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Indians, Browns Boost Local Spirits


Playoff fever surged as the Indians piled up win after win to close the regular season. Now it’s a do-or-die matchup tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field for the American League Wild Card spot. Meanwhile the Browns, after winning two straight, hope to extend the streak tomorrow night at FirstEnergy Stadium against Buffalo. When local teams are winning, it just feels different around here. Berea Browns backers president Paul Latkovic feels it:

LATKOVIC: It's just a good vibe for Cleveland. Everybody's enjoying it for once. We're not the laughing stock no more.

That's one way of looking at it. Mark Shapiro, president of the Indians, sees it this way:

SHAPIRO: When you get moments like this you just try to enjoy it. This is my 22nd season with the Indians. I've been through nine playoffs including back in '07 that doesn't seem that long ago to be when we were a game away from the world series. I think when you're in this situation, the one thing you feel is a sense of urgency in terms of we don't want to miss this opportunity because we don't know how frequent they are. You've got to both savor it and you've go to take advantage of it.

Downtown Cleveland Alliance leader Joe Marinucci says the wild card game brings both visibility and business.

MARINUCCI--we've got a slew of national media here in town, they're in hotel rooms. We've got the visiting team and the entourage following that team is here. When you think of all the restaurant activity that's occurring directly by the attendees, that's going to be significant,. Think of all the sports bars throughout the region that will be jammed tonight as a result of watching this game. That's the kind of activity that resonates not only downtown but throughout the region.

And Shapiro says the teams are delivering something that money can't buy.

SHAPIRO: In moments like this, the power of sports to me is the ability to unify the community. I really get that sense. This is one of those special communities where I chose to live and raise my family and I believe in the city and I believe there's a reason..and there are moments in time when people feel that pride and you can just feel it well up.

The Indians won ten straight to close out the season, and caller Sherry from Brecksville thinks the teams' success brought her family closer together:

Sherry: I can see this bonding continuing in our family unit and how strong and significant that is. It's like developing a culture of all being on the same page. It's just a really great feeling and now I'm really looking forward to tonight.

Shapiro: Everybody has great reason to feel proud of living here and it shouldn't be a secret. It should be well known and this is a stage to show the rest of the country that Cleveland is a special place.

I'm Paul Cox, 90.3