One of the advantages of being the only ItsPronouncedLajaway writer with a little kid is that I got to attend a sneak preview of the Indians new Kids’ Clubhouse yesterday afternoon. It sounds incredibly dorky to say that something, anything–an amusement park, a beer garden, Jack Nicholson’s bedroom–is 10,000 square feet of fun, but we had fun and the Clubhouse is 10,000 square feet, so you do the math.

It officially opens this Sunday, May 6, so it was nice to be there with a small group of kids and parents who aren’t ticked off that the Indians are getting whipped by the Rangers.  (Maybe that won’t happen, but I worry.)

They’ve wisely divided it into the two sections: the Rookie Suite, for kids 6 and under that has arts and crafts, tons of Step 2 climbing stuff, and a huge rock wall, and the section for kids 7 and up, which has a little wiffle ball field, speed pitch, batting cage, slide tunnel, PlayStation, and place where you can make your own baseball card. This is all located on the mezzanine level, where the Indians management  took out seven suites. The younger kids’ area is indoors, but you can either half-pay attention to your kid and watch the game through the sliding glass doors or go out and watch the game from the balcony seats and just glance in once in a while to ensure that your child hasn’t caused/been the victim of major damage.  The older kids’ section is under the mezzanine roof, so you’re “outside” but covered and can easily watch the game while your kid is doing some of the activities. Both of these areas will be welcome during a rain delay.

People want to bring their children to baseball games.  But little kids are fidget machines with the attention span of a gnat, so having a place for them to play and burn off some steam is great for parents/grandparents/etc. as well as the people who would otherwise end up sitting next to said fidget machine.  All in all, this is win-win for everybody at the ballpark.

Plus, no other MLB team has anything to compare to this. They have play areas, but they’re generally located off the beaten path. What I like about this new set-up is that parents won’t have to play odds or evens to see who gets stuck taking the kid(s) to the play area and who gets to stay and watch the game. With this set-up, you both can. Putting my natural cynicism aside, it’s awesome.

Some photos so you can see it for yourself:

Kids Clubhouse sign

The obligatory photo of the sign










Ketchup in the speed pitch

Ketchup in the speed pitch cage. He has no location.












The kid in the speed pitch

My kid in the speed pitch. Gotta work on her follow-through, but she finesses the ball nicely.











baseball playstation

We don't have a playstation. After seeing the graphics on the baseball game, I want one desperately.











kids batting cage

They had a ton of staff around to help the kids. Nice. She's gotta get the bat off her shoulder. (They were also having trouble with the speed for the little kids--they had to hit it on the bounce. Hopefully they'll get that worked out.)












slide tunnel

The difference between a slide tunnel and a slip-n-slide become readily apparent.











Rainbow mural in little kids section. The wall on the far left is a chalkboard so kids can draw on the wall. Nice touch.











kids' rock wall

Rock wall in the little kids area. They won't let adults try. I asked.











rookie area

Tons of stuff for tiny kids.





















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