Last night's American League Wild Card game wasn't very "wild", as the Cleveland Indians were shutout, 4-0, by the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field. But, ideastream's David C. Barnett reports that, for some Cleveland fans, it was still a night to remember.
The stands were awash in a sea of red Cleveland jerseys as a sellout crowd of over 45,000 people cheered every time rookie pitcher Danny Salazar mowed down a Tampa batter in the first two innings of last night's game. But then, things started to fall apart as three runs got by the young right hander.
By contrast, Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb dominated Cleveland's hitters who weren't able to capitalize on several opportunities to tie the game. But, the fans stuck with the team --- most of them to the very last out, clapping along with the drummer John Adams who's been keeping the beat --- and the faith --- for 40 years.
When it was all over, Johnny Matson of Seven Hills sat down at the base of the statue that honors legendary Cleveland pitching ace Bob Feller, amazed that he had seen the Indian's first post season game in years.
JOHNNY MATSON: Hey, I didn't think they'd do anything this year. I'm happy to see them in the wild card tonight, you know, disappointed a bit, but happy that they made it
Above his head, a number of fans --- young and old --- paused to touch the Feller statue, communing for a moment with a long local baseball history. Nearby, Akron's Cindy Haught and several friends poured over a game schedule for next year that was handed out at the exit.
CINDY HAUGHT: I am very proud of what the Tribe has done this season. To go from losing 92 or 94 games --- whatever it was --- to winning as much as they've done, this year, I'm very proud.
Cleveland went from losing 94 games last year to winning 92, this season. And that's good enough for Pedro Quintana of South Euclid who sits on a marble bench and reflects on the game. He figures it's just one loss.
PEDRO QUINTANA: There will be another time. The highlight for me was that I had fun, I was with my son. I enjoyed the game.
The attention of local sports fans now turns to the other end of East Ninth street, where the 2 and 2 Cleveland Browns face the Buffalo Bills tonight at 8:25.