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Ain’t afraid of no goat

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(Geoff Stellfox/The DePaulia)

(Geoff Stellfox/The DePaulia)

 

Moving away from a home city can be tough on sports fans. Fans no longer get to watch their home team play on local networks and must look to unconventional means in order to watch their team play. Yet, this isn’t a problem this year for Indians’ fans living in Chicago.

 “Of all the Cleveland teams, the Indians have been the one I’ve been following the longest,” DePaul student Seth Pae said. “When I was a kid, the first thing I really knew was Indians baseball. My dad was an Indians fan, my grandpa was an Indians fan and they passed that onto me.”

Pae is as big of an Indians fan as they come. When he was growing up, he would take his personal radio into bed with him to listen to the end of the game when the Indians played west coast teams.

“I’ve basically always been an Indians fan and the fact that I’m actually alive to see them play in a World Series is huge,” Pae said. “When the (Cavaliers) won this summer, (. . . it was) incredible that we finally ended our drought, but if the Indians ever won a World Series, I don’t know if I could put into words what that would mean to me.”

After moving to Chicago three years ago, Pae and other Indians’ fans in Chicago are caught in a battle between the team they grew up watching and the team of their current city.

48090_depaul_ads_250x250_The Cleveland Indians have struggled to win a championship since 1948 and they have the second-longest championship drought in baseball, behind only the Cubs. However, Cleveland fans have no remorse for the Cubs and Chicago fans. Before the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA finals this year, the city’s major league professional sports teams had a 52-year championship drought, something Chicago fans have not had to deal with because of the recent success of the Blackhawks and the Bulls.

“Cleveland is the butt of every joke,” DePaul senior Hope Herten said. “We’re just trying to prove that Cleveland is a great place and people from Cleveland are winners. Chicago (doesn’t) need a championship to make people stop making fun of them.”

Herten grew up in Cleveland, and she is sick of her city being a joke. She believes an Indians’ championship would be more than a win for a team; it would be a win for the people of Cleveland.

As a Cubs fan living in or around Wrigleyville, it’s sometimes hard to remember that not everyone in the neighborhood is a fan. For some, Wrigleyville is often a tough place to live in, especially when the Cubs
are winning.

“(Living in Wrigleyville) has painted a negative portrait of the Cubs for me,” Herten said. “Especially on game nights, people would be ringing my doorbell in the middle of the night just because they were drunk and my doorbell was there. I was kind of bitter about living in Wrigleyville (and . . .) I was getting tired of the crazy Cubs fans.”

Like Herten, Pae also lived in Wrigleyville when he first moved to the city. Pae could hear games from his window and ended up hating the Cubs’ rally song “Go Cubs Go.”

Wrigleyville and Cubs’ fans are wild. When Clevelanders move to Chicago, many are taken aback by the raucous nature of the area and its residents, which they believe are much different than the average Cleveland fan.

“I think a lot of Cubs fans act like this is their year,” DePaul sophomore and Indians’ fan Ellie Thorman said. “We’ve made it to championships before and we’ve never acted like we deserve it.”

Aside from the differences between the fans, Indians’ fans respect Cubs’ fans’ dedication to the team. Fandom is easy when a team is good, and both the Cubs and Indians have struggled. This year’s World Series is a huge moment for each team, so most interactions between the fans are respectful.

“My friends (and I) have been pretty good about giving each other space,” Pae said. “They know how die-hard of a Cleveland fan I am, and I know that they they’re die-hard (Cubs’ fans) as well. I want to keep a positive vibe.”

When there is heckling between fans, it’s mostly pretty lighthearted. However, when Herten wore her Indians gear for a dentist appointment in Wrigleyville last week, she wasn’t completely let off the hook.

“My dentist was like ‘are you sure you wanted to wear that today?’” Herten said. “‘I’m going to be drilling into your mouth.’”

After the appointment, the office posted a picture to their Facebook page of Herten with her mouth drooping open due to the Novocain with the caption “Converting our favorite Cleveland patient into a Cubbies fan.”

When a team goes half a century or, in the Cubs’ case, a full century without success, some fans attribute the lack of success to a curse. In fact, both the Cubs and the Indians have had a curse on the team. This has caused Indians’ fans like Pae to develop superstitions of their own.

“Before every game, I drink a cherry Dr. Pepper,” Pae said. “Game 1 against the Red Sox in the division series, someone was passing them out on the street. I drank it and they ended up winning that night. (After that) it became a playoff ritual.”

Pae is very meticulous about his rituals. He ran five miles before game five of the World Series, makes sure to wear his away jersey

when the team is out of town and he chugs a Guinness after every game his team wins.

“You could say I’m a little bit superstitious,” Pae said.

At the end of the series, one team will continue the familiar adage of “maybe next year”, but both Cleveland and Chicago fans alike are almost content just to watch their team make it as far as theWorldSeries.

“Cubs fans are loyal,” Pae said. “They’re almost as good of fans as Cleveland fans. I’ll give them that. It’s going to be a good series for both teams.”

 

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Ain’t afraid of no goat