CHICAGO -- There have been plenty of playoff games and championships won by Chicago sports teams in last 30 years, but while celebrations for the White Sox, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks were festive, the expected crowd at Wrigley Field tonight for Game 3 of the World Series is something altogether different.
With Chicago’s north-side team hosting a World Series game for the first time since 1945, the Cleveland Indians are expecting a raucous atmosphere at Wrigley Field, where they look to bounce back from a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Cubs and look to retake a lead in the Fall Classic.
“It's going to be unbelievable,” Indians infielder/designated hitter Mike Napoli said. “Going into this, watching the National League play, I wanted to play against the Cubs because I knew the atmosphere would be unbelievable. Early in my career, I got to come here and just so much history. It's a park you want to come to and play.
“I watched when they clinched to go to the World Series and how crazy it was and seeing the fans in the streets where they had to have police escorts. You could just see the crowd just part ways, so it's going to be fun. It's something that I wanted to be a part of, and thought that it would be an unbelievable World Series.”
Although Wrigley Field and surrounding rooftops will be filled with more than 41,000 Cubs-loving fans tonight, Napoli plans on using the energy to his advantage and carry over the success he had at the plate when he smacked two hits in Game 2 into tonight’s matchup against Kyle Hendricks.
“We played in some pretty crazy places getting to this point, so, for me personally, I love it,” Napoli said. “It's just something that gets you going, even though you're in a visiting park. But how loud they get, it's to the point where you can't even think, and it's just crazy. It's just a cool moment to take in and be a part of. I know it's going to be crazy, and I'm looking forward to it.”
The Indians enter tonight’s game after just their second loss of the postseason, but following a spirited workout at Wrigley Field Thursday, Napoli feels the team is ready to respond and retake a lead in the World Series.
“We were able to bounce back after we lost to Toronto,” Napoli said. “We knew coming into this it wasn't going to be -- we weren't just going to steamroll the Cubs. We have a lot of respect for them. They're a great ball club. They won over 100 games, so we knew it was going to be a tough series. We knew it was going to be a good one, and we'll see what we're made of.
“We're going to worry about tomorrow, and that's it. Then, whatever happens, you move on and whatever task you have to do, you follow it. It's a best-of-five series now. You've got to win three games before they do. They've got great players, great pitching staff. So do we. I think we match up well, and think it's going to be fun.”