Web Extra: Home Opener Fan Frenzy

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The real start of spring, a Cleveland staple, an official holiday.

Whether it was their first time or their 40th year, thousands at Monday's Indians home opener were ready to party, ready to win and ready for a season of baseball.

Pedro Rodriguez painted his face and emblazoned "Fear the Chief" on his T-shirt for his ninth home opener.

"It's opening day, my first love is baseball, I love Cleveland," said Rodriguez, of Willoughby. "It's baseball, it's the number one city to watch baseball games in all the nation, and it's spring, summer's coming."

The Indians didn't score a win against the New York Yankees, but the stands were packed; the game sold out in six minutes in February.

Luke Waryck was at his first home opener, celebrating his 12th birthday.

"It's pretty cool," he said.

John Adams was at his nearly 40th home opener. He has season tickets and tries to make every game -- with his drum.

"There were no seats to bang in the bleachers. They were just redwood seats, every kid in Cleveland was a seat banger," Adams said, recalling how his tradition began. "So I got the drum and up the bleachers I went and banged on the drum."

Rick Kohls and his family were at the game for a sentimental reason. His brother-in-law, Gary Reep, of Ashland, passed away in October. Reep had season tickets for seats right behind home plate since 1994.

"Myself and my family and my in-laws are here in his name. We toasted him and said a prayer," said Kohls. "All the family is honoring him in his seats today."

Jim Stamper, of Fairview Park, has been to 41 home openers. When asked which game was most memorable, he couldn't pick just one.

"Every home opener is special," he said. "It doesn't matter. Win or lose, it's the home opener, and we are Indians fans forever."

While the Indians didn't take away a win Monday, most were optimistic for this season.

"We're going all the way, baby," said Lauren Aerni.