Opening Day Traditions – A Fan’s Perspective

Every year around this time, we’re blessed to hear those gracious words be spoken by a ceremonial individual. “Play ball!” While I’ve never been to an Opening Day, I’ve always cherished the times spent with family and friends when everyone gets off work or school to watch the baseball, the Indians in my case. I wanted to put together an article sharing everyone’s Opening Day traditions so that we can all once again share a moment related to baseball. I’ll go first, and then include some fan submissions. Hopefully, you read through some of them and realize we’re all not so different.

My Opening Day tradition is going to my friend Tyler’s house. Getting there around 10 am for morning beers and cigars, followed by the first pitch at 1:10 pm and watching every game until midnight when the west-coast games end. Every one of our friends calls off work and pleads with their bosses to get out early so we can all have a little taste of baseball again.

When I was younger, my tradition was begging my grade school teachers to play the game on TV in class, for some it took a lot of convincing, for others it was already on. But being able to forget about life for a little bit to watch some Indians baseball is what makes Opening Day one of my favorite days of the year.

Fan Submissions:

“Snapchatting you and Ryan Beardo after every single pitch and at bat” – AC Capucini

“In 2005 I got black out drunk and don’t remember innings 3-6 that year lol” – J.P.D.

“Every year my dad would wake me up and make me a giant breakfast, call me in sick to school, and we would take the rapids downtown. Stop at bars all along the way and then go to the stadium.” – T.J.

“I shave my beard completely off from growing it out all winter. My wife hates it and I just trimmed it really short last year and The Indians had a bad year. (not as bad as this one but you know)” – Wes Washburn

“My traditional movie *Major League Ricky Vaughn GIF* ” – Nick Walters

“I usually go to Thirsty Parrot and pregame. Went one year with my dad and got trashed, stumbled into progressive field” – Tyler DiMuzio

“Sadly I don’t have any traditions but I went one year when we played the Mariners and my dad got me a balloon hat…that’s all I got” – Sean Dick

“My husband has started taking my son to opening day the last couple of years. He was really disappointed to have to miss it.” -Veronica Gibson

“My opening day rituals have changed over the years. As a child, it just would be with my Dad. As a teenager, I really didn’t have one. Since about the age of 25, it’s been eating a bowl of Wheaties. Breakfast of Champions before the game.” – Vee Ratt

“A friend comes to my house and I make chili dogs and we eat Crackerjacks. My friend drinks a light beer and I have a full-sugar Coke. We are retired gals. And now I think I’m going to cry for a while.” – Deborah Core

“I have been working at a VFW and a MOOSE LODGE for years… we would have an Opening Day party… Footlong Hot Dogs, peanuts and Crackerjack!” – Dina Rodgers Battista

“I’m an ER nurse… Every year I put in for a vacation day for a random day (usually in April) and everyone then knows that must be bc Opening Day!! I love Opening day spending time outside with great friends and family! Tomorrow will be a sad day for me” – Suzie Fay

“I always get dressed up in my jersey and a Chief Wahoo hat.” – Owen Schnitzler

“I would wear my Indians white Jersey and Indians hat. Tomorrow I’ll wear one of my Indians shirts.” – Molly Edwards Ruic

“Wear Indians gear and make ballpark food for dinner (hot dogs, nachos)” Joanne Kopecky Freeman

“For 12 years, my drive home pre-home opener was always late night, giving the opportunity to get the first look at the stadium being lit up!!
Now for last two years, I’ve had the best seat in the house right across the street” – Michael Smith
, Bartended at Metropolitan 9

“Starting going to opening day at a young age with my father. He took me out of school every year on opening day. Nothing better than that!” – Laurie Levin

“We grill the hot dogs, have peanuts and Cracker Jacks with some beer! This is no matter the weather! One year, when the game was canceled, we just did it the next day! I tried to explain to my boss – BUT IT”S OPENING DAY! LOL” Teresa Neubig Nagle

“Wearing a Tribe shirt and making hot dogs for dinner.” – Mary Warmuth Vealey

“My wife and I have attended every one for the last 12 years. We take the day off work, don our tribe gear, and make the first of many 400 mile round trips from Buffalo NY. We are quarter season holders and go to as many of the games that we can typically about 15 of the 20. Hopefully, that first trip will be a bit later this season.” – Ronald Andula

