"This city's really kind of reinventing itself," Indians first baseman Nick Swisher said. "Obviously we've had some glory years in the past, but we're in the now and things look on the up and up for everybody. From the Browns to the Cavs to the Tribe, it seems like everyone's really stepped their games up.
"And, obviously, King James is back in the building. There's a lot of excitement. I can't wait to meet him. I'm just so stoked he's coming back. A guy like that, with the talent he has, singlehandedly that guy can win you a championship, for sure.
"Just in general, Cleveland sports are really pushing themselves in the right direction, and we're putting ourselves back on the map."
In the middle of the second inning, the Indians displayed James' image on the scoreboard behind the left-field bleachers. As the words "Welcome Home" appeared on the screen, the fans inside the ballpark erupted in loud cheers.
At the Cavs' Quicken Loans Arena, which sits directly across a plaza from Progressive Field, fans were gathering to celebrate James' return on Friday afternoon. Inside the Tribe's home stadium, Indians manager Terry Francona also expressed excitement over what James' decision could mean for the city and Northeast Ohio.
"I haven't been here as long as you guys," Francona said, "but I've been here long enough to care about Cleveland. First and foremost is what we're doing here with the Indians. That's my job. As far as being a person, I'm thrilled, because it's going to bring a lot of happiness and a lot of joy to basketball fans.
"I think it's good for the city, bringing in revenue and extra excitement to the downtown area. I think it's awesome. For the basketball fan in me, I'm really excited."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.