Friday, July 15, 2011

A Pittsburgh Trio's Trip to Cleveland

Last weekend R Korn, The Zuk, and I decided to make a one day road trip to Progressive Field in Cleveland to check out and compare the home of the Indians to the friendly confines of PNC Park.

The three of us decided to begin the roughly 2 1/2 hour drive around 9:30 in the morning because we wanted to take advantage of all that our rival city had to offer. We already had tickets to see the Indians and Blue Jays play, but wanted to be sure not to miss The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and any other possible attractions.

We made it into downtown Cleveland a bit before noon and we were blown away by the lack of people in the city. Granted downtown Pittsburgh is not a hotbed of commotion outside of normal working hours, but Cleveland was like a ghost town. To further illustrate this point we searched for an all day parking garage, but after passing by many we saw that you had to be out by 7:00 PM. This did not give us much hope that anything was going on in Cleveland.

Once we parked we immediately headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, conveniently located about 2 miles north of Progressive Field.  Everyone in Cleveland must have been in line as we waited a good 20 minutes to pay and enter the museum. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was structured like a pyramid similar to the glass structure outside of the Louvre in Paris which made navigating through a crowded museum a bit difficult. There many different sectors of the museum which included The Roots of Rock and Roll, Girls on Film: 40 Years of Women in Rock, Cities and Sounds, Treasures From the Vault, Hall of Fame Inductee Gallery, and Right Here Right Now, among others. We all agreed that our favorite part of the museum had to have been the Treasures of the Vault section. You were able to see many different costumes, guitars, original music, pianos, and clothing of many different musicians. Particularly what was great was the Michael Jackson glove, the Metallica set display, David Bowie costumes, and Slash's guitar and hat. Although, the Rock and Roll HOF claims to have "one of the most comprehensive Beatles exhibits in the world" we were a bit disappointed. The section was only about 20-30 feet long with one Sgt. Pepper costume, a few generic Beatles suits, and other less than awe-inspiring items. Continuing through we also thought that the Rolling Stones were not done justice as there was only about one-third of the amount of items that the Beatles section contained. The Doors and Jim Morrison along with Jimi Hendrix both seemed to have more than the Rolling Stones.

Once we passed though the main section we moved upstairs to the lesser exhibits. The traveling exhibit while we were there was Women Who Rock. There were all sorts of costumes from Madonna, Britney Spears and the woman who seemed to get all of the glory on all levels of the HOF, Stevie Nicks. We all agreed that is was also great to see the infamous Lady Gaga meat suit from the 2010 MTV Music Awards.

There were a few other sections which peaked interest, but not much more. We were disappointed in the Inductee section. In order to see the inductees the HOF provided a long movie which no one wanted to invest the time in to watch. The names of all of the inductees were signed in alphabetical order, but there was no bust or plaque which we all thought would have added to the inductees importance rather than just sticking them on a wall behind the movie screen. R Korn noticed something cool in the Rolling Stone magazine section in which Charles Manson wrote a letter to the editor saying that he enjoyed the article about himself, but next time call him for information and that he would like a subscription as well.  We thought that the Right Here, Right Now section needed a lot of improvement as there were only a few things from Weezer and The Jonas Brothers, this was disappointing.  All in all we enjoyed the HOF, but agreed there was a lot of work to be done.

Not wanting to have to sit around, the three of us decided to walk to Cleveland Browns Stadium because there seemed like there was nothing else to do before the game. We were right. All we could do was walk up to it and leave. It was next to the Great Lakes Science Center, but we knew it would not match our own Carnegie Science Center.  Moving on we looked for a mall or other attraction, but to no avail. I think we saw every Toronto fan doing the same. Walked to the Rock and Roll HOF looked for something else, found there was nothing, and then retreated out of the heat to a hotel to relax before the game.

After relaxing in a local hotel, we decided to look for a place to eat and stumbled upon the only, and I mean ONLY, sign of life in the city.  It was a quaint alley that was turned into a strip of fancy restaurants with terrace dining located on East 4th Street.  We walked through and realized this was out of our price range and we were not about to propose to anyone so we moved more towards Progressive Field and found a nice restaurant and bar called Harry Buffalo.  We were pleased with the food and then made our way to the stadium for the game, but not before passing the former home of LeBron James, Quicken Loans Arena, which looked like a fancy warehouse.

I was very impressed with Progressive Field.  Of course nothing will compare to PNC Park, but the home of the Indians reminded me a lot of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  Progressive Field was designed well and had a cozy feel to it as opposed to being wide open like PNC Park. The stadium had great viewing angles and a picturesque outfield.  Unfortunately the city surrounding it was lame and no buildings really caught our attention, it was clear that the design was to make baseball the focus. In the outfield there was a section called Heritage Park which allowed fans to see monuments and pictures important to Indians history, much like Monument Park in old Yankee Stadium.  The game was not a sellout which was surprising considering it was a Saturday night and the Indians were in first place.  The fans were courteous and we did not witness any of the many Blue Jay fans being harassed.  We even were able to see former Pirate Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays hit two home runs, one of which ended up being a 10th inning game-winner.  I have been to several ballparks and even though I have not seen to them all, I would have to rate Progressive Field as a top 10 baseball stadium.
Following the game there were fireworks, but we knew they would not hold a match to a Zambelli skyblast or fireworks night at PNC so we headed to the car and made our way home.  It was a fun trip, but be forewarned, Cleveland can be done in one day; a half day if you only want to see a game.  I did notice that Cleveland is home to two other attractions and not much else:  the Great Lakes Brewing Company and the house of Ralphie from "A Christmas Story."

I recommend Cleveland for a baseball game, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not much else.  I guess that is why they say 'Cleveland Sucks.'


  1. R Korn said...

    I liked Progressive Field, the decks were staked right on top of each other like an old park. The food selection and concourse was typical. It was an exciting gameas the Tribe tied the game up in the bottom of the 9th and enjoyed the MLB homerun leader hit to 2 HRs.

    The Rock 'n Roll HOF was ok, the bottom floor was the featured area and was the best. I was disappointed in the Rolling Stones exhibit and like Pills said they had a ton of Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks stuff. There also wasn't a noticable amount of stuff from Bob Dylan,& Neil Young. I don't know if they have much room to expand, they have a lot crammed in the Hall.

    Since the HOF is failry new, they probably missed out on a lot of memorabilia from the 60s/70s a lot of that stuff is probably at Hard Rock Cafe's and hometown museums

  2. R Korn said...

    I liked the Heritage Monuments, the Pirates could add that and get rid of that stupid playground they have located behind RF/1B line. It could pay homage to some of the Pirates that were great but not great enough to be HOF'ers or have their numbers retired ie Dave Parker, Doug Drabek, Manny Sanguillen.

    I was disappointed in the 90's section in "The Era's of Music" display. They had some Nirvana stuff, but I didn't notice much if any Pearl Jam, STP, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Radiohead (all essential 90s bands). I did see some Mudhoney stuff. Although I cannot tell you one song of theirs.

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