A Parade, but No Title, for Indians
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Thousands of fans flooded downtown Cleveland today, intent on forgetting the toughest loss in the history of the Indians.
The crowds poured into Public Square and were treated to a parade and rally through downtown. They watched highlights of the season on a large video screen as they waited for the players and marching bands. They cheered wildly each time the Indians made a big hit.
The Indians were just two outs from clinching their first title since 1948. But they couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning and lost 3-2 in 11 innings to the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the World Series.
The parade also featured retiring Indians broadcaster Herb Score as the grand marshal. The fans, some with painted faces, were decked in the team’s red and blue colors as well as the the Chief Wahoo logo.
Julie Udivich of Akron brought her 14-year-old daughter, Ashley Short, and one of the girl’s friends. She said she let them miss school to attend.
``I had to. They’ve got Tribe fever,″ she said. ``We decided to celebrate with everyone because we may never see this again.″
The two girls wore their red socks pulled up high _ one of the team’s trademarks _ Indians jerseys and knit caps, each sporting one foam feather.
The fans were quick to forgive the Indians for the World Series setback.
``I’ll take losing in the seventh game of the World Series to losing 110 regular-season games like they used to,″ Rick Pinter said as he ducked into the Indians team store at Jacobs Field on Monday.
Ken Kitt stood outside the ballpark in howling winds and 30-degree temperatures, waiting to get Indians autographs as they packed up their gear until next spring.
``They’re heroes,″ Kitt said through chattering teeth, his hands deep in the pockets of his Indians jacket. ``There’s a lot of heart on this team.″
``Other players are going to want to come here when they see how close we came,″ Kitt said. ``There’s no big, black cloud hanging over us now.″
Huh? What about Indians history? The now-50-year wait for a title? Those 100-loss seasons? What about Edgar Renteria’s bases-loaded single that won Sunday’s game?
``All I know is what’s happened since 1994,″ during which time the Indians have won three division titles and two AL pennants, Kitt said. ``I can’t wait until next year.″