As they have for the last several seasons, the Cleveland Indians invited local media to take in their “What’s New” event. The last two years have been littered with exciting news like the renovations to Gate C, the addition of The Corner, and a litany of food and beverage options from local bars and restaurants.
While this year’s were tame in comparison (let’s be honest, it’s tough to top a two-story bar with an outdoor fireplace), there were no shortage of announcements to come from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in addition to a brand new, fire engine red banner painted on top of the visitor’s dugout.
Items of note include:
- New LED lights were installed at Progressive Field. The new energy-efficient lights will be 20-30 percent brighter, which also will significantly reduce glare and shadows on the field. These also serve as another piece of the club’s sustainability efforts. In 2016, the Indians diverted over 46% of total waste from area landfills and saved 407,000 kWh of energy. It is estimated that the addition of LED lights will increase the energy savings number by 70 percent.
- Fans attending games at Progressive Field this season now can connect their wireless devices to free Wi-Fi. When looking to connect, fans should look for the network named IndiansWiFi.
- The team has already sold 1.2 million tickets for the 2017 season. They did not eclipse this mark until July of last season. In addition, the lower bowl is entirely sold out for what the team is considering to be their marquee games, including the Fourth of July weekend and contests against some of the league’s more popular opponents.
- Cleveland Clinic will be the presenting sponsor of Indians.com and the Indians Radio Network.
- Market Garden Brewery, located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, will serve its popular beers outside of section 133. Market Garden is the 13th local restaurant to be added to the ballpark’s roster, joining the likes of Melt Bar and Grilled, Barrio, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and more. Market Garden will also have their Nano Slider Trio, trio of beef sliders made up of, the Nano slider with beer mustard, beer onions, pickles and American cheese; the Tart and Tangy with spicy mayo, cole slaw, pickled onions, cheddar cheese and a balsamic reduction; and the Spicy Slider with spicy mayo, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and poblanos.
- The Po’Man will be added to the menu at Great Lakes Brewing Company outside of section 107 featuring smoked Kielbasa, potato and cheese pierogis, sauerkraut and Dortmunder Gold Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard.
- The Terrace Club is once again open to the public and seating times can be found on Indians.com; reservations can be made at OpenTable.com.
- Eleven suites on the upper level down the third base line — from the Press Box to the Terrace Club — were remodeled into six new Pennant Party Suites. These newly flexible suites can accommodate groups ranging in size from 24 to 240.
- Employees in orange shirts will signal the addition of an entire department related to fan service. The results of a multi-year effort, the team has will have a greater presence throughout the ballpark including a highly-trained staff working to provide exceptional service. Orange-shirted Ambassadors will be flanked throughout the park to ensure the in-game experience is one that is as enjoyable as possible.
- And finally, the Indians continue to encourage fans to manage their tickets conveniently and securely with the MLB.com Ballpark App. This year, digital ticket scans through the app will unlock exclusive giveaways and prizes for select fans. The app also gives fans direct access to Fan Services, concession stand menus and concourse maps – and offers new virtual reality videos for fans’ enjoyment. Fans will also be able to skip the lines by using Progressive Field’s new mobile-only gates.
The Indians first pitch at home is slated for 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, with gates opening at 2 p.m. There will be a pregame ceremony to celebrate the Indians AL Championship, during which players and coaches will receive their AL Championship rings, a flag will be raised in center field and a banner will be unveiled in the Right Field Terraces. The team encourages fans to be in their seats by 3 p.m. to witness the ceremony. The first pitch will be thrown by the trio of Jim Thome, Austin Carr, and Jim Brown while the Cleveland Orchestra string section will perform the national anthem.