To cap off our exciting baseball weekend together, Alan and I made a quick stop at the site of Cleveland Municipal Stadium (now Cleveland Browns Stadium) immediately following the Indians game. Since we had already visited League Park yesterday and Progressive Field today, we decided to complete the trifecta and visit all three Cleveland professional baseball grounds in the same weekend.
Since Alan had his glove and a ball at each venue, we also completed a goal of mine and played catch together at all three sites. At League Park, I caught one pitch from Alan next to the grandstands behind home plate. At Progressive Field, I caught one pitch from Alan on the dirt track near the Indians dugout. And at the Municipal Stadium site, I caught one pitch from Alan outside the University Hospitals Gate of Cleveland Browns Stadium.
When we played catch, Alan had me wear his glove and he threw me three strikes in three tries. He also let me snap a photo of him before or after each toss (pictured below). In the pictures he’s proudly wearing his Kipnis #22 shirt, which he debuted this weekend. I was wearing a Lofton #7 jersey (pictured above). Alan liked that we were both “in uniform.”
Today Alan and I ventured to the long-awaited re-opening of League Park! It was a special day for Cleveland baseball and I was very glad to share it with Alan.
During the on-field ceremony, we toured the grounds and took pictures. We sat in the grandstands, visited the Baseball Heritage Museum (located in the original 1900s ticket booth that still stands at the corner of Lexington & E 66th — pictured below), walked the perimeter of the field, and climbed the outfield fences (at least Alan did).
It was great to see the field back in use after so many years of neglect. Shortly after I visited the League Park site in 2010 for the first time, Alan and I both signed an online petition (Yes, Alan too) and made a donation to the restoration project. At that time there was not yet support from the local government for a restoration project, but in mid-to-late 2011 the idea of a community field took shape and $7M of funding was committed towards preserving Indians history — which led us to today.
Following its rededication as a community baseball field, League Park now officially becomes the oldest existing Major League ball grounds in the country(!), dating back to its original opening in 1891.