Cleveland: “It’s an unprecedented day in the history of the city,” the lady who was responsible for handing out NBA media passes said.

“You better leave hours early for the game,” the Uber driver said, adding: “There will be 100,000 people here tomorrow around this time.”

“This place will be packed, from morning till the time we close,” the waitress said, asking for a repeat order a third time before being disappointed and trudging back to behind the bar. Come Tuesday, she won’t have the luxury to do so.

Because come Tuesday, Cleveland’s grey skies will light up for a few hours in one of the most historic days in American sports history. The chill will be broken down by the warmth a 100,000 fans will bring to two sports arenas. The Q Arena will witness NBA’s season opener – the Cavaliers vs New York Knicks. 38 minutes after that will have started, the Cleveland Indians will start their game against Chicago Cubs – and not just any game – but Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series. 

And this is what makes it so special – the two matches will take place 320 metres from each other. 

Usain Bolt could go from game-to-game in 30 seconds.

“It’s great. We get to host the World Series and we get our rings on the same night at the same time. If we had a retractable roof it would be probably the loudest we ever heard, so it’s pretty special,” Cavs superstar LeBron James had said about the mega-sports-day.

But events don’t make history – achievements do. The Cavaliers’ first game will be preceded by the ring ceremony, an assertion of their might over the NBA – a reminder of how they broke Cleveland’s 52-year, 147-season curse (that’s how long the city waited for a championship in NBA, MLB or NFL). 

The Indians playing Game 1 is another shot at glory, an attempt to win their first championship since 1948. They are hosting the World Series for the first time in 116 years. It is also their first trip to the World Series since 1997.

It’s a remarkable day – a phenomenal sporting coincidence which sees two teams collectively take the city’s pride, pin it on their hearts and rewrite the history books like never before. 

America doesn’t really care about football/soccer – around half a million people watch the sport’s crowning jewel the Champions League – or cricket for that matter, a market the BCCI wants to desperately tap due to the Indian diaspora in the States. The Manchester Derby, a Test in Mumbai or Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid means little here.

However, anywhere between 15-20 million viewers are expected to tune-in on Tuesday, starting 7 PM local time. 

Downtown Cleveland is milling with activity. Broadcaster vans are being checked and merchandise stores are being stocked. Pavements are being cleaned and beer carts are being pulled into pubs smelling of heavy October brews. 

All these people, doing their routine jobs, will all come together in a few hours of sporting madness. And they will have one thing in common. They will be wearing a hat, or a t-shirt or a hoodie with the letter ‘C’. The C which denotes the Cavaliers, the C which says they support the Indians. 

C, for Cleveland.

Watch Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks live on Sony Six at 5.30 AM IST on 26th October. The writer is in Cleveland on the invitation of the National Basketball Association.