By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
and Charles Grove
“If not tonight, then tomorrow,” said Ted McAllen of Canfield, as things began to go sour for the Indians when the Chicago Cubs went up 7-0 in the third inning of Game 6 of the World Series.
The outfielders made a “horrible mistake” in the first inning letting a fly ball drop between them, said McAllen, but he still has hope.
“I still think the Indians will win the World Series, but the pitching has to get better and our bats have to get going,” said McAllen, watching the game at Buffalo Wild Wings in Southern Park Mall in Boardman.
That was the general tone of Indians fans watching the game at several Valley establishments.
If nerves were high for Game 2, it was difficult to describe them in Cleveland as the Fall Classic returned.
The umber of people around Progressive Field dwarfed the turnout for the first two games as everyone wanted to be a part of the party if the Indians clinched.
“It’s surreal,” Tim Abraham of Canfield said from inside Progessive Field. “It’s like the end of times outside. There’s so many people here.”
Expectations of another Cleveland collapse is near critical mass for some fans.
“I want to believe, but I’m preparing myself for the worst,” Evan Reese of Canfield said. “I think this is the type of team that could win it all since they only have to win one game out of two at home, but it’s very stressful right now.”
Abraham was especially nervous after the Game 5 loss because he feels the longer the Series goes, the more it favors the Cubs.
“The Cubs are a seriously superior team,” Abraham said. “And with sample sizes, the longer the Series goes, the better team is more likely to win. I wanted them to finish it out [Sunday] because this is a Series [the Indians] really should lose.”
“Maybe not tonight, but we have good pitching for Wednesday if we don’t come back,” said Walt Ferraro of Austintown, after he watched the Cubs take a 3-0 lead in the first inning while sipping a beer at the Magic Tree Pub and Eatery in Boardman.
Gary Carlile of Poland, who likes the Indians for their youth and vitality and aggressiveness, was not ready to give up after two innings. “The Tribe will prevail,” he said.
At the start of the game at 8 p.m., fans were optimistic about the Indians’ chances.
Lew Devlin of Youngstown, who has been a Tribe fan all his life, predicted Cleveland would win 5-0.
“We got the pitching; and if we get the bats going, the Indians are going to do it,” said Devlin, watching the game at the V2 Wine Bar and Trattoria in downtown Youngstown.
“Go Tribe,” said Patty Struharik, sitting at V2 with her husband, Bob, and sister, Rita Vrabel, and her husband, Walt Vrabel of Campbell.
“I think the Indians have a great chance to win, but every pitch is significant,” said Walt, who played defensive tackle on the 1972 Kent State University football team that won the Mid-American Conference.
“The Indians [are] a team of destiny,” said Rita.
For Mike Damiano of Youngstown, winning the World Series has added significance.
“This is about my father, Sam, who passed away at age 84,” Damiano said.
Damiano said that when he was young, he and his father often went to Indians games together. Then Mike took his son to Indians games.
“Our family lived and bled Cleveland Indians. When Dad got older, I’d come home from work and say, ‘There’s a double-header. He’d say, ‘Pick me up,’” Mike said.
While the Indians do get to play in their home ballpark, Abraham feels that puts more pressure on the Indians to close out the Series.
“I don’t think [playing at home] makes much of a difference,” Abraham said. “I’m a typical Indians fan, so I’m not very confident. You can’t be that confident after 50 years of Cleveland sports.”
Reese was at Progressive Field for the Game 2 loss and was there again for the watch party for Game 5, both losses. So Reese is staying in the Mahoning Valley for the rest of the series.
“I’m too anxious,” Reese said prior to the game. “I’m trying to avoid watching the start right now. We’re going to go to a restaurant for a few innings and then I’ll come back home to watch the rest.”