By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) – The greatest day in Cleveland sporting history began on Tuesday with Major League Baseball’s Indians hosting the World Series opener while the Cavaliers unveiled their NBA championship banner to open a new season.
For a city often mocked as “The Mistake by the Lake,” everything suddenly seemed perfect as the two teams’ giddy fans basked in their long overdue moment of sporting glory by celebrating what local media have dubbed “Sportsmas.”
Certainly the day took on a holiday vibe as Clevelanders filled pubs around the Indians’ Progressive Field and Cavaliers’ Quicken Loans Arena, which sit adjacent to each other and will be ground zero for a night of sporting drama.
Matt Messey, 33, of Parma Heights did not have a ticket for the World Series clash against the Chicago Cubs but was downtown to soak up the atmosphere just as did for the Cavs’ championship run a little over four months ago.
“It is going to be pretty crazy. Everyone is in a great mood,” Messey said.
He and his friends came to the outside bar near both stadiums at 3 p.m. ET and planned to spend a chilly evening watching both games on the bar’s outdoor screens.
Watching on television just wouldn’t do it for Jim Schulz, who grabbed one standing room ticket for $600.
Fans from both cities have said they will pay anything to watch their teams win a World Series and resale sites are putting that bravado to the test.
The average price for Game Three in Chicago was hovering around $6,000 on the resale market while a few prime seats at Wrigley Field seeking up to $100,000.
Even parking was at premium in Cleveland on Tuesday with lots asking as much as $100 to park your vehicle.
Having gone 68 years without a World Series win, Indians supporters had every right to be excited as they look to end their title drought at the expense of long-suffering Cubs fans who have endured 108 years without celebrating a Fall Classic.
After going 52 years without a major professional championship of any kind Cleveland is suddenly in a position to celebrate two in less than five months.
The Cavaliers got the party started when they raised their championship banner to the arena rafters before hosting the New York Knicks.
The Cubs are looking to end the longest title drought in major North American professional sports ― 108 years ― and erase the fabled “Billy Goat Curse,” that dates back to the 1945 World Series when a Chicago bar owner supposedly placed a hex on the club for kicking his foul-smelling pet goat out of Wrigley Field
Looking for every advantage they can get, some Indians fans walked goats around Progressive Field prior to the game in hopes of extending the team’s dry spell.
Cubs fan Rob Huff, his brother and some family friends drove from Michigan after buying tickets.
“This is what my family does, we spend money on the Cubs.” said Huff. “That is what it is to love a team.”
(Reporting by Kim Plamer; Additional reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)