CHICAGO -- From Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium to Dodger Stadium and Tiger Stadium, Cleveland Indians skipper Terry Francona has played or managed in some of the great “cathedrals” of baseball during his career.
And tonight, he will manage a World Series game at one of the most revered parks in all of sport, Wrigley Field, when the Indians take on the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the Fall Classic.
“To me, it's how baseball is supposed to be,” said Francona, who played for the Cubs during the 1986 season. “You know, when you go into Fenway or Wrigley, you see all the new stadiums, and I think baseball has done a really good job of having the atmosphere of the older ballparks, and again, with some of the new amenities.
“When I was here, they didn't have the new clubhouse, so it was fun being at the ballpark until it was time to shower or go to the bathroom or something. Now, I guess it's really nice over there, but I like the feel of the older ballparks. I think it's the way baseball's supposed to be. I love it.”
From the Bulls’ pair of three-peats during the 1990s to the Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015, Chicago has seen its fair share of championship celebrations, but the Indians expect the crowd at Wrigley Field for Game 3 of the World Series to be altogether different.
With Chicago’s north-siders hosting a World Series game for the first time since 1945, the Indians are readying for a raucous atmosphere at Wrigley Field, where they look to bounce back from a 5-1 loss in Game 2.
“I think it will be a tremendous atmosphere,” Francona said. “I thought the one in Cleveland was too. I think it's good for baseball. I don't think there's going to be a ton of people cheering for us, but then, that's where it comes in the feeling in the clubhouse because it is going to be us against the world, but us is pretty good. We have a good feeling. Everybody in there protects everybody else and takes care of everybody else.”
Because of the close-knit nature of the Indians’ clubhouse, Francona believes the team will respond well after dropping just their second game of the postseason on Wednesday night.
“We're fine,” Francona said. “I mean, winning’s hard, especially against these guys. Losing a game is not going to change who we are or my feelings about them. I love going through this with those guys, even on tough nights.
“We do this together. When they don't necessarily play their best game, it's not time to point a finger at somebody or something. Shoot, I'll share in the struggles with them because it's us together.”