CLEVELAND (AP) _ A seven-run inning can kill a lot of spirit.
A hardy crowd at Jacobs Field suddenly felt the blast of a wind which made it feel like 23 degrees Tuesday night when the Florida Marlins went on a ninth-inning tear to beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the World Series.
The Marlins’ 14-11 victory gave them a 2-1 edge in the series, which resumes tonight at the Jake.
``We’re not frozen fish yet,″ said Debbie Uher, one of the few Florida fans in the crowd of nearly 45,000.
For a time during this night better suited for watching football than baseball, the Indians revived memories of the days when fans howled for the Cleveland Browns and barked at the opposition.
Bundled in winter jackets, ear muffs, scarves and blankets, Indians fans hunkered down against the cold and cheered for their club like they were facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, not the Florida Marlins.
Many even wore the Browns jackets and knit hats that had been sitting in their closets for two years.
``This is warm. There’s nothing colder than the Dawg Pound in December,″ said Bonnie Lierenz, a veteran of the end zone cheering section at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium that was home to diehard Browns fans until the team moved to Baltimore in 1995. A new Browns team is due to start playing in Cleveland in 1999.
``This is pretty close to football atmosphere,″ fellow Dawg Pound vet Scott Mingus said. ``It’s a little more civilized. The crowd’s not throwing things.″
They never did. Once the Marlins broke the game open with seven runs in the ninth inning, the Jake crowd quickly dwindled down to a few thousand of the truly rabid fans. Suddenly the Indians’ new home looked like their old stadium, which had 80,000 seats and often less than 10,000 fans.
``I think it was a big win for us because this is the loudest crowd I’ve ever played in front of,″ Florida outfielder Gary Sheffield said. ``I couldn’t even hear myself think.″