Guards Home Opener Preparation

April 6, 2023

Todd Hall

1. The Ballpark Pass. The team recently launched this new initiative, allowing fans to pay $49 for standing-room-only viewing of games in April. The pass can be renewed each month. It proved so popular that April sold out almost as fast as Emmanuel Clase can close out a ballgame, and there’s a waiting list for the rest of the year.

2. Throughout the season, 95% of home games will have seats costing $20 or less.

3. If you’re going to the Mariners-Guardians game at 1:40 p.m. Sunday, April 9, know two things: It’s Easter, so that means restaurants will be booking up for brunch, and the Cavaliers next door will be tipping off at 1 p.m. vs. Charlotte. Moral of the story: Leave yourself extra time in getting downtown.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Cleveland Guardians this year. Here are 39 things to know when you check out the team at Progressive Field.

4. Fat Head’s Brewery has expanded its ballpark footprint considerably. Anyone who has driven on Interstate 71 on the way to Cleveland has seen the brewery off the highway in Middleburg Heights. Locally, Fat Head’s is a favorite among craft-beer fans. It’s also well-regarded nationally. Now fans can relax in the beer garden in the third-base line concourse. It still features hanging televisions and string lights. Fat Head’s also will have a stand in section 111 in the right-field district as well as have its beers poured at other concessions.

5. Play ball! (But check your watch first.) The Guardians have no less than eight different first-pitch times this season at Progressive Field. The earliest is 11:35 a.m., and the latest is 7:15 p.m. And that’s subject to change.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Cleveland Guardians this year. Here are 39 things to know when you check out the team at Progressive Field.

6. Come hungry. One of the new food items is The Wild Thing – a vegan roast dog with house-made vegetable chili, shredded cheddar, diced onion, and – for the pièce de résistance – Flamin Hot Cheetos. Head to Happy Dog along the third baseline concourse.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Cleveland Guardians this year. Here are 39 things to know when you check out the team at Progressive Field.

7. Betting options. A pair of wagering options will be in place. The team’s mobile-betting partner is bet365, and the app will be ready for fans heading to the home opener Friday, April 7. BetFanatics – a retail, in-person wagering location – will be launched midseason. It will be in the old New Era store near the statues outside the stadium.

8. Melt Bar and Grilled is offering a Buffalo chicken mac and cheese bowl. Melt’s signature creamy macaroni and cheese is topped with Buffalo chicken at the eatery’s right-field district.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Cleveland Guardians this year. Here are 39 things to know when you check out the team at Progressive Field.

9. The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland did not give dispensation for those who observe to eat meat on Good Friday at the ballpark. But Progressive Field does offer multiple non-meat options, including the new crab rangoon nachos (Tostitos chips topped with white cheddar cheese sauce, sweet chili sauce, shredded crab, sesame seeds, and green onion) at the Loaded Nacho Stands in right field and noodle bowl (Ramen noodles, Asian sauce, red pepper, carrot, Napa cabbage, sesame seeds with ginger chicken optional) at Down The Line Bowls in the third-base line concourse.

guardians what's new progressive fieldl 2023

10. Speaking of bishops, the coolest new item in the team shop is the Guardians Chess Club shirt. It came about because outfielder Steven Kwan, fresh off his stellar rookie season, enjoys chess. The team even hosted John Marshall Chess Club for exhibitions. The Guardians partnered with Columbus-based Homage on the shirt, which costs $40. Some proceeds will go to Cleveland schools.

11. Speaking of shirts, the Guardians will offer “Free Shirt Friday,” featuring a different design over eight Friday summer nights.

12. For the season, 40 of 81 home games will include a promotion.

13. Another new food item with local flavor: Hot honey chicken tenders with crispy fries and a hot honey glaze from Akron Honey will be sold at Fat Rooster, under the left-field bleachers.

14. Speaking of Akron, know this: Guardians fans are fortunate in that several affiliates are very close to Progressive Field for two reasons: It’s fun to see Major League starters in rehab stints, and minor-league ballclubs have fun with promotions. The Class AA Akron RubberDucks have promotions/giveaways for all 69 games this year. The Class A Lake County Captains also have a full slate of promos set. So there are plenty of reasons to catch a minor-league game or two.

15. Local breweries have a nice presence in the park. Updated offerings at The Brew Kettle include smoked chicken wings. And Masthead Brewing Co. will have a dedicated cart in section 117. Both have won their fair share of awards and offer some tasty suds. Man, we are a long way from watered-down lagers at the ballpark.

16. For those who want a hearty burger, here’s a new one at Build a Burger in left field: A pimento cheese and bacon burger. It’s a one-third-pound certified Angus all-beef patty topped with shredded lettuce on a freshly baked brioche bun.

17Cashless options will abound. In fact, half of the stadium’s concession stands will be fully cashless. Credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay will be accepted. These concessions will have signage near the menu indicating they don’t take cash.

18. Most of the in-seat vendors will be cashless. Here’s the cool thing: Vendors wearing yellow will be cashless. Those wearing green will accept – of course – good old greenbacks.

19. Mashgin sounds like some sort of exotic appetizer at a trendy restaurant, but it’s actually quick-pay technology. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has been using this for a few years. Progressive Field will offer this technology, which allows someone to insert a credit card, enter an area, choose an item, and head out. It’s about as contactless as you can get.

20. Comfort food is good, well, anywhere – at home, restaurant, or at the ballpark. A mac and cheese brisket is now available. The Montgomery Inn barbecued brisket includes pickled and crunchy onions and a drizzle of sauce at the Throwin’ Smoke BBQ stand on the third-base line concourse.

