Hello, Cleveland!


I had the interesting fortune of having to go to Cleveland, Ohio for about five hours of business yesterday.  As I had an extra hour or so at the tail end of my trip (and a rental car with unlimited miles!), I took the opportunity to stop by Jacobs Field for a quick peek.  I had been to Cleveland one time prevously, in 1990, following my graduation from college on a cross-half-country trip to ballparks.  In just a few days we drove from New York to Cleveland to Chicago to Milwaukee.  It was a last chance to see three parks in their final (or near-final) days: Municipal, Comiskey, and County.  I recall the moment I walked into Municipal Stadium, a cavernous football field-cum-baseball stadium, one of the oddest places I have ever seen a ballgame, with 8000 fans barely filling 10% of a garagantuan edifice.  The days of the lightly subscribed Indians game is over and Municipal is gone, in their place is a full house and a very nice, if schizophrenic, modern stadium.  More pictures (all taken from outside the yard — the game wasn’t until 7pm and I was there at 2, sadly) and comments after the jump.

The Jake, from the air:

Aerial Img_0491_2


Lights Steel

Architecturally, the stadium is a bit schizophrenic, and not entirely succesful on the outside.  It’s a mix of a highly fetishized exposed steel structure coupled with a derivative, heavy/clumsy masonry street presence.  The light stanchions are particularly beautiful, though.


There appears to be a restaurant/people aquarium in left field – but who wants to watch a game in a hermetically sealed glass container while sipping Chardonnay?


One fan waited outside the player’s gate for someone who is probably never going to show…

And speaking of legends, Yankees fans may cringe at this rip-off:


My favorite features inside the field, at least from my limited perspective outside the stadium, were the open but not overly vast public spaces dotted throughout the bleachers, picnic spaces and milling-about spaces to stand and watch.  Also, the right-field layout of the stands, an oddly shaped triple-decker bleacher that looks like THE place to see the game (at the left of the photo below).


But the best space was outside the stadium, a peaceful, shaded grove of trees next to the Bob Feller statue (shown at the top of the thread) at the center field ticket booth.  It would be the perfect place to calm one’s nerves before heading into the cacophony of a major league stadium on a hot summer Sunday afternoon in the midst of a pennant race.

10 comments… add one
  • “who wants to watch a game in a hermetically sealed glass container while sipping Chardonnay?”
    Um. that’s my recollection of the .406 club, though i know the plan is to open it to the elements (or has that happened already?)
    really, this is great, great stuff. the heritage park thing is pretty funny. nice to have so much design criticism (cf the all star logo post) on the blog today.

    YF August 1, 2007, 4:35 pm
  • Already happened YF

    SF Kevin August 1, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • that’s my recollection of the .406 club
    That was the .406 Club (substitute Chowda for Chahd), and it was idiotic. Thankfully, as Kevin notes, the Sox did away with it.

    SF August 1, 2007, 4:39 pm
  • I love that it looks like a stiff breeze could knock down that “Heritage Park” entry arch. Walk under that thing at your peril!

    YF August 1, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • I have a good friend who lives outside Cleveland and every couple of years I go out there for the Sox-Tribe series.
    We’ve had seats all over the park, and it’s a really great place to watch a game.

    Zulu.as.SF August 1, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • Great stuff, SF.

    attackgerbil August 1, 2007, 6:01 pm
  • Great pics, SF. It’s like you’re an architect or something…

    Paul SF August 1, 2007, 6:08 pm
  • Like the pictures, SF.
    I saw a game at the Jake in the summer of ’03 and enjoyed it immensely. I remember the Indians had a speedy leftfielder with a funny name leading off and going 2 for 4. Glad he now plays centerfield for the Sox.
    That same summer I also saw a game at Wrigley (another pretty nice ballpark) in which the Cubs’ starting pitcher threw some filthy stuff in a two hit complete game shutout of the Giants. Of course when the Sox signed him I thought Matt Clement would pitch like that every time …

    pale blue eyes August 2, 2007, 5:21 am
  • I was browsing the “ballparks” section..arguably my favorite category..and realized I never saw this post. Great images. I really hope to visit the Jake.

    attackgerbil September 5, 2007, 10:40 pm
  • Gerb: who posted on August 1st, then, as “attackgerbil”?

    SF September 5, 2007, 10:58 pm

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