CLEVELAND — October baseball is back in Cleveland, and Indians fans are wasting no time getting ready for the dreaded New York Yankees.
Hundreds of fans attended a rain-soaked rally Monday outside Jacobs Field to celebrate the Indians’ first postseason appearance since 2001.
|JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE |
|Indians fan Preston Olson, 12, of Avon, gets a pie in the face during Monday’s rally outside Jacobs Field.|
Many fans huddled under umbrellas and rain ponchos, but others like Jonathan Cabil, just stood in the rain and smiled.
“This kind of weather doesn’t stop Cleveland fans,” the 47-year-old Cleveland resident said. “That shows how much support we have for our teams.”
Later he added, “We may be a little crazy.”
The city is looking for its first World Series championship since 1948 and, as always, the Yankees stand in the way.
The Indians were 0-6 against the Yankees during the regular season and lost to them last time they faced each other in the playoffs — the 1998 American League Championship Series.
Yankees teams tormented the Indians in the 1950s. The Indians finished second to New York five times in the days before the wild card, which meant the Indians were denied a trip to the World Series each time.
Maybe that’s why except for Cavaliers star LeBron James, who proudly wears a Yankees cap, the Bronx Bombers rank up with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the most hated team in town.
Even among the confident rally crowd, concerns about the Yankees lingered.
Robyn Wilson, 17, doesn’t remember the last time the Indians were in the playoffs, let alone past heartbreak against New York, yet she was already counting Cleveland out.
“We don’t have a chance against the Yankees,” she said.
However, Jim Stamper, dressed in a white tuxedo jacket with tails, baseball pants and cleats, said the high-priced lineup of the “Evil Empire” is no match for Cleveland.
“The Indians have a team this time and the pitching is the best in baseball,” said the 55-year-old, wearing glasses rimmed with red flashing lights.
The Indians play the Yankees at home Thursday and Friday, and hope for a championship is swelling in Cleveland again.
“Another one of our teams made it to the playoffs after so long,” Cabil said. “I keep telling people we’re going to make it — you’ve just got to be patient.”