The Cleveland Indians have a growing problem.
No, it’s not a willingness to improve their team, which currently resides at the top of the American League Central Division, although the issue is a result of their success.
The problem has to do with attendance, and we aren’t complaining about the club’s rank among major league teams in getting fans to show up.
The current homestand has seen a sellout on Monday, the fourth of July, and a crowd of 24,000 plus for a noon start on Wednesday. This weekend’s four game set against the Yankees promises more large crowds at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Who could have figured that winning baseball is the best marketing plan?
The problem is handling these larger crowds. It doesn’t seem like Progressive Field is equipped to accommodate the growing throngs of people who want to be part of Indians’ baseball.
Keep in mind that the ballpark holds approximately 8,000 people less than it did two years ago, and when 42,000 fans regularly showed up at then Jacobs Field, there didn’t seem to be the problems there are today.
Maybe our memory betrays us, but that is our perspective.
At the games we have attended over the last month or so, we have noticed long lines waiting to get in the park, and we have confirmed with several other fans that this is not unusual.
If you arrive at the park at least a half an hour before the game starts, or any event for that matter, you should be able to be in your seat by the time the contest starts. We don’t believe that is in unreasonable request.
The lines getting into Progressive Field 15-20 minutes before the first pitch should be a concern to the front office. They simply have to have a better way to get people in the seats.
Once in the stadium, we have noticed restroom doors locked and poor staffing at concession stands. The latter means standing in line 15-20 minutes to get something to eat or drink. That’s unacceptable.
The Indians are finally getting good crowds going to Progressive Field, and they must improve the customer service.
Fans shouldn’t be expected to have to arrive an hour before a game begins in order to be in their seats when the first inning begins.
After this homestand, the Tribe will be on the road again because of the Republican Convention and won’t return until July 26th. This gives them plenty of time to fix the problem.
Because in our estimation, the crowds are going to continue to increase as the season progresses because the Indians are a very good team.
Our guess is that there will be more attendance figures over 20,000 the rest of the year, than there will be smaller crowds than that figure.
In fact, for many games, they would probably be able to sell more than 34,000 tickets, something we thought about when they put the storage containers in the right field upper deck.
What the organization doesn’t need is fans finally deciding to go to an Indians’ game, and having a bad experience due to standing in lines for extended periods.
The front office has done the hard part. They’ve put a team on the field that people want to see. Now, they have to make sure fans can be in their seats to watch it.