Final Countdown to Indians Home Opener

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CLEVELAND-- It's the moment Indians fans have been waiting for since last October. The Tribe will be back at home as the team holds their home opener Friday afternoon at Progressive Field.

One may be the loneliest number, but it's the only number Indians fans have on their mind right now: one day left until the Indians home opener.

"It's awesome. It's not even here, even though it's cold, the cut of the grass, the smell is just vibrating everywhere," said Chris Dagostino of Lakewood.

This is the day many Tribe fans have been waiting for, for nearly 180 days.

"I have a four-year-old. As soon as they lost last season he's been counting the minutes until they start again," said Susan Hunter of Westlake.

Fans weren't the only ones counting down the days until April 4; so to were the Indians who have been preparing for the home opener since October.

"It goes on for pretty much the entire off-season as soon as the season ends before we get going on Opening Day for next season," said Anne Keegan, assistant director of  communications for the Indians.

Thursday was tidy-up day at Progressive Field. Workers were busy setting up tents, repairing seats and even power washing different parts of the ballpark for Progressive Field's 20th Anniversary on Friday. As part of the festivities, the Indians would like you in your seats by 2:30 p.m.

"Mike Hargrove will throw out the first pitch to Sandy Alomar; so that will be a fun moment," Keegan said.

One of the biggest challenges this off-season for the Indians had nothing to do with what happened off the field, rather what happened on it.

Head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke said this winter was one of the biggest challenges he's faced in 20 years. The ground crew actually used the tarp as a blanket two weeks ago to get the playing surface ready for Friday.

"We had the tarp out. We had about a 30-ft. high bubble with heat and air going underneath it to get those areas dried out and thawed out as best we can," Koehnke said.

The field is ready and so are the fans, 40,000 plus. Friday's game sold out in 15 minutes, meaning downtown will be busy come Friday.

"A good day to avoid trying to find a parking space, pay those high prices for parking, go ahead hop on the RTA, take the blue line, red line, green line right down into Tower City, walk through the walkway and there you are," said Mary Shaffer, spokesperson for Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

Just in time to play ball!

"Go Tribe," said Hunter.

First pitch for Friday's game with the Twins is set for 3:05 p.m.

Remember some parking lots and garages will not be available for regular pass holders on Friday as a result of the home opener.

CLICK HERE for more on Friday's home opener and to send us your photos of home opener memories!

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