Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CLEVELAND: JACOBS FIELD

I had no idea what Jacobs Field looked like. Sure, I've watched plenty of Indians games, and I've seen the big wall in left (an ode to Fenway, if I remember correctly when it was built), but I didn't really know many details about the park, other than the fact that it was one of the beautiful new ones. I was very surprised how the park looked from the outside - but in a good way - the park is indeed one of the prettier parks in the majors.

What I like best about Jacobs Field is that it is original. Yes, they took parts of older stadiums and incorporated them into their look, but along with Camden Yards, Jacobs Field was among the first of the "new" ballparks, so much of what it looks like is an inspiration to other new parks...not inspired by them. The thing I was most shocked by was Jacobs Field from the outside - it has a very unique look. Remember last year when I was confused by the shell-like exterior of Petco Park (where the Mets go)? I thought it looked nothing like a baseball stadium...well, it does. It looks like Jacobs Field. (Note the outside walls in the pictures below - it's kind of tough to see in the Cleveland picture, but I think you get the point.)

As I've mentioned before, The Wife planned this trip, and we had an excellent hotel - right in downtown Cleveland. The view from the window:

You can see Jacobs Field on the left above that parking garage...and that's Quicken Loans Arena on the right. I have no idea how they handle the crowds when the Cavaliers and Indians play the same night - it must be insane. I wonder if the Indians were home any nights when there was an NBA Finals game. The city must have been jam-packed. Funny thing is I took this picture on a Sunday, when downtown Cleveland had nothing going on. Note the empty parking lot. The next morning, the parking lots were jammed, and the parking garage on the left was packed, with people going to work.

Anyway, we walked to the game, which is always a nice experience. If you take the path to the left of the parking lot in the picture above (obscured by the trees), you get the view of the ballpark at right, entering the gate above the left field wall. This picture was taken as we were heading home - in the fifth inning - The Baby didn't take too well to the game. We had great seats - 11 rows back, sitting down the left field line...but unfortunately we were surrounded by Red Sox fans. This wouldn't have been a problem, except the Sox scored four runs before an out was recorded, and this created a high level of excitement and volume in our area, making The Baby a little upset. So I spent an inning in the seats, and the remainder of our time at the game walking around, mostly hanging out down the left field line by the foul pole in the standing room section. We left after Jon Lester (in his return) pitched out of a bases loaded jam.

Also as a result, I didn't get a chance to explore the entire ballpark. I never made it down the right field line. But from what I saw, there weren't very many extras at Jacobs Field. It isn't as much of an attraction (as you'll see later in the week with Cincinnati) as it is a ballpark - and I'm quite all right with that. It's a really beautiful park. The food was just OK - but I didn't get too adventurous - a hot dog and a sausage late in the game. The Wife and I split a souvenir drink. The coolest non-baseball part of the park is what you see at left, which was above and behind our seats - a really well-placed restaurant. In Arizona the restaurant is out in left field, in fair territory - I like where this one is better.

As for the field, I love the wall in left, and the Indians have a great scoreboard behind the left field wall. As a fan, the seats were comfortable, and our seats down the left field line didn't necessarily point us towards home plate, but they weren't at all uncomfortable. The concourses were open down the lines, closed between third and first behind the plate...but there were TV's by the concession stands - including a huge screen behind third base by a picnic area. I mentioned above The Wife and I had a souvenir drink - on the cup was Grady Sizemore and his stats - and his birthdate. 8/02/82. Pretty cool.

For what it's worth - the Indians play some great music as they introduce their lineup - it's the best I've heard for a home team...and it's a looped intro to some song, I just don't know which one. Good choice, whatever it is.

Overall, a trip worth taking. I would not recommend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you're taking a trip to Cleveland (too much stuff in too small of an area), but definitely make sure you check out Jacobs Field.

REMEMBERING BILL ROBINSON: Lost in the attention given to the death of Bill Walsh (attention which he deserved, incidentally) is the fact that Bill Robinson passed away on Sunday. Robinson was the Mets' hitting coach for most of the 80's, including the 1986 season. I'm reading reports that he invented one of the Mets' handshakes that year - the "Low Two", opposite of a high five. As a player he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 70's. He was a good player, with good numbers, but by all accounts Bill Robinson was a great person. And at age 64, he passed away way too young.

TRADE REACTION: Not much to react to. The Mark Teixeira deal became official, and I'll just say this: The Braves have been scoring runs. In their 8 wins since the All Star break, they've scored 4 runs once, 5 runs 3 times, then 7, 10, 14, and 10 runs. The problem is they've lost 9 games, where they didn't score as many runs. My point is, they've been capable of putting some runs on the board, I don't know that Teixeira makes a huge impact, which I mentioned yesterday.

The Phillies added Kyle Lohse. I think that just makes them even more beatable.

The Red Sox have a pretty formidable bullpen with the addition of Eric Gagne. They certainly gave up a lot for him, though, in Kason Gabbard, David Murphy, and this 16-year-old prospect who is supposed to be very good.

1 comment:

southern bureau said...

Jacobs Field is one of my favorite stadiums. But I went back when it first opened and every seat was taken and the place was LOUD. Judging by the pictures on tv, good seats are still available now.

I'm dying to hear about Rochester!!! Scenic upstate New York!! Did you see a Red Wings game!?!?! Oh the anticipation!!!

Today's word: ymemfahu