July 26, 2014

Elyria
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Tribe fans experience an away game at home

CLEVELAND —  As Boston crept ahead on the scoreboard Friday night, Tribe fan Jim Waite wasn’t discouraged.
Waite, 42, of North Ridgeville, joined the party at Jacobs Field to watch the first game of the American League Championship Series being played in Boston — a game that didn’t play out as Waite and others hoped.

JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE
Indians fans Tim Slocum (left), 20, Mark Spillan, 19, and Chris Durr, 19, react to the Red Sox scoring in the fourth inning Friday during the ALCS Game 1 watch party at Jacobs Field.

Still, he wasn’t getting discouraged when Boston vaulted to a 5-1 lead.

“It’s early. There’s a lot of game left to play,” Waite said. “Actually, I think we’ve got them right where we want them.”
OK, so maybe that wasn’t so given the final score — 10-3 — but it certainly wasn’t for the lack of optimism that filled Jacobs Field, where the game was shown on the scoreboard via satellite.

Possibly the only one in the stadium more excited than Waite was 7-year-old Jacob Honaker of Elyria, who was picked by Indians officials to open the game.

“Play ball,” he yelled into the microphone, his feet firmly planted near home plate.

Minutes later, the party got off to a raucous start when Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner blasted a home run in the first inning.

“Hafner’s the man. He’s going to come through for us,” Avon Lake native Rich Columbaro, 38, shouted over the roaring fans.

The crowd was still screaming its approval 20 minutes later as C.C. Sabathia struck out two Boston batters.

“That’s our strength,” said Vermilion native Wayne Mosley, 53, who jumped out of his seat clapping. “Every year we’ve done well, we’ve had a solid bullpen — that played out in the Yankees series, too.”

Only two people in a sea of Indians garb stuck out a bit.

Eric Draper, 43, of Hudson, and his 11-year-old son, Sam, sat in the stands wearing Red Sox garb.

His wife and three other children sat nearby, proudly displaying Chief Wahoo shirts and laughing about the family rivalry.

Near the third base line, Waite was still not giving up hopes of a come-from-behind win, even as the Sox’s side of the scoreboard ticked into double digits.

“The nice thing here is that if we win, we can be part of that cheering crowd, you know? But if we lose, then I won’t have to be depressed all by myself,” he said.

“It’s going to be a fight, but we’re going to win this series,” said his wife, Eileen Waite, 44. “We just have to.”

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.