CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the first time since 2019, Tribe fans were back in the ballpark.
Thousands of fans made their way to Progressive Field for opening day Monday and although the Cleveland Indians didn’t win the home opener, fans are excited for what’s to come this season.
“Real excited to get back into the ballpark and root the team on,” said fan, Patty Sprang.
“It was tough not coming to any games here at Progressive Field,” said fan, Scott Denniger. “We love coming here to have a good time with friends and family, but we understood it with the pandemic going around. We’re just happy to be back this year.”
There is a new normal at Progressive Field. Capacity is at about 30% and fans are spread out throughout the ballpark. Some of the seats are even zip tied so people can’t sit where they’re not supposed to. Masks are required unless you’re in your seat actively eating or drinking.
“Of course, it’s a little bit weird, but what is important is that it’s at least reminiscent of what times were like when we didn’t have to worry about COVID-19,” said fan, Chet Peters.
“It’s better than the alternative of not having any baseball here in Cleveland,” said Denniger. “So we’re just happy to be back and supporting our tribe.”
Last opening day, Kelly Kennedy interviewed long time tribe fan Edward Lachowski outside the gates. Lachowski has been to every single home opener since he was 14 years old, now he is 80.
“Oh, last year was horrible, but I got my arm through the gate so I’m gonna count it,” said Lachowski.
This is Lachowski’s 67th home opener. His first opening day was in 1955.
“Once I got to about 25 then you just wanna keep going you know so it was a lot of fun trying to talk the bosses into letting me go when I was working,” recalled Lachowski. “I hope to get you to interview me next year too, how about that?”
All the home games in April will be at 30% capacity, but the governor has said as the year continues and more people get vaccinated, we’ll likely see even more fans here in the stands at Progressive Field.