Diehard Indians baseball fans hit the gates for home opener

Opening Day Progressive Field crowd runs the gamut

CLEVELAND - Cleveland Indians baseball fans eagerly showed up early Monday due to a well-timed warm weather sky at Progressive Field. Layers of clothing seemed to be in order, as were layers of the crowd's age gaps. Everyone was ready for an Indians vs. Yankees opening day matchup.

"My first game was in 1959 when I was 8 years old," said Jim Stamper from Fairview Park. You'd have to live under a rock out-of-state to have not ever seen Stamper's famous helmet with Chief Wahoo attached to it on just about any past televised game, or in person over the years.

"This is my 42nd straight home opener, never missed a one," added Stamper.

With the day's ceremonial opening pitch actually being a group of major leaguer father-son combos, father and son fan combos shared the day with each other, as well.

"We're excited," said Michael Leaventon. He brought his son Andrew for his first home opening game. "Yeah, it's really awesome. We've been looking forward to this day together."

When the stadium whistle blew at exactly 2 p.m. Monday, fans quickly flipped each gate's turnstiles at Gate A heading for their seats.

Fans and friends Adam Schroeder and Michael Rebaski were the the first to find their near-vertical seats high near the top row of what's usually termed the 'nose bleed seat section' just two rows short of staring at Ontario Avenue behind them.

"We're just excited, if there's a rain delay, we're covered," said Rebaski. When asked if that was the plan, Schroeder mused, "No, we're just cheap."

Cheap, or not, no one was shorted of fun at the first home Indians game against the Yankees.

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