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Indians Still Heroes to Cleveland

October 28, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Forget about the toughest loss in Cleveland Indians’ history.

Cleveland today celebrated the team and their improbable postseason run with a parade and rally through downtown. Cleveland lost the World Series to the Florida Marlins, but not until the 11th inning of the final game.

The Indians were just two outs away from clinching their first title since 1948 but couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning and lost 3-2.

Thousands of people poured into Public Square today and watched highlights of the season on a large video screen as they waited for the parade of players and marching bands to reach them. They cheered wildly each time the Indians made a big hit.

The parade also featured retiring Indians broadcaster Herb Score as the grand marshal. Red and blue and the Indians Chief Wahoo logo were prominent on fans clothing and even painted faces.

Julie Udivich of Akron brought her 14-year-old daughter, Ashley Short, and one of the girl’s friends. She said she let them miss school to attend.

``I had to. They’ve got Tribe fever,″ she said. ``We decided to celebrate with everyone because we may never see this again.″

The two girls wore their red socks pulled up high _ one of the team’s trademarks _ Indians jerseys and Indians knit caps, each sporting one foam feather.

While disappointed in the World Series loss Sunday, fans quickly forgave the Indians and looked on the bright side.

``I’ll take losing in the seventh game of the World Series to losing 110 regular season games like they used to,″ Rick Pinter said as he ducked into the Indians team store at Jacobs Field on Monday.

Ken Kitt stood outside the ballpark in howling winds and 30-degree temperatures, waiting to get Indians autographs as they packed up their gear until next spring.

``They’re heroes,″ Kitt said through chattering teeth, his hands deep in the pockets of his Indians jacket. ``There’s a lot of heart on this team.″

``Other players are going to want to come here when they see how close we came,″ Kitt said. ``There’s no big, black cloud hanging over us now.″

Huh? What about Indians history? The now-50-year wait for a title? Those 100-loss seasons? What about Edgar Renteria’s bases-loaded single that won Sunday’s game?

``All I know is what’s happened since 1994,″ during which time the Indians have won three division titles and two AL pennants, Kitt said. ``I can’t wait until next year.″

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