On our original scheduling of the road trip we were going to be seeing the Mets vs. Indians on June 15th but I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go and see the Nationals play as that is one of the teams I had yet to see play. Turns out I picked a great game to go to. Stephen Strasburg was called up and made his debut on June 8th and on June 13th he made his second career start and his first ever road start for the Nationals. More on that as we progress through the blog.
We pulled up to the Prog early as the game was a Sunday afternoon game. The night before we made the drive from Detroit to Cleveland which was about three hours or so. Not too bad of a drive. This was pre-Lebron departing so you still saw your fair share of LeBron jerseys and the LeBron poster was still downtown. Either way had it not been for Strasburg we would have been looking at probably maybe 13,000 people or so at the game. The Indians have been averaging about 16,000 but they ended up doubling it this game due to Strasburg. Seriously, most people were there for Strasburg and understandably because of the Indians and their poor performance this year. It went even as far as the Indians selling Strasburg t-shirts with his name and number on it. Never before have I seen that at another MLB stadium.
Part of this tour was to go out and not only see baseball but see different parts of America. I wanted to see how fans are different from each team, how they react to their team’s performance, etc. I’m not sure if we picked a good game for that but when I bought tickets I had no clue Strasburg was going to pitch. It was just luck of the draw. Had he not pitched we would have been in an almost empty stadium. So it’s kind of hard to gauge how the stadium normally is due to it being Kids Day with all kinds of activities going on plus the main factor in Strasburg. By the way on the left, that is Strasburg’s first pitch and the flashes were going off everywhere in the ballpark!
As for the game, Strasburg went 5.1 IP, struck out eight but walked five and only gave up one run. This was the game where he called for the grounds crew twice to come out and fix the mound. Fans were booing throughout the entire duration of the grounds crew coming out. As for the Indians, this was David Huff’s first start since he took a ball to the head. He didn’t do too hot giving up six runs. A big thing for me was getting to see Carlos Santana play and it was only his third Major League game ever as he made his debut. He actually had hit his first home run the night before to help the Indians win. There he is on the right.
As for the stadium, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Shame on me for not going to talk to “The Drum Guy” as he was standing by in the Kids Zone area on the outside of the ballpark at the beginning. He’s at every game in the top of the bleachers banging his drum to cheer on the Indians. He’s been featured on Indians highlights on ESPN every now and then. The stadium has a lot to offer really. Heritage Park is a nice place that features some of the Indians historic players and has the 100 top Indians players as voted on by the fans.
I went into Progressive field really not expecting much but there really is a lot of stuff to do there. One of the neatest things is the Progressive SUV that shoots out t-shirts and honks it’s horn and spins around. Now I wasn’t out there whenever it was doing this but it still was pretty cool and is a unique and neat feature. We had nice cheap seats in the shade for a Sunday afternoon game. There isn’t much to complain about really? I had a great hot dog with the brown stadium mustard that was pretty good and different. A great afternoon in my book.
The Nats were able to walk away with a 9 to 4 win over the Indians. It was cool that I just happened to shift the visit to the Prog from Tuesday to Sunday and this resulted in us seeing one of the top young prospects in the game. The Prog isn’t necessarily the nicest park or the best park in the Majors but it provides everything you need from ok food to entertainment for the entire family and really, it’s a good rating in my book. It won’t dethrone any of the other stadiums but it still is a great experience.
So if you’re ever in the area or near Cleveland drop in and see a game. It’s only a little over two hours from PNC Park and makes a nice drive in a very nice part of the country. Go and do it, you won’t regret it!
Road Trip 2010 Game Stats:
Final Score: Washington 9, Cleveland 4
W – Stephen Strasburg (2-0)
L – David Huff (2-8)
Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:
Guess the Winner Game: 4-2 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington)
Home Team Record: 4-2
Total Runs Scored: 62
Away Team Runs Scored: 24
Home Team Runs Scored: 38
Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina
Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Washington, Cleveland
Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers),
And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Number one and two remain the same with Target Field and Kauffman Stadium staying put but Progressive comes in at number four while Comerica keeps the spot in the cellar at number six. Miller Park and US Cellular Field shift spots this time around as US Cellular takes number three (for now) and Miller moves down to number five. Keep an eye out for the updated rankings each time around.
Ballpark Rankings :
1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)
2. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)
3. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)
4. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)
5. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)
6. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)