November 22, 2014

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Indians unveil renovations to Progressive Field

Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro talks about the renovations to Gate C Thursday in Cleveland. Gate C will have dramatic views of the Cleveland Skyline from inside the ballpark. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro talks about the renovations to Gate C Thursday in Cleveland. Gate C will have dramatic views of the Cleveland Skyline from inside the ballpark. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are making extensive renovations to 20-year-old Progressive Field, a move that team officials say will improve the fan experience but will reduce capacity at the downtown ballpark by about 5,000 seats.

Team President Mark Shapiro said at a news conference Thursday that the planned changes are the result of extensive research that included visits to other ballparks, arenas and stadiums and surveys to find out what fans wanted most.

Team owner Paul Dolan and the Indians’ concessionaire, Delaware North Companies, will pay for the improvements.

“We need to innovate,” Shapiro said. “We need to adapt.”

The renovations are expected to be done in time for next season’s home opener, Shapiro said, but he cautioned that the completion schedule will depend on winter weather and other factors. The changes will cut the capacity from 43,000 seats to about 38,000.

Changes will include a two-story bar area that is partially enclosed and an expanded section for children. Many of the improvements will be in the right-field sections of the park. A pedestrian bridge and other structures beyond right field will be removed to allow people outside the park to get a glimpse of the field.

“It will change the view dramatically,” Shapiro said.

There also are plans to add a statue of Larry Doby, who became the second player to break the game’s color barrier in 1947. The team recently unveiled added a statue of beloved slugger Jim Thome.

The team has the second-lowest attendance in the majors, averaging 18,659 fans per game. Shapiro conceded that the team’s performance is the No. 1 factor driving attendance. Shapiro, the team’s former general manager, said the Indians are young and are moving in the right direction.

The Indians are 57-57 this season, six games behind Detroit in the AL Central. Cleveland reached the playoffs last season and lost a one-game wild-card matchup against Tampa Bay, but drew just 1.6 million fans, ahead of only the Rays.

Cleveland enjoyed a run of 455 consecutive sellouts from June 12, 1995 to April 4, 2001.

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  • brenda

    Are just renovating because of what they say happened to the young man at the concert there? Is it to late for all that? I personally don’t think that’s what happened, somebody dropped the ball so that’s what they’re saying because they don’t know what to say!

    • Sis Delish

      “Exactly! A ping off a dead phone……stop it! Just stop it with the lies and tell us that you don’t know what happened!”

      the above is from:
      brenda’s Greatest Hits!

      So, what else do you know about that young man’s demise? LOL

      Countdown until alter-ego, Exposing ” ” chimes in…

      The Dynamic do ooh of the C-T…

    • stop ur whining part deux

      More likely that these renovations have to do with the “arms race” in stadium building. I read an article that ranked MLB’s stadiums. Out of 30 ball parks jacob’s field was in the lower 1/3. I was shocked personally because it is a great park. It said that when built it was a jewel but has since been passed by and that it has nothing memorable about it as far as architecture. A two story bar and street level views change that.

    • johns62

      no it not.

  • oldruss

    Putting Cleveland’s attendance (and this renovation) into perspective:
    The Tribe has drawn 18,659/game, or 43.7 pct. of capacity.
    Boston is last in the AL East, and has drawn 36,515/game, 98.5 pct. of capacity.
    Minnesota is last in the AL Central, and has drawn 28,495/game, 72.1 pct.
    Texas is last in the AL West, and has drawn 35,631/game, 72.5 pct.
    No wonder the Tribe has decided to cut the stadium capacity by at least 5,000 seats.

  • tickmeoff

    A two story bar in the age of 0.08, a family destination they tell us. They are speaking out of two sides of their mouth. Which one is it? Is it a family destination or an adult palace to get drunk in? At one time I was a season ticket holder. Now I struggle to make it down there 3 to 4 times a season. Elimination of 5000 seats makes it more expensive and more exclusive. Oh well, I guess you can always watch them on TV.