What's New at The Ballparks 2016 - American League

Posted by Kurt Smith on Saturday, April 2, 2016
This time of year, there are so many changes being announced to every home team’s ballpark…especially with new food items…that it’s impossible for me to get the Ballpark E-Guides updated so quickly. So until I do, here is what you need to know about changes that aren’t yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides.

Here is what’s new in the American League:

Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)

The Orioles have raised ticket prices for 2016, to help pay for their re-signed cleanup hitter. The average price of a ticket will go up about $4-5…not much, but enough to inspire you to check out SeatGeek.

The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards has closed and is moving to a new location; no word yet on what the Camden Station building will be used for.

Rumors that Natty Boh will no longer be available at the ballpark are exaggerated; the Orioles are just removing one of the dedicated Natty Boh stands. You may exhale.

New food items at the Yard include: a Jalapeno Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog, a Smoked Brisket BBQ Sandwich, the Spicy Chicken Chipper, and a High Heater Burger (that’s a big ‘un).

Still breathing a sigh of relief about Natty Boh…

UPDATE: It looks like the O's aren't serving Natty Boh at the Yard after all. But you can still get a cheap one across the street at Slider's. Key tip in the Oriole Park at Camden Yards E-Guide!

Click here to purchase the Oriole Park at Camden Yards E-Guide…


Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)

The Red Sox now have drawing for tickets for the biggest games, like Yankees games and Opening Day. The Budweiser Roof Deck tickets can be won with this. You don’t actually win the tickets, just the opportunity to buy them.

The Red Sox have joined the Yankees in setting up their own ticket resale website, called “Red Sox Replay”. The goal, according to the Sox and Tickets.com, is to reduce fees and paper tickets. Unlike the Yankees, though, the Red Sox haven’t banned paper tickets…yet. The Sox supposedly are providing incentives for season ticket holders to use the Replay site, and there is currently a price floor of 30% of the face value. You can still purchase Red Sox tickets on StubHub without much pain.

Click here to purchase the Fenway Park E-Guide…


Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)

The Indians continue to turn Progressive Field into a more fan-friendly place, especially for those much-coveted “millennials”. They’ve yanked out the upper seating section in the left field corner and replaced them with drink rail sections; there is a new beer garden there as well. This is in tandem with the new “Left Field Porch”; more on that in a minute.

They’ve also yanked out the 200 level seats behind home plate and created an aptly named “Home Plate Club”…an indoor (wait for it) gathering space for high end season ticket holders, with a full bar and glass front to watch the game. Just as well; never liked seats that didn’t have a view of the scoreboard. The club remains open after the game to wait out traffic.

There is a crazy huge new scoreboard at Progressive Field…be sure to be ready for that hi-def action.

The traffic situation appears to be getting better…the seemingly endless construction near the ballpark (something I believe contributes to the Indians attendance problem) is getting closer to completion. The I-77 off-ramps have been relocated, and exiting the ballpark especially should be much easier now.

And the Indians may now be the best team in baseball at showcasing the great foodie havens of a city…there are now a total of 12 local eateries represented at the Prog with the newly opened Left Field Section.

Here are the newest additions:

The Brew Kettle – The Strongsville brewery will serve its craft beers including a coconut chocolate milk stout. (!) They will also have sandwiches like a brat burger with kraut relish and Swiss cheese.

Cleveland Pickle – The Pickle was voted “Best Sandwich Shop” in Cleveland Magazine…at the Prog they will offer the Clevelander (smoked turkey with black forest ham) and the “Classic Pickle”: capicola, Genoa salami, prosciutto, provolone, angry pickle, standard oil, and balsamic redux. I’ll bet it’s the first time you’ve had “redux” at a ballgame!

Dante’s Inferno – Dante’s is a local craft pizza joint; their offerings at the Prog include a spaghetti and meatball pizza. Carb up.

Fat Head’s – Fat Head’s is another sandwich shop; they’re known for what they call “Headwiches” …sandwiches the size of your head (not my head, of course). Their signature items are the Fat Italian (Ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni & crumbled hot sausage topped with provolone cheese, banana peppers, hard boiled egg, lettuce, tomato, red onion & rosemary mayo) and the Southside Slopes (Kielbasa topped with fried pierogis, American cheese, grilled onions and horseradish sauce. Amazing.

Happy Dog – As if the Prog didn’t have enough wacky dogs, Happy Dog takes it to a new level…no easy thing at a ballpark. At the game you can get a Southern style BBQ dog, a Slider dog that includes FROOT LOOPS, a Summer Veggie dog and a Killer Kilbane dog with (I really can’t believe this) pickle relish, chunky peanut butter and sriracha sauce. THAT I’ve gotta try.

(Yes, not done yet) Momocho – Momocho will compete with Barrio on the nacho front; their nachos will be made fresh in an oven and served with chicken, chorizo or Barbacoa, and you can get quesadillas in the same form too. Momocho is an Ohio City foodie joint; their chef was voted Best Chef by Scene magazine.

Ohio City Burrito – Yes, quesadillas, nachos and burritos at Progressive Field. Ohio City prides itself on the expert job they do rolling burritos; somehow I don’t think that will be the thing that keeps the millennials coming back. But they have chicken, beef or Barbacoa burritos, with their very popular fresh guac and salsa.

Throwing Smoke – A barbecue joint with pulled pork or chicken sandwiches, and something called a “Heater” (I call foul on the gratuitous baseball reference): Your choice of meat topped with habanero bbq sauce, fresh jalapeno pepper slices, pepper jack cheese, and sweet slaw. The Indians have finally brought in a BBQ joint to Progressive, long overdue.

Whew! Lots of great changes to the Prog; hopefully I’ll be able to get out there soon enough.

Click here to purchase the Progressive Field E-Guide…


Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)

The new Red Wings arena is arising nearby, so that could affect a lot of parking choices you have north of the ballpark. There shouldn’t be that much difference but keep it in mind and use a shuttle from a nearby tavern if you’re concerned.

The Tigers have added a 900-space garage on Montcalm Street north of the ballpark; this should alleviate the parking issue some but it will probably be expensive. Extremely convenient but there are better deals.

The popular Bucharest Grill that is known for shawarma (noted in the Comerica Park E-Guide) has shut down. (Booo.) I’ve read that it’s being a replaced by a Hawaiian joint.

And the Tigers have added a slew of new menu items, most of them featured in the newly re-branded Big Cat Court. Most notable: the fried bologna sandwich, the Brat Pop…yes, a brat on a stick; a Downtown Dog with house-smoked pulled pork, crispy onion straws, jalapenos, and sweet barbecue sauce; and the Grecian fries covered with cheddar cheese sauce, smoked pulled pork, jalapenos, crispy onion straws, and barbecue sauce. I don’t have the space to list them all, but they’re pretty interesting, so check out the full list here. Unfortunately, the bacon and deviled eggs and the chips and dip dog won’t be returning for 2016.

Click here to purchase the Comerica Park E-Guide…


U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

The Sox have some great new deals on tickets…like the “Ballpark Pass”, which enables smartphone holders tickets to 16 games in April and May for just $59. Very difficult to top a deal like that. The Sox also have some package deals, like the Abreu 4-pack, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs and a parking pass for just $79. It’s Upper Box seats though, so you won’t be able to roam around the lower concourse. And there will be Flash Sales, where e-mail newsletter subscribers will have an opportunity to buy $10 tickets while they last.

Haven’t heard anything about any new food items yet; I will update this as needed.

Click here to purchase the U.S. Cellular Field E-Guide…


Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees)

I’ve already discussed the Yankees’ new policy of not accepting print at home tickets; read more about that here.

There are a ton of new food items, like a Tape Measure cheesesteak (two-footer!), the G.O.A.T. Burger (Greatest of All Time): a bacon pastrami cheeseburger with G.O.A.T. sauce., and a Barnyard Wedding: Beef AND chicken (Kurt slaps head) with hash browns and cheddar on a toasted bun.

Whole bunch of other food items added to the Yankee Stadium menu, you can view the complete list here.

Click here to purchase the Yankee Stadium E-Guide…


Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays)

The Rays continue to offer more cool deals in their continuing effort to get fans to show up. This year they’re offering the “Big 22” plan, a discounted season ticket plan that gives fans tickets to the biggest games and the season ticket holder rewards. They also have special deals for each day of the week: free tickets for veterans on Mondays, $2 kids tickets on Tuesdays, $2 hot dogs on Wednesdays, discounted senior tickets on Thursday and discounted student tickets on Fridays. You can get into Tropicana Field very cheaply these days if you pick the right day.

There’s some new foodstuffs of course, most notably the addition of two outposts of local eateries. The Evan Longoria-owned Ducky’s will have crab cakes, turkey wraps and salads, and Pipo’s Café will have Cuban sandwiches, empanadas and fried plantains. All good. The concourse areas have been redone to make getting food easier.

Also added to the menu is a Cuban dog and an Ybor Dog with peccadillo sauce, and Burger Up has a new Triple B sandwich: hot roast beef, fried bologna, white American cheese, grilled onions, sliced tomato, apple jalapeno coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing on a Kaiser roll.

And there is a new Man vs. Food challenge at the Everglades Brewhouse: (stay with me here) a pound each of sliced brisket, pulled pork, BBQ chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, and French fries with four slices of Texas toast. Finish it and you get two free tickets with your indigestion.

Click here to purchase the Tropicana Field E-Guide…


Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays)

Following the departure of the CFL’s Argonauts from Rogers, the Blue Jays are putting a dirt infield in Rogers Centre; presumably natural grass is coming too but no word on that yet.

Not much else at the home of the Blue Jays, but know that with a division champion on the field that should be equally tough in 2016, demand for tickets will be higher than expected.

Click here to purchase the Rogers Centre E-Guide…


There you go…ballpark updates not yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides for the American League. For changes in National League ballparks click here.



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