Students turn out across Kent to watch Cleveland’s World Series loss

The city of Kent — like most cities, townships, and villages in Northeast Ohio — congregated in masses to watch the finale of the 2016 World Series, in hopes the Cleveland Indians would end their 68-year title drought and send the Cubs back to Chicago.

The game tested their emotions all the way down to its bitter 8-7 end.

High Hopes

Bar 145 rumbled with sound as sophomore Mitch Wells watched the Cleveland Orchestra perform the national anthem.

“We won three games already,” Wells said. “Why not another one?”

25-year-old John Henderson had some interesting plans if Cleveland would’ve won Wednesday night.

“I swear, if the Indians win tonight,” Henderson said, “I’m getting a tattoo that says ‘Cleveland’ on my calf.”

An hour before the game, murmurs about Game 7 turned into loud and excited conversations from both Cubs and Indians fans. At Ray’s Place in downtown Kent, it was virtually impossible to spot someone not wearing Indians gear. Even the workers donned the red and blue of Cleveland’s ball club.

Mike Mordas, from Ravenna, was one of the many patrons hoping for an Indian’s victory at the bar.  Mordas is a self-described lifelong Tribe fan who cheered the Indians back in the 1980’s at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, even when most didn’t: The Indians were one of the worst teams in the league during that decade.

“If the Cubs win tonight, it goes into another list of heartbreaks,” Mordas said, referencing classic moments of Cleveland failure. “It goes in with The Drive, The Fumble, Jose Mesa. All of that is one more weight in the truck.”

Chicago’s Dexter Fowler quickly dashed Cleveland’s spirits with a leadoff solo home run to deep centerfield. That set the tone for the audience at Ray’s. The hit painted discontent on the fans’ faces, but that’s baseball. Next inning provides new opportunities. And that’s exactly what happened when designated hitter Carlos Santana scored outfielder Coco Crisp from first base in the bottom on the third inning. Ray’s erupted in cheers, hoots and hollers.

The tide of good vibes was short-lived as the Cubs went back on top 4-1 heading into the the fifth inning.

All quiet on the campus front — for a short while

At Quaker Steak and Lube in the Kent State Student Center later in the night, the scene was dismal and quiet. It became quieter when Anthony Rizzo scored Kris Bryant on a double to make the score a 5-1 Cubs advantage. Students watching the game took breaks between chicken wings to shout expletives at the Indians’ efforts. The Indians left runners on base in scoring position, botched double play opportunities, and strikeouts led to the dim mood in the even dimmer lighting of the restraint.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Olson Hall lounge was jam-packed with students hoping to see a miracle. Most of these students watched the Indians through the entirety of the postseason. The Indians’ unforeseen sweep of the Red Sox. Their unlikely overcoming of a powerful Blue Jays team, and all three of Cleveland’s exiting World Series victories leading up to the dreaded game seven. But those victories don’t mean anything without sealing the deal and it was looking like the Indians were caught with their tail between their legs yet again.

Then, things got interesting. Brandon Guyer knocked in a run making the score 6-4, and with two outs, Rajai Davis defines all expectations and crushed a two-run home run and

The 20-some students in the lounge went absolutely nuts. Students yelled and hugged each other. Others sat with their mouths open in disbelief.

The audience in the lounge quickly doubled in size. With prime pitching from both clubs, the ninth inning went scoreless and led to extra innings in a Game 7 of the World Series. A rain delay allowed students to wrap their heads around what just happened.

The Back Nine

A 10th inning rally by the Cubs makes the score 8-7. The Indians try to climb back up the mountain, to a summit of a walk off World Series victory, but to no avail. The Cubs win, 8-6.

The students hang their heads, thinking of the sweet satisfaction of what could have been. The Cubs end their 108-year streak, extending the Indians’ championship drought to 69 years.

Amanda Levine, a freshman journalism major from Brooklyn, New York, said she wasn’t raised an Indians fan. She watched Cleveland’s championship run the whole way through, though, because it was fun to watch.

And it was. Cleveland’s title run stalled in Game 7, but students went home Wednesday night hopeful the Tribe will end their own drought next season.

Jarrett Theberge and Nicholas Hunter are General Assignment Reporters. Contact them at [email protected] and [email protected].