It’s October, World Series time. I hardly follow baseball during the season, especially the Blue Jays, but come post season, show me the band wagon and I’ll jump on it. This year I’m a Cleveland Indians fan. That was the only excuse needed to take a road trip to see the Tribe play.
Usually I’d make this journey in a press car, and review it. This time we made the trip in our own car, a 2016 VW Golf. My opinion of the car- is, it’s excellent. I’ve driven the e-Golf, a City Golf and a diesel Golf over the years, and the good qualities prevail. The Golf is solid, well made, fun to drive and useful in its design.
The trip to Cleveland is about four-and-a-half hours, all along the edge of Lake Erie. If you have time, take any side road close to the water, instead of the I-90 interstate. The leisurely drive will take you past vineyards and some classic small towns. We were on a tight schedule so beetled along on the thruway.
Cleveland is one of those smaller rust belt towns that people like to insult. Forget that cliché. It has fine architecture including elegant government buildings that are kept in pristine shape, and several vintage and restored arcade buildings-similar to the Lister Block, but bigger and more ornate.
We stayed at the Kimpton Schofield, a restored Victorian era hotel in a good location right downtown. Unfortunately we had a room on the second floor overlooking a noisy side street where trucks made deliveries all night. Check the location of your room before booking, otherwise the hotel is lovely.
It was a 10-minute walk max to the Progressive Field where the Indians play. On the way all the bars and restaurants were filled, and patios open and jammed with Indians’ fans on a splendidly warm late September day. First pitch was 12:10. Is there anything better than a day game in September? We paid $24 each for our seats, and they were excellent. Baseball watching is really an affordable family activity in the US. I noticed when watching games in Detroit and early this season in Cincinnati that the crowds are usually genial and often include little kids and grandparents. The bargain price of tickets helps, and the lazy pace of play and absence of violence on the field adds to a sort of turn of the century ambience.
The game meant nothing, the Indians in first place, had a 17 game lead over their opponent, the second place Minnesota Twins. Still the fireworks leapt into the air after every Cleveland home run, as the Indians marched their way to their hundredth win of the season.
It’s such a joy to go to a ball game in a city where the stadium is located downtown. People take transit or they walk, some come by car, and after the game they spill onto the local streets, and spend money eating and drinking. It makes me sad to think of poor old Ivor Wynne, stadium, spun around on its axis like a bad toupee and recobbled as Tim Hortons Field.
If we had more time to spend in Cleveland I would go to the Botanic Garden, The Flats-an entertainment district reborn on industrial land on the Cuyahoga River, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and tour the bounty at the West Side Market. It’s a great city and an easy drive from Hamilton, and Vegas odds makers are giving the Indians a 9-4 chance to win the World Series.