Indians reveal new bar name, unique seating option
'The Corner' to be in right field; old visitors' bullpen bench to be used for fans
By August Fagerstrom
CLEVELAND -- Welcome to The Corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
The two-story bar that serves as the highlight of ongoing offseason renovations at Progressive Field was given a name on Thursday, dubbed "The Corner," as decided by an online fan vote.
An homage to longtime radio announcer Tom Hamilton's pregame introduction call, The Corner will feature a "Carnegie and Ontario" sign on the awning between the first and second floor of the glass front of the bar, and will serve as the bar's logo.
The Corner's inner two stories are expected to hold up to 800 people, with an outdoor patio area -- featuring lounge furniture and a fire pit -- that can hold up to 300 more. The bar will carry nearly 40 craft and domestic beers on tap, including beers from the local Great Lakes Brewing Company. The bar itself will feature elements salvaged from the old Columbus Road Bridge in Cleveland's Flats, preserved by local company Rustbelt Reclamation.
The Corner can be enjoyed by means of a $13 ticket, which includes a standing-room-only ticket for the game and a complimentary drink -- either a 12-ounce beer, a Pepsi product or a bottled water.
"I think the bar is going to be real exciting for the millennial generation," said Jeff Wilen, Indians director of strategy & business analytics. "We spent a lot of time trying to take some of the essence from the bars that are popular in Ohio City and bring that here to the ballpark. ... We've developed a set of themes connecting to the city and connecting to the game on the field."
The "Right Field District" area, located in the main concourse behind The Corner, will be broken into five unique sections -- each representing a different neighborhood in Cleveland and a corresponding restaurant from that neighborhood.
The five Cleveland restaurants and neighborhoods represented are Melt (Cleveland Heights), Barrio (Tremont), Great Lakes Brewing Company (Ohio City), Sweet Moses (Gordon Square) and Dynomite (University Circle).
But The Corner is just one of many changes at Progressive Field.
Perhaps the most unique part of the renovations, from the fan's perspective, is what's happening with the space that formerly represented the visiting bullpen. The actual bullpen itself has been replaced with additional seating. But the bench where the opposing pitchers sat, and the fence through which they viewed the game, remains in tact, as the Indians plan to offer fans an opportunity found at no other Major League ballpark -- the chance to watch a game at field level from the same spot where many of the game's greats sat before them.
"We're giving our fans the opportunity to watch the game from the same bench that legends like Mariano Rivera sat on," Wilen said.
The ticketing specifics of how fans will go about accessing the field-level seating are still being worked out, but the team is excited to offer the one-of-a-kind viewing experience.
Both teams will now share a multi-tiered bullpen area in center field, with the visiting club taking the top bullpen and the Indians using the bottom bullpen. Indians pitchers will still sit in the same field-level area in center field in which they've always sat.
Changes to the bullpen area in center field bring changes to Heritage Park.
"It's going to be much more visible and have a lot more access," Wilen said with regard to the home of the Indians Hall of Fame. "It's now right next to the bullpens, so you'll be able to stand in Heritage Park and really only have a piece of glass and some netting between you and the pitchers."
The last major renovation is to the upper-deck area in right field, where several thousand seats have been replaced with three levels of white terraces. The field-facing side of each row of terraces will serve as a way to display something special to the organization. The top row will display championship pennants, the middle row will celebrate Indians' charities and corporate sponsors, and the bottom row will display retired numbers and banners of Indians greats.
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.