Note: I was provided with a free copy of the Progressive Field E-Guide.
This is the midst of ticket season, with a lot of you deciding on whether to purchase a ticket package or to just pick a couple of individual games to go to. A lot of thinking goes into those decisions, such as the best sight lines, the best value, and when to go to the park. And if you live outside downtown, then transportation costs come into play.
Which is where the Progressive Field E-Guide comes in. Since getting my copy a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been reading and re-reading it as I make my 2013 plans. The guide is a 39-page PDF file, and it packs a lot of information into those pages. It's obvious that the author spent a lot of time not only walking around Progressive Field, but also scoping out parking places and transportation options, including the Great Lakes Brewery Fatty Wagon and the new bike station.
The guide is divided into three broad categories: Tickets, Transportation, and Food/Drinks. Each category is thoroughly explored; for instance, the guide goes into specifics as where you can buy tickets, and the best strategies to use to get a great deal. In addition the guide goes over the pros and cons of each seating section in the ballpark, along with various quirks associated with them.
For those who live outside the Cleveland area, the guide is helpful for going over the methods to get to the ballpark, whether it be by car, rail, bus, or even bike. It discusses the various parking options, whether they be the garage right next to Progressive Field, the private lots around the park, the Tower City lot and several other options I hadn't heard of before.
The food options are examined closely, including a profile of Bertman Ballpark Mustard, the best mustard in the majors. Also included is a look at the various places to get beer, and the various types of brews that you get in the ballpark. I hadn't come across Your Dad's Beers (serving Stroh's Pabst, etc) during the games I went to last year, but I'll definitely have to check them if it's still there in 2013. Anyway, there's an exhaustive listing of and commentary on all the places around the park where you can eat and drink.
Sprinkled throughout the guide are little sections called "Tightwad Tips," which as you might expect gives you some ways to enjoy the game and save money at the same time. There's also a section at the end of the guide which goes over general nuggets about the park; some of them won't be new to those who live in Ohio (cool/cold in April/May), but some will be of interest. In addition, there's a page at the end of the guide with links to many of the establishments, transportation options, and ticket options mentioned in the body of the guide.
Kurt Smith, who put the Progressive Field guide together, also has done other guides to ballparks throughout the East Coast and Midwest, so if you're taking a trip to Philadelphia (for instance) to see the Indians play in May, the Citizens Bank Park guide would be a good investment as well. Each guide goes for $4.99, and can be found here. If you hold your mouse over the individual ballparks listed in the left-hand column at the site, you can get some samples of the content in the guide itself.