10 Never Before Seen Facts on Progressive Field

By: Sports Teller


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10 Never Before Seen Facts on Progressive Field

Progressive Field is one of the league’s popular Midwest MLB stadiums every baseball fan has on their bucket list. In fact, the Guardians ballpark opened in 1994 and last hosted the All-Star Game in 2019. Any Cleveland fan that bleeds Guardians Red will know every information possible, from the team playing in the 2016 World Series to Corey Kluber winning multiple Cy Young Awards. However, there are new Progressive Field facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to 10 Never Before Seen Facts on Progressive Field below!

10: Guardians Stadium was Going to be Called Progressive Park, Not Progressive Field

For the first 15 years, the Cleveland baseball club’s venue was referred to as Jacobs Field. At the time, the stadium was named after then-Cleveland baseball owner Richard Jacobs. That name was well received by fans since it didn’t involve any corporate naming rights deals. However, everything took an unexpected turn when the stadium became Progressive Field in 2008. The name change resulted from a couple factors: (1) Jacobs’ name contract expired and (2) Progressive® has headquarters in the Cleveland area. But what people didn’t know was that the name was originally going to be Progressive Park. 

However, Cleveland baseball ran into a naming dispute with another establishment. There’s already a Progressive Park in the U.S. (a picnic park area in Council Bluffs, Iowa). So in order to avoid a possible copyright infringement lawsuit, Cleveland decided to go with Progressive Field. Since the name change in 2008, the ballpark has seen incredible baseball moments. For instance, Cleveland’s ballpark witnessed three no-hitters: 2011 by Ervin Santana, 2021 by Wade Miley, and 2021 by Brewers combined no-no. Most importantly, Progressive Field hosted the 2016 World Series (1st such event since 1997). 

9: Before Progressive Field, the Land was a Native American Cemetery, then a Food Market

Wrigley Field sits on land formerly occupied by a church & priest school, while PNC Park stands on what used to be industrial buildings. Dodgers Stadium lays on the property that was going to be a housing project, while Fenway Park sits on a former garbage landfill. But did you know that before Progressive Field, there was a cemetery for Native Americans? For the past couple of centuries, the land served as a burial site for those who settled in northeast Ohio. 

Sometime in the 1850s, the land became a food marketplace called Central Market. The food establishment lasted until one century later, when the entire building was lost due to a fire. Before the tragedy, Central Market had been getting bad marks for lack of cleanliness in its food stations. Eventually, a new food marketplace called West Side Market opened west of downtown. Meanwhile, the Central Market land received interest from Cleveland sports teams. Soon, Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse were built on where Central Market once stood. 

8: Cleveland’s Ballpark Hosted a Major Hockey Game

Outdoor hockey games in baseball stadiums have been becoming a trend over the past decade. Recently, Target Field in Minnesota was the home of the 2022 Winter Classic (Wild vs. Blues). Other ballparks that hosted hockey games were the following: Dodger Stadium, Coors Field, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field. Now, just because there’s no NHL team in Cleveland doesn’t mean Progressive Field never hosted an outdoor hockey game. 

In early 2012, the baseball stadium served as the home of the outdoor classic between Ohio State and Michigan. Nearly 26,000 fans were in attendance to watch perhaps the biggest rivalry in college sports being taken outside. Of course, the Buckeyes were the home team since Cleveland was about a two-hour drive from Columbus. However, the game saw a major upset as the #15 Wolverines defeated the #2 Buckeyes 4-1. Since 2012, the ballpark has yet to host another hockey game. 

7: Progressive Field Did Not Have Their 1st Concert Until 2010

It is not uncommon that live show concerts are taking place at baseball stadiums. Interestingly, there are teams that previously hosted live music shows. Those teams were the following: Giants, Twins, Pirates, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Dodgers, Rangers, Cardinals, Brewers, and many more. Concerts can vary with either a post-game event or just a stand alone performance during the off-season. But did you know that Progressive Field didn’t host its first concert until 2010? And that doesn’t count singing at National Anthems or having themed nights. 

In 2010, the Christian Rock Band Newsboys became the first major act to perform at Cleveland’s ballpark. Since then, Progressive Field has been the home for many concerts by the following: Billy Joel, Brad Paisley, Elton John, and Luke Bryan. Interestingly, Jason Aldean has performed more shows at the baseball stadium: 2011 and 2014. Also, Progressive Field used to have Faith Day live music shows in the early 2010s. The event would begin with a pregame positivity panel from select Cleveland players. After the game, ticket holders gained access to the concerts at the then-Quicken Loans Arena. 

6: Guardians Stadium Previously Held a Winter Festival “Snow Days”

In the past, the Cleveland baseball team has been looking to find ways to make Progressive Field a year-round destination. In fact, the baseball stadium was the home to some of the unique holiday events in the Buckeye State. During the early 2010s, Progressive Field hosted an annual winter festival called “Snow Days.” Held during the off-season, fans can celebrate the holidays at Cleveland’s ballpark. They can walk by the Christmas inflatables, watch a hockey game on the field, or sit near the bonfire at the left field concourse. Fans can also try to stay warm in the 3rd base dugout. The main attraction for “Snow Days” was a 10-Lane snow tubing hill located in the outfield

Unfortunately, “Snow Days” ceased operations after the 2011 event due to lack of attendance. In addition, the last festival took place in warmer-than-usual temperatures of 60 degrees. Perhaps the main reason for the minimal attendance numbers was that the Cleveland baseball team had been struggling at the time. Cleveland had a postseason drought from 2007 until 2013. Maybe if the baseball club made the playoffs during the 2010s, then “Snow Days” would have had a different outcome. 

