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Take 5 with the Cleveland Indians' Terry Francona

Imagine a world in which baseball didn’t exist; what might your occupation be? 

My occupation would be wishing there was baseball. I would be in big trouble if baseball wasn’t an option. After my career as a player (in the majors, 1981 to 1990) I went into real estate and, luckily, a few months into it I received a call to get into coaching. Good thing, because nobody was going to buy a house from me. 

Now back to reality: what do you like about living in downtown Cleveland?

I love downtown Cleveland as everything you need is right there. For me, I have always been a huge fan of being close to the ballpark so I can come and go whenever I want. I live only a half-mile away from Progressive Field and love every minute of it.

What makes Cleveland different from other cities you’ve lived and worked and have visited? 

Every city is different, but the thing I love the most about Cleveland and living in the Midwest is that it reminds me of home. Growing up less than two hours away in Pennsylvania, Cleveland represents the same style of living, pace, and people that I am comfortable with and certainly appreciate.

When friends, family, and colleagues from other parts of the country and world ask what is there to see and do in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, what do you say?

Simple answer: come and see Cleveland Indians baseball game. That’s all I know and do. Well, not quite; I’m a big NBA guy and a Cavs season ticket holder. 

Do you have a favorite fan-encounter story that you can share?

I am fortunate to encounter many great fans and people on a regular basis, but there are times when you make a special connection. For me, that was Nick Lenyo, a young man I met on the field pregame in 2013. Nick was going through cancer treatment and lost his leg. I was so touched to meet him as he seemed like such a great kid. I gave him my cell phone number and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. He used my tickets for the 2013 Wild Card game, and I was honored to present him the Cleveland Clinic Courage Award at the annual Sports Awards in 2014. He is now playing high school football at Huron High School, which is incredible. He is a special young man with such a positive attitude.

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