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Baltimore Adds Insult To Injury For Cleveland Fans

October 5, 1996

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Baltimore added insult to injury Saturday.

After losing its Browns football team to Baltimore, Cleveland saw the Indians’ 1996 World Series hopes shattered by the Baltimore Orioles.

And to make things even worse, it was Roberto Alomar who homered in the 12th inning as the Orioles won the AL playoff series with a 4-3 victory over the Indians.

``I think Baltimore will always be considered a major rival from now on, especially with them taking the Browns,″ said Alex Wojtyna, 18, of Cleveland. ``I think Indians fans underestimated them this year, and didn’t really expect them to win the playoffs.″

Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell moved the Browns of the National Football League to Baltimore this year, where they became the Baltimore Ravens.

For many fans, however, what hurt the most about the loss to Baltimore was the fact that Alomar turned out to be Baltimore’s star player Saturday.

Alomar, who will sit out five games next season for spitting at umpire John Hirschbeck in a Sept. 27 game against Toronto, was booed by Cleveland fans every time he came to the plate.

It was Alomar who tied Saturday’s game in the ninth with a two-out RBI single before he hit his game-winning homer. The fact that his suspension did not go into effect for the postseason touched off angry reactions from many baseball fans, including those in Cleveland.

``The biggest insult wasn’t losing to Baltimore, it was that it had to be Alomar,″ said Gina Sigmund, 28, of Bedford Heights. ``He shouldn’t even have been in the game. What he did was wrong.″

Marcia Sanders, 43, of Akron, agreed.

``It wasn’t so much that it was Baltimore, it was that Alomar had to hit the home run,″ she said. ``That put the knife in a little farther.″

Bob Allaire, 49, of Uniontown, said he also thought Alomar shouldn’t have been in the game, but he said the Indians just didn’t play well.

``I think all the guys pitching did a fine job, but Jose Mesa didn’t come through in the end,″ he said. ``But we’ll be back next year.″

That sentiment seemed to be the prevailing one as unhappy Indians fans slowly left Jacobs Field.

``I’m disappointed that they didn’t win, of course, but this doesn’t shake my faith in my team at all,″ said Maureen Driver, 54, of North Olmsted. ``I’ll be right here again next year to cheer them on.″

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