Fans Celebrate Indians’ First Championship in 41 Years
CLEVELAND (AP) _ So this is what winning feels like.
Wide-eyed fans of the Cleveland Indians realized a long-awaited dream Friday night when the team clinched baseball’s American League Central title. The Indians beat Baltimore 3-2 to capture their first championship of any kind since making it to the 1954 World Series.
``This is just what this town needed,″ said Angie Taylor, who took a break from her job at a gift shop to watch the fireworks coming from Jacobs Field.
After the last out, the roar from the crowd could be heard several blocks away. Employees of restaurants and stores near the stadium stepped outside to watch the celebration. Some restaurant workers were still wearing aprons.
Police were scattered along streets crowded with cars. Some officers high-fived passengers sticking their hands out car windows.
At Mel’s Grill, across the street from the stadium, customers hugged, kissed and toasted with champagne.
``People are absolutely ecstatic,″ said Mel Rose, the owner. ``It’s been a long time.″
Baseball hasn’t been the same in Cleveland since the Indians lost to the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series. The Indians last were in a pennant race in 1959, then settled into a 35-year skid which saw them finish no better than fourth.
As he walked from Friday’s game, sporting an Indians cap and jacket, 56-year-old Gary Sagerman shook his head in wonderment.
``I was here when they won it (the World Series) in 1948,″ he said. ``I never thought I’d live to see this again.″