Dream bachelor party trip: Watch Major League Baseball from the FanCave

The Cleveland Indians have introduced “the ultimate sports suite” at Progressive Field this baseball season. They call it the FanCave.

The suite above first base offers a pool and ping-pong table, sports-themed furniture, arcade games and six HDTVs.

The best part just might be the private restroom. The Indians change out the toilet paper before each game, ensuring that the roll features the opposing team’s logo.

Cleveland Indians officials say the FanCave is part of a new trend of theming the luxury suites available for rent at sports stadiums.

The FanCave can be rented for any Cleveland Indians home game. The price of $3,000 includes tickets to the game, as well as food, beer and soft drinks.

Minor league baseball teams and their mascots aim to please

As Aaron wrote in a post today, baseball season has officially started. I was reminded of this also while listening to an NPR story on minor league teams and how they got their their names and mascots. The Albuquerque Isotopes was one of the teams featured. The Simpson’s cartoon show is responsible for the Isotopes name after Homer said something about the baseball team being called the Isotopes during an episode. Fans named it.

I went to an Isotopes game when I visited friends a few years back. Even though the stadium has been gussied up since I lived in Albuquerque and favored the Dukes, there’s still that minor league team feel. I am a minor league fan, particularly because I go to games to watch crowds. There’s much more interaction between the game and the crowd in minor league teams. One gets the feeling that the players and the fans belong together. Plus, there are the cheap hot dog nights, the free bobble head nights and the free tickets that get passed out through local parks and recreation centers for kids. My son is always getting tickets to the Columbus Clippers from somewhere. Minor league teams seem to want to build a relationship with fans.

To me, major league teams aren’t about building relationships with a city and its people. Their games are just not as much fun. They aren’t a yawn, but crowd pleasing is more difficult when some fans are several benches up from the action. That’s my impression anyway. I do admit, I love Jacobs Field where the Cleveland Indians play, even though, the ball park is not called that anymore. There is some other corporate sponsor name that I can’t recall. The view of Cleveland is still terrific from the top bleachers. I like how you can see the seagulls from there.

Portugal, Alaska, Prague and Akron

Three of these places have something in common and one does not. I’ve just noticed that two start with P and two start with A, but that has nothing to do with this game. Everyone is going on a major trip but me. That, of course, is a gross exaggeration, but consider this. My father is winging his way to the Czech Republic with a stop in Lyon, France as part of his journey. My mother and my brother also left today. They’re in Seattle awaiting to embark on my mother’s dream trip–a cruise to Alaska. A close friend of mine from college left today for eight days in Portugal. (She left her two children with her husband for her jaunt away.) What does Akron have to do with anything? I’m heading there on Sunday. Actually, I’m going to Stow which is next door. My excitement might come from a stop at Grandpa’s Cheese Barn near the Ashland exit off of I-71. Wheee!!! Actually, the cheese there does ratchet up my excitement quotient.

There is nothing wrong with being closer to home. A good friend of ours who lives in Madrid, Iowa just flew in today on American AIrlines. The plane was early and my husband didn’t even have to pay for parking since he was at the airport for less than 10 minutes. This visit is a chance to show our friend, who has never been to Ohio, some of our favorite Columbus hotspots before my husband and he head to Cleveland for an Indians baseball game and a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sunday is the meet up in Stow for a family picnic gathering. These gatherings are one of the reasons why we are living in the U.S. right now. Still, when I am grazing the samples at the cheese barn, I’ll think of those people I love who are on their mega trips having those adventures they’ve dreamed about.

By the way, the friend who is visiting is the one who took us on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad mentioned in the fall foliage leaf peeping train post.

Travel Deal at Jacob’s Field

Eurkea! Ever since I wrote my post on dwindling travel deals for those over 50, I’ve been looking for a bargain. I’m not over 50, but like the good Girl Scout I used to be, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Last night, I found one.

If you happen to have a kid with you, and it doesn’t have to be your kid, and you happen to be in Jacob’s Field where the Cleveland Indians play head to Kids Land. It was glorious. Kid size sodas for $1.00. Push-up orange sherbert for $1.50. A snow cone for $1.00. I couldn’t believe it. What bounty! Just outside the boundaries of Kids Land’s border, sodas were almost 3 times as much. You don’t have to be a kid to partake.

Here’s the thing, I don’t know if this was called Kids Land or Kiddieland, but it’s at Section 117. Follow the signs. Once there, an adult at the gate checks to make sure that each child has an adult with him or her when entering. On the way out, it’s the same so you don’t need to worry about your child getting misplaced.

My son had a blast playing with other kids–the favorite thing was to see just how many of them could fit in a playhouse–and on the way back to our seats in the nosebleed section high above the seagulls, we walked on the inside of the ballpark where we got a better look at the field. Check out the kids page on the Web site for more deals. Children 14 and under can join Kids Club to get some special bargains. One is a free sundae.

Cleveland’s Fame on NBC’s 30 Rock

Okay, so Cleveland was poked fun at a bit on this Thursday’s 30 Rock episode, but what great Cleveland footage.

The Cleveland premise was this: Alec Baldwin’s character and his new fiancé went to Paris for a wonderful romantic trip away, so as a parallel story, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and her new boyfriend went to Cleveland for their own romantic get-a-way. This ought to bring a boost to Cleveland tourism since the footage did show Cleveland from a variety of flattering angles, even though Clevelanders’ weight was used to get laughs. The idea being that anyone living in the Midwest is overweight. Harumph! Other than that, and Liz ‘s and her boyfriend ‘s comments on the smell of the air, as if the Cuyahoga River is still polluted–it’s not– the show did an admirable overview of Cleveland’s landmarks.

Here’s what would be on a 30s Rock Tour according to what I saw on the show:

  • First stop, Terminal Tower, a gorgeous building with Art Deco designs, and once, the second tallest building in the world.
  • Jacobs Field, home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. There’s no better view of Cleveland than perched high up in the cheap seats.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame– Worth several hours. I still haven’t seen it all since I always get caught up in the section where you can put on headphones and listen to tunes from each decade.
  • Good Time III – a boat cruise up the Cuyahoga River that winds under several of Cleveland’s bridges. Each bridge moves in a different way to allow large boats to pass through.
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument– Cleveland’s.tribute to war veterans. Look for the display about the similarities between the death of Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

I don’t know where Lisa and her fiancé were eating, possibly a restaurant in the Warehouse District, now a hot spot dining location. I’ve never eaten in the Warehouse District since our favorite eatery is The Flat Iron, a what was once an Irish neighborhood hotel /cafe in The Flats. Try the pierogies. Of course, since they are dumplings of sorts filled with mashed potatoes and cheese then sauteed in butter, they aren’t exactly diet food.

The 30 Rock website has a Guide to Cleveland with an interactive map.