CHICAGO -- There is nothing as loud as a crowd of fans at fever pitch to support their team. Nothing except for the silence that comes with success on the road in professional sports.
The Cleveland Indians have played well on the road throughout the postseason, winning five of their six games away from Progressive Field, including two straight at famed Wrigley Field on the north side of Chicago.
And in doing so, the Indians have found ways to take the home crowds out of the equation, which is what happened when they jumped on the Chicago Cubs early in Game 4 of the 2016 World Series and rode that momentum to a 7-2 win, which put them one victory away from their first championship since 1948.
“I think about just having fun, embracing every, single moment, embracing the fans here,” Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “They’ve got good fans, and they’re loud. I’m embracing those moments because you never know what’s going to happen.
“You never know when I’m going to be back. Me and Kipnis are just doing the exact same thing. He has fun, I have fun. That’s why I’m so happy that he came through for us and helped us win.”
Prior to Game 4, Cubs fans listened to a rousing speech along with the typical “Play Ball” command, but by the end of the night, many of the Chicago faithful were talking about how the team had returned to its “Lovable Loser” status because the quest to break a 108-year World Series drought was about to end short of the goal once again.
“They were loud at the very beginning, and I think that speech helped out a lot,” outfielder Coco Crisp said. “They’re really loud, and obviously, when you put some crooked numbers up there, it kind of dims the atmosphere a little bit when you’re at an away ballpark, which is always nice for the visiting team. You take a little bit of pride in quieting the crowd, for sure.”
Although Cubs fans may not feel good about the fact that their team has lost two straight home games, Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall is not taking anything for granted heading into tonight’s Game 5 matchup.
“They’ll have it back up,” Chisenhall said. “I know it was loud in the first few innings. There’s a lot of give-and-take with momentum. We had a little momentum there going toward the later innings. It’s never fun playing on the road. This is a pretty hostile environment to say the least. I think everybody was still in their seats in the ninth inning down a couple runs. We know what kind of fans they are and they’ll definitely be out.”
And should Chisenhall be right about the fans finding a way to crank up the intensity once again, Game 5 starter Trevor Bauer looks forward to quieting them one final time this season.
“The best part of it is hearing them all leave silent,” Bauer said. “There’s a great crowd here. There have been great crowds on the road during all the playoffs. Being able to overcome that and win is a very rewarding feeling.”