Swanson: Ballparks we miss: Cleveland Municipal Stadium

From Ryan Swanson at The National Pastime Museum on May 10, 2017:

Since I’m writing about Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, the home of the Indians from 1931 until 1993, I could reach—rather lazily—for the low-hanging fruit. The easy targets. I could start with the nickname: “The Mistake by the Lake.” Take that Cleveland. I could trot out actress Bette Davis’s quote upon first entering the ballpark: “What a dump.” Further, I might mention that the cavernous stadium, with seating for more than 80,000 fans, opened as the Great Depression gripped the United States. Fans stayed away in droves. And, embarrassingly, Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium began its tenure without having actually secured an MLB tenant. The Indians didn’t leave the confines of League Park for Cleveland Stadium until a year after the new stadium opened. What other new stadium has suffered such a slight?

There’s more fodder along these lines—more cheap shots to administer. The stadium, with wind gusts whipping off the nearby banks of Lake Erie, could be horrendously cold. Conversely, for several weeks during the summer, swarms of bugs would overwhelm the park. The stadium featured trough urinals in its men’s bathrooms, discussed in a Cleveland-based blog: “Fat guys, skinny guys, old guys, young guys. It didn’t matter. All were contributing to the constant yellow stream flowing toward a single drain and, ultimately, that great open sewer called Lake Erie.” Yeah, that’s pretty gross.

What’s more, the hulking stadium even missed its own Hollywood moment. Major League, starring Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes, repeatedly showed the sparse Indians attendance and the decrepit conditions of Municipal Stadium. Strangely though, the many Cleveland’s Stadium scenes were actually filmed in Milwaukee! Somehow Cleveland missed cashing in on its own lovable loserdom.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/stadiums-we-miss-least-theory-cleveland-municipal-stadium-1931-93

Originally published: May 10, 2017. Last Updated: May 10, 2017.