CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Friday was a day we weren’t sure we’d see in 2020, opening day for the Cleveland Indians. Fans, of course were not allowed inside the stadium for the big game, but that didn’t stop the city from celebrating the surreal return of baseball.
“I hope to keep going and I just hope to be here again,” said longtime fan Edward Lachowski.
79-year-old Edward Lachowski has been to every single Indians’ opening day game since he was 14-years-old. If you are not good at math, that means this is his 66th opening day game, and although he couldn’t sit in the stands this year, he got as close as he could.
“I wanted to keep my streak going, you know, I don’t think anybody really has a long a streak as I have,” Lachowski said.
His first opening day game was back in 1955. Over the years, it’s become a family tradition. His daughter has been to about 30 home openers.
“Once you got to 20, 21, 25, I said, ‘I’ve got to keep going here, might as well’ and there were a lot of times it was very difficult,” Lachowski recalled. “When this park first opened up it was a difficult one my son had to get tickets from some scalper out here so we could get in. To this day he won’t tell me how much those tickets cost.”
It was an emotional day for Lachowski. It’s already tough for him in his wheelchair and to not be able to really take part in his family tradition, brought him close to tears.
“This is, this is awful,” Lachowski said. “I talked to my wife and I said I am sort of glad I’m at the back end. Rounding third and heading home.”
Others believe today was a bright day in what has been a pretty dark summer because baseball is back. Michael Kennedy has been at Progressive Field for the past 18 home openers. He made the drive from canton to watch the game at the nearby sports bars.
“It’s weird, but we’re so excited about opening day, the season starting that’s why we came,” Kennedy said.
Nearby bars were crowded, but as we observed, everyone seemed to be practicing social distancing with some people wearing masks. Taylor Olson said she knows going out is risky, but since she can’t be in the stands, the sports bars are the next best thing.
“Honestly I’ve went out for every opening day for the past five years so I couldn’t imagine any other way so I just wanted to make sure I came out did what I want to do, but make sure I am safe with my friends and my family, “Olson said.