21.If you like tater tots with a kick, you’ll love the new pepper-jack bites. The crusted cheese nuggets are served with ranch dressing at Fat Head’s right-field district stand.

22. Wedging yourself into a spot along the drink rails near the right-field foul pole is getting to be a rite of passage at the park. It draws a line of jerseys from Feller to Francona and is the hottest seat in the stadium, with good reason. A District standing-room-only ticket is $15 – and includes $5 of loaded value.

23. Games should be faster this season. For those who didn’t keep up with Major League Baseball changes, rules have been instituted to speed up the game. For fans who find the pace a problem, know this: Pitchers have 15 seconds to throw with bases empty – 20 with a runner on. And it goes both ways: Hitters need to be ready in the batter’s box with eight seconds remaining on the pitch clock. So expect the game to move a bit quicker – maybe not lightning quick, but faster nonetheless.

24. Lock it up. More than 100 free lockers are available in the third-baseline concourse first come, first served. They have a dual purpose: You can store giveaways like bobbleheads, and you can charge your phone. Two sizes are available, so they are convenient for stashing a large sweatshirt or coat for the first few innings of a sunny day before Mother Nature decides to change her mood.

25. Grab a six-pack! OK – not beer, but tickets. The Guardians are offering two variations of their six-pack ticket deal. One is a themed six-pack, where you choose Friday nights, Saturdays, Sundays, or weekday afternoon games. Or select your own games. They start at $85.

26. If you like to peruse the park, watch players warm up or just stretch your legs, know that gates open one hour before the first pitch Sunday through Thursday. Gates will open 90 minutes prior to the first pitch on Friday and Saturday.

27. With all the good beer offerings, there is a limit: You can buy two alcoholic beverages per transaction from a concession stand or vendor. Alcohol sales in these areas stop at the end of the seventh inning or three hours after the scheduled first pitch. (They continue in premium areas until the end of the game.)

28. The family-value pack costs $80 and includes four tickets loaded with $40 of value for concessions or merchandise.

29. In the why-didn’t-they-think-of-this decades ago department: Young kids can get a free ID wristband personalized with their seat location. Go to Fan Services, section 153 in the main concourse or section 550 of the upper concourse.

30. If you are getting to the park early, or want to take a break at some point, check out Heritage Park in the center field area. It honors the team’s most memorable moments with plaques and commemorates the top 100 rosters as selected through the 100th-anniversary celebration in 2001. It’s a great baseball-history lesson.

31. Public transit is available. The ballpark is a five-minute walk through RTA’s enclosed walkway, which is open during Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse events. The walkway opens no later than 5:30 p.m. for 7:05 p.m. games Monday to Friday, and no later than 5 p.m. for 7:05 p.m. Saturday games. For 1:05 p.m. Sunday games, it opens at 11 a.m. and will remain open 90 minutes after the game. For details, call the RTAnswerline, at 216-621-9500.

32What to leave at home. There are a whole lot of items that can’t come into the park with you. Bugles, for one. That’s actually listed on the team’s website of prohibited items. But the point is no noisemakers. Also: No wrapped presents or gifts. So if you’re meeting your nephew at a game for the kid’s birthday, leave the gift at home. Fans are allowed to bring manufactured diaper bags, medical bags, clutches, and small bags not bigger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches. Here’s more on what is prohibited / allowed.

33. Soda for strikeouts. Fans who log in to the Ballpark App on the day the Guardians strike out seven or more opposing players at Progressive Field will receive an emailed coupon for a free Polar Pop. By the way, collectively the team’s pitchers tallied 1,390 strikeouts, fifth best in the American League in 2022. While we’re at the freebies, when the team wins at home, fans who show the social post after the game, as well as the following day, can get a free Wendy’s small frosty at participating restaurants.

34. Bobbleheads! Mark your calendar if you’re into the nodding figurines; these giveaways are all on Saturdays:

4:10 p.m. June 24 vs. Milwaukee: Andrés Giménez.

7:10 p.m. July 22 vs. Philadelphia: Steven Kwan.

7:10 p.m. Aug. 19 vs. Detroit: Guardians Hall of Fame.

6:10 p.m. Sept. 2 vs. Tampa Bay: Emmanuel Clase

35. For those who opt for ready-to-drink cocktails over beer or soda, Cutwater Spirits has a stand in section 150 and is in assorted other locations in the park.

36. Suite! Single-game suite rentals will be available. They include 12 to 72 tickets.

37. College students will be able to buy upper-bleacher or upper-reserved tickets for $10. Go online for details.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Cleveland Guardians this year. Here are 39 things to know when you check out the team at Progressive Field.

38. Limited-edition promotional items will be available only to fans buying special ticket packages. Here are the dates and items, and the team says more will be added (all are caps unless noted):

Friday, May 5: Youngstown State

Saturday, May 6: Kent State

Tuesday, June 6: Peanuts “Lucy” bobblehead

Thursday, June 8: Educators Night corduroy cap

Friday, June 9: Two – Pride and Baldwin Wallace

Saturday, June 10: University of Findlay

Saturday, June 24: Ohio University

Friday, July 7: Tiffin University

Saturday, Aug. 5: John Carroll

Thursday, Aug. 17: Healthcare Night scrub top

Tuesday, Aug. 22: Peanuts “Linus” bobblehead

Friday, Sept. 15: Hispanic Heritage Night flag

Monday, Sept. 18: Baldwin Wallace

39. Remember: There’s always tomorrow. Progressive Field will be undergoing a major renovation with projects to be rolled out and completed by the 2025 season.

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