“Always get up at midnight and put my yard flag out for opening day. I Will miss that!” – Jackie Schumacher

“Decked out in my gear with cracker jacks and popcorn and the tv up loud so I feel like I’m there.” – Michelle McCray Miller

“I always go to lids and buy a new Wahoo hat for the season on my way down to the home opener.” – Dave Foley

“My Mom and I have a tradition of watching The Reds Opening Day Parade and then the game. She makes Dorito Burgers Homemade Macaroni Salad and we have some kind of special dessert. I Miss Everyone and Pray Everyone stays safe and healthy during these times, hope to see Everyone soon” – Jodie Collier

“I have taken my daughters to 22 & 19 Indians open day’s respectively. Neither has missed since they’ve been alive. I have attended 54 consecutive, including Frank Robinson’s as the 1st African American Manager, in which he homered!” – Joe Race

“Watching the beginning of Major League on volume 50, while putting out my Chief Wahoo flag” – Berea Brett

“Used to miss school just to be at Opening Day! How I loved that old ballpark!” – Marie Therese

“My first opener was in 1965. Rocky Colavito returns. My favorite was on April 8, 1988. the first date for my wife and I” – Vincent Rudolph

“Just loving baseball and he feeling of renewal that spring brings. Trying to find any way possible to catch the game while at work has been a common theme for me” – Rod Bluhm

“Two words: Skipping Work” – McNeil

“We would go see the Cincinnati Reds play and stop for White Castle before we came home. This was a time when you couldn’t get White Castle just anywhere and I SO looked forward to going to a Reds game!” – Nancy L Marine

“Always have my Indians gear on and it’s the start of my love for baseball season! I’m still wearing my shirt tomorrow. Truly is a time that is sad, scary and hopefully, we come together as a country and we overcome! Watched 1995 game today just for my fix! #besafe #waitingforopeningday” – Kim Farster Spriggs

“I have been to every Opening Day at Jacobs/Progressive Field. Get all decked out in Indians gear, go downtown very early to have a couple pre-game drinks, and get into the park when it opens. There is nothing like Opening Day! The best one was the very first one- extra innings, walk-off single- perfect day” – Becky Leader

“I haven’t missed a home opener in at least 10 years. When opening day is at home, I’m always getting down there early in the morning before Wilbert’s opens up. Try to have a few in whatever parking lot I find. Hit Wilbert’s for hours and greet all the loyal fans that start trickling in. Walk across the street to the Jake an hour before first pitch to make sure I get in, pee, and have a cold beer ready to toast after the national anthem. Enjoy the game and go home happy, regardless of the outcome of the game. When opening day is away, I always have an opening day watch party all day watching all the games around MLB, always, of course, making sure the tribe game is the highlight of the day. Maybe 6-12 friends with a cooler right next to my recliner and all my tribe gear on. Either way, home or away, opening day is my favorite holiday. Sad day tomorrow.” – Tyler Shirkey

“Opening Day Traditions. We have a big party at Aunt Jean and Uncle Dan’s house. Beer and Jack Frost Donuts in the morning. Then grill up some hot dogs for the late morning then head down to the game.” – Nolan ‘Burger Boy’ Burger

“Love Opening Day, but I’m 0-3 in person. I’ll never forget my first Opening Day back in 2012 versus the Toronto Blue Jays. My dad and I didn’t wear sweatpants because we thought it would be a bit warmer in Cleveland, unfortunately, it was only 30-something degrees out. The worst part of the day was Chris Perez blowing a 4-1 lead in the 9th, and then having to sit out in the cold for and extra 7 innings of baseball. I will always hate Chris Perez, but I wouldn’t change that memory for the world.” -Drew Thirion

So, I realize that this was a very long list of quotes. However, I wanted to share some experiences with you all that show that though we may all be very distant from each other, we all have very similar traditions when it comes to the return and love for baseball. I am hopeful for an early June Opening Day. Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.

Thank you to everyone who commented and contributed to the article. Stay safe everyone and ROLL TRIBE!

Cheers, Jiggy

Author: Jiggy

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