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Indians unveil exciting changes at Progressive Field

New food options, charging stations, extended netting among updates to Cleveland ballpark
Special to MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Back-to-back American League Central Division titles have whetted the championship appetite of Indians fans.

Progressive Field executive chef Todd Brazile hopes their hunger can be satisfied -- on and off the field this season.

CLEVELAND -- Back-to-back American League Central Division titles have whetted the championship appetite of Indians fans.

Progressive Field executive chef Todd Brazile hopes their hunger can be satisfied -- on and off the field this season.

"It really has become a competition between ballparks about who has the best assortment of food and beverage in the Majors," Brazile said. "Just like the Indians' goal is winning the World Series, our team also wants to be the best in baseball."

The Tribe unveiled its new menu items and fan-friendly initiatives Thursday in an afternoon event at the Lexus Home Plate Club. Lexus has become the presenting partner of the club, which will feature a Jameson-branded bar.

Among the debuting dishes are the Flamethrower (pork belly and pulled pork sandwich topped with bacon jam, barbecue sauce, green apple slaw and Flamin' Hot Cheetos), Pizza Logs (deep-fried cheese and pepperoni pizza sticks with marinara sauce), and Tres Tacos (flour tortillas filled with chicken or pork, salsa, queso blanco and sour cream).

Brazile, a native Texan, is especially eager for Cleveland foodies to sample his special creation.

"The Flamethrower was my brainchild," he said, chuckling. "It has pork belly and pulled pork and bacon jam, so what else do you need? I'm from the south, and you know I'm going to love that sandwich. Adding the Flamin' Hot Cheetos gives it a unique kick."

Exclusively available in the Terrace Club, which is open to the public again this year, include North Coast Nachos (kettle chips with steak or chicken, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold beer cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream, cilantro and green onion) and Chicken and Tater Tot Waffles (spicy chicken, potato waffles, Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, chives, sriracha and maple sour cream).

The ballpark's popular District food court, which includes 13 local restaurants, welcomes another eatery in Butcher and the Brewer. Its namesake brew, MadTree Brewing and White Claw join the lengthy list of beer choices at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

"We remain committed to providing every fan with a great ballpark experience, and having so many food options is a major part of that," Indians senior director of communications Curtis Danburg said. "But that's not the only area where we've made improvements."

One of the more noticeable additions is a wall of 72 phone-charging lockers and 45 storage lockers located in Section 169 on the main concourse, presented by Progressive Casualty Insurance Company. Each is free, secure and available on a first-come, first-served basis at all 81 home games.

Safety netting also has been extended to the far ends of each dugout as part of Major League Baseball's initiative. The total width of the protective white netting is 291 feet, spanning from Section 140-164.

A third, security-oriented development has led to StubHub being named the Tribe's exclusive secondary ticket provider. Effective immediately, only tickets sold through Indians.com and StubHub will be guaranteed access to Progressive Field.

"We're excited about partnering with StubHub and the superior level of customer service they provide," Danburg said. "We believe this is another partnership that will benefit Indians fans."

The Tribe also established new partnerships with Northern Ohio Ford Dealers, Chick-fil-A, Orangetheory Fitness, Marco's Pizza, Barbasol and Planet Fitness.

McDonald Hopkins, a Cleveland-based law firm that will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2020, has become a Cleveland Indians Community Partner. It will support the franchise's vision of utilizing baseball to strengthen youth service initiatives, focusing on education, health and fitness.

The aforementioned businesses have all demonstrated a commitment to downtown Cleveland, as have the Indians with their considerable ballpark renovations.

With the upgrades at Progressive Field now complete, the NBA's Cavaliers have begun a massive transformation of neighboring Quicken Loans Arena that will last through the summer of 2019.

Road closures, traffic delays and decreased access to parking facilities are part of the short-term inconvenience that Tribe supporters will experience throughout the next two seasons.

Huron Road will convert to one-way, eastbound traffic two hours before the first pitch, then reverse to westbound-only usage following games.

"We love it when there is a lot of activity downtown, and our fans are accustomed to dealing with challenges," Danburg said. "We've had a lot of evenings with Indians games being held at the same time as events next door, including the World Series and NBA Finals, so it's all about planning ahead and budgeting your time accordingly.

"We believe we have a good plan for expediting fans in and out of Progressive Field, but we're going to ask everyone for patience, especially on Opening Day and summer weekends."

Brian Dulik is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians