The Cleveland Indians continue to win the offseason.
The club announced Thursday that it is lowering prices for the coming season on top-selling concession items at Progressive Field, most notably hot dogs and beer. Dogs start at $3 and a 12-ounce beer (draft or can) will be $4. They're also cutting prices 25 percent on soda pop, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, pizza and bratwurst, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
What is this, 1997? Well, the Indians sure hope so. That was still the golden era at the Progressive Jake, which used to be a rockin' venue for Major League Baseball. As the Indians declined on the field, so did the image of team ownership in fans' eyes. After selling out the place for a decade, the Indians couldn't pay people to attend games.
But fans already have been gobbling up new tickets to the Indians, who say single-game sales are up 40 percent over 2012, and are double the sales from the season before. The Stew reported earlier this week that opening day sold out in six minutes! Fans probably are responding to Cleveland's front office spending money from its recent local TV deal on free agents such as Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, to name a couple, along with the addition of Terry Francona as manager. The AL Central might be a longshot in 2013, but the Tribe obviously is trying.
And the front office says it's lowering prices on food and beverages because that's what fans told them they want:
"We've asked our fans what they want most in their ballpark experience at Progressive Field," Indians president Mark Shapiro said in a news release, "and more affordable concessions prices routinely top the list. This is a way for us to let fans know we're listening to them and that we value them."
A baseball team listening to its fans. Oh, go on! There hasn't been this much optimism for the Indians in more than a decade. Only winning can ensure a return to the good old days in Cleveland, but the Indians seem to be paving the way by doing everything else that needs to be done as well.