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5: Two Fans Sneaked into Progressive Field During the Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic took the globe by storm in 2020, it devastated baseball fans and citizens alike. They could not go to baseball games and could not shop at the team stores. In general, they could not eat at restaurants or have large gatherings. Eventually, Major League Baseball returned for an abbreviated 60-game season. However, fans were still not allowed to attend baseball contests for 2020. But that didn’t stop some fans from entering the ballpark during the pandemic. 

During Game 2 of the 2020 Wild Card Series between Cleveland and the Yankees, two 30-year-old fans broke into Progressive Field to watch the game. They were spotted at the left field bleachers in baseball gear. And then, during the 5th inning, police authorities arrived at the bleachers to take the two fans into custody. The two men, who admitted to jumping over the outfield fence to get in, faced burglary charges. As for Cleveland, the baseball club ended up getting swept by the Yankees in two games. 

4: There was a Corkscrew-Shaped Wind Turbine on Top of Cleveland’s Ballpark

Progressive Field is one of Ohio’s most visited ballparks along with Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, and Columbus. In fact, Cleveland’s stadium is notable for the team’s players monument (Heritage Park: outfield concourse) as well as the left field home run porch. During the renovation period in the mid-2010s, Progressive Field received a new large video board at left field. One more thing to point out is that fans sitting in the seats can get a glimpse of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Cavaliers & AHL’s Monsters). 

But did you know that at one time, Progressive Field had a corkscrew-shaped wind turbine on top of the stadium? During the 2012 season, Cleveland’s ballpark installed the odd-looking wind turbine to cut back on energy costs. The baseball team collaborated with Cleveland State University to construct the wind-producing experiment. However, one year later, the wind turbine was taken down because its plastic coverings got tainted by wind damage. Had the experiment gone forward, there would have been a possibility of plastic pieces falling on fans during games. 

3: A Fan was Killed After Falling Over Five Floors at Progressive Field

As we noted earlier in this article, Progressive Field has hosted non-baseball events in the past. More commonly, the ballpark was used for live music concerts by big name singers. This fact was rather fitting since Cleveland is also the home for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame™. During the 2010s, country star Jason Aldean’s concert at Progressive Field gained national attention. Unfortunately, it landed on the wrong and tragic side of media attention. Believe it or not, a fan passed away after falling over five floors at Cleveland’s ballpark. 

On the night of a Jason Aldean show in 2014, 22-year old Cory Barron was killed when he fell down the five-floor trash chute located in the left field area. A couple of days later, this body was discovered by a worker at the garbage landfill. Since then, his family, took legal action against the baseball team over safety violations. In fact, the family claimed that Progressive Field received multiple warnings on broken locks and an outdated trash chute door. As of 2021, the family demanded that the case be declared a homicide

2: A Guardians Team Store Sign Collapsed on the Sidewalk, Damaging Concrete

2021 turned out to be a historical moment for the Cleveland community. After many decades of controversy regarding the team name, the baseball team decided to change its name from Indians to Guardians. Since the groundbreaking announcement, the “Indians” signs were taken down from the left field video board. Soon, any image that resembled Native American imagery was nowhere to be found at the stadium. Perhaps the most memorable story involving the name-transition was the team store sign. 

Not long after the stadium installed a new team store sign bearing the Guardians name, the structure fell 7-10 feet from the wall. Not only was the sign damaged, but the sidewalk cement near the store also cracked. Fortunately, the collapse only resulted in one injury by a worker who was fixing the bolts. In addition, no fans were injured as there was not a line to the store. Eventually, the sign was fixed and fans lined up to buy new Guardians merchandise. 

1: Progressive Field Has a History of Gnats Interference at Baseball Games

Major League Baseball is no stranger to animal interference during games. In 2011, a squirrel ran across the field at Busch Stadium during a Cardinals vs. Phillies contest. Back in 2008, a swarm of bees invaded the outfield section at Dodger Stadium. But for Progressive Field, the ballpark has a history of gnats interference at baseball games. In Game 2 of the 2007 Division Series, Cleveland was taking on the Yankees. In the 8th inning, New York reliever Joba Chamberlain entered the game with a NYY 1-0 lead. Then suddenly, he was interfered by a swarm of gnats. He soon received bug spray during a stoppage, but Cleveland went on to win the contest 2-1 and the series 3-1

However, the 2007 series wasn’t the only incident involving gnats. In September 2016, those annoying bugs returned to Progressive Field as Cleveland took on the Astros. At one point during the game, one of the gnats actually landed in Cleveland RHP Carlos Carrasco’s eye. Another situation took place in June 2017, when the whole clan of gnats invaded Progressive Field. The little insects were seen crawling on the walls of the ballpark. Fortunately, the gnats didn’t appear to ruin any game action as the Cleveland baseball club were on a road trip. 

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