates.
We understand the Indians want people to buy seats in advance, but at the very least, they should be the same price as what you could buy them at the day before. You are being penalized for making a last second decision.
Gone are the days you could decide at 6PM to go see the Tribe, we guess.
And if you want to buy tickets from a human being, good luck, they want you to buy from their ticket kiosks electronically. There aren’t many ticket windows open.
The Indians need to do something to get people inside Progressive Field. A good start would be to end this practice.
Progressive Field is still a great place to watch a baseball game. It has excellent sight lines, and great food/beverage choices. Yes, it is a little expensive, but you are a captive audience.
Start having different promotions. Embrace their inner Bill Veeck.
Someone on Twitter suggested a “Support Chief Wahoo Night”, something the politically correct front office would never go for, but would draw fans in our opinion.
We know they have bobble head nights, fireworks nights, and dollar dog games. Those are fine. But, they need to start thinking out of the box. Make it fun to go to the ballpark.
In our opinion, that’s lacking right now.