CLEVELAND -- It is exactly 249 feet from the Left Field District gates at Progressive Field and the neighboring entrance to Quicken Loans Arena, and on Tuesday night, that stretch was a place unlike any other in professional sports history. Giddy fans celebrated their good fortune in that happy confluence,
CLEVELAND -- It is exactly 249 feet from the Left Field District gates at Progressive Field and the neighboring entrance to Quicken Loans Arena, and on Tuesday night, that stretch was a place unlike any other in professional sports history. Giddy fans celebrated their good fortune in that happy confluence, some of them walking into Game 1 of the 112th World Series between the Indians and the Cubs -- a 6-0 Tribe win -- and some walking into Opening Night and a ring ceremony for the Cavaliers.
For brothers Greg and Patrick Tripi of Cleveland, this was the ultimate place to be. As they walked into the Fall Classic wearing Indians caps and headed to Section 557 in the upper deck behind home plate, behind them was the same arena where they had attended each NBA Finals home game in June.
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"Best day in Cleveland," Patrick said. "It's Christmas morning."
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"This is the dream come true for us," Greg said. "This is Believeland!"
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Greg said that the Cavs beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals "was like a monkey off our back. It was like good luck and good vibes all year long. This is the year of Cleveland."
Added Patrick: "Instead of thinking what can go wrong, it's like, everything's going right. We just have the good positive vibes."
Indians owner Paul Dolan called Tuesday an "unprecedented day" for a city that, prior to the Cavs' victory, had not won a major sports title since 1964. The Indians last won a World Series in 1948.
"It's just an extraordinarily exciting time for the city of Cleveland and our greater community," Dolan said. "Cleveland is alive in ways that it probably never has been, because we're hosting a World Series Game 1 for the first time in the history of the franchise, and then add to that, across the plaza from us, the Cavaliers are opening their season with their ring ceremony. It's just an unprecedented day for the city of Cleveland, so the excitement levels are off the chart."
In fact, it was a two-Commissioner night at the World Series. After LeBron James' first Opening Night triple double led the Cavs to a 117-88 victory over the Knicks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was escorted over to Progressive Field to take in the rest of Game 1. Silver sat with Rob Manfred in the MLB Commissioner's suite.
The respect was mutual on both sides. At Quicken Loans Arena, James was conducting his postgame interview when he paused, saw that Indians reliever Andrew Miller was in the game to replace starter Corey Kluber, and said, "It's Miller time." And after the Cavs game ended, the live feed of the World Series was shown on the overhead scoreboard for fans who wanted to stay and watch.
Jimmy Gates and Janet Mays, Cavaliers season-ticket holders, posed for pictures, like so many other fans of both teams on the Quicken Loans Arena red carpet. They soaked in the rowdy confluence before finally entering the NBA gates.
"This is a wonderful occasion, it really is. Hollywood couldn't have scripted this any better," Gates said. "You're about 50 feet away from two teams, one that's won a championship and one that's about to win a championship. It doesn't get any better than this, to be a resident of the City of Champions."
"It's really exciting," Mays said. "I never thought I'd be around to see this day, but I'm so excited to be a part of this. I was hoping it would happen in my lifetime."
At both venues, there was a noticeable mix of team gear. Gigi Lewis of Cleveland walked into the left-field gates of Progressive Field wearing a Cavs knit cap to brace for a chilly wind, and an Indians top.
"It's an amazing time for Cleveland," Lewis said. "We're happy to have it."
John Rivera of Royalton, Ohio, was carrying a fiberglass pole with signs affixed thanking "King James" for four wins last June and the numbers 4-3-2-1, ready to be crossed off with each Indians victory. "Respect Cleveland," the sign read.
"I've been carrying it since 1 o'clock," Rivera said as fans posed with his handiwork. "I'm pretty proud. I'm happy to be here. It's an amazing day."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.