Out in Cleveland …

We go behind enemy lines this morning to see what they’re writing about in Cleveland before Game 3.

Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto took another look at Trot Nixon’s heroics in Game 2:

Understand that the left-handed Nixon is a career .219 batter against lefties. Understand that Wedge had a very viable option in Jason Michaels on the bench, the right-hander being a career .300 hitter against lefties. Understand that inside I was screaming, “Hit Michaels for Nixon!”

Finally, understand that Nixon’s last regular-season RBI was July 29, that he’s playing with a balky back and some other annoying symptoms that come with age. Understand that there are just some things you can’t understand . . .

Like Nixon delivering the base hit.

Like the Indians scoring seven times that 11th inning, including a three-run homer from Franklin Gutierrez. He has been in such a slump, you could put a volleyball on a batting tee and he wouldn’t hit it. Before the homer, he was 2-for-19 in the playoffs with eight strikeouts.

Paul Hoynes writes about a quiet Fenway Park in the early morning hours on Sunday:

Saturday night, the Indians scored seven runs in the 11th inning to even the AL Championship Series against Boston at one victory apiece. Fenway Park, baseball’s raucous green jewel, was so quiet that when Franklin Gutierrez ended the seven-run rally with a three-run homer, the voice of Indians play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton, calling the homer, could be heard booming out of the broadcast booth and carrying all the way to the far end of the open-windowed press box.

Hamilton has a good set of lungs, but usually it’s hard to hear yourself think in the postseason at Fenway.

Mike McIntyre looks at the Indians hoping to get back in the World Series for the first time since 1995.

We can see the World Series down the road again. It’s not far now.

The town is marching in lock step, awakened by the prospect of winning baseball and by the palpable reality that the Indians might fulfill the hopes that the Cavaliers raised this year for a championship – finally, a championship – in Cleveland.

We don’t need handheld GPS devices to guide us. We carry little gear – a television (high-def preferred), an old-fashioned radio, maybe a newfangled cell phone geared for instant updates. For the more fortunate, there are tickets to the games at Jacobs Field, which glows like an oasis in the autumn night.

It is not a mirage.

The town is dressed to kill the Red Sox. Kids and their parents wear T-shirts glorifying the new players, Grady Sizemore and C.C. Sabathia, and the old players, Albert Belle and Dennis Martinez, and, in some cases, both: Kenny Lofton.

Dennis Manoloff previews Game 3 and has a line about former Indian Manny Ramirez:

Manny Ramirez: Baby Bull is must-see no matter where he plays, never more so than in Cleveland, his former turf. While the fans love to boo him, the Jacobs Field batter’s box always has provided a comfort zone no matter what is happening around him.

Oh and you might be seeing a few midge masks in the crowd tonight as Tribe fans hope to bug Boston at the Jake:


Midge mask

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