As the Major League Baseball (MLB) post-season winds down, some Bluffton students have had a big reason to stay hyped. The Cleveland Indians, for the sixth time in their franchise history, will play in the World Series.
The last time Cleveland played in the World Series was in 1997, and 1948 was the last time that they won the whole thing. Most students here were about one or two years of age when Cleveland last played in the series. The last time that they won the World Series, most students’ parents were younger than their students are today.
A walk around campus during this MLB postseason will show anyone the great deal of Cleveland fans present on the Bluffton campus. According to Colton Steiner, a junior at Bluffton University, these watch parties greatly emphasize one of Bluffton’s core values—community.
“I feel I have a great group of fans here,” said Steiner. “Since the last 52 years of Cleveland sports history has been pretty depressing, it is a fantastic feeling celebrating the city’s success the last several months with other fans. Having a great time with fans of your team is an extremely fun experience.”
Cleveland has found great success in these last couple of years with the Cleveland Cavaliers making it to the NBA Finals in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 and then winning it in game seven in 2016. The Indians went on a 14-game winning streak that started two days before the Cavs won the title. Since then, the Indians have been on a roll and now they look to play in their first World Series since 1997.
“I was born into a family of Indians fans,” said sophomore football player Floid Krajcovic. “So I would say since the day I was born.”
Whether collegiate or professional, sports bring a sense of community to campus. Uniting with fellow fans on campus not only gets students excited for the game, but also excited to enjoy the event with friends.
“We have quite a few Indians fans on campus,” said junior softball player Mercedes Burns. “Some more or less bandwagon since we became good, but you’ll have that with any team. It seems that most baseball fans are either Indians or Reds fans.”
Although some students may find it difficult to fully appreciate the game without their families beside them, many have found ways to enjoy the game with their loved ones from a distance.
“My grandparents have only missed three innings of the Indians all year,” said senior women’s basketball player Ashley Salyer. “My parents also watch every night they are on when they are not busy. I have been in contact with all of them throughout the postseason during and after games.”
This World Series will be an interesting one for these Cleveland Indians fans on campus when they play the Chicago Cubs at 8 p.m. tonight.
Read more: Baseball fans reflect on Cleveland love.
Feature photo: Bluffton students Lee Holderman and Jayden Gropp are among the many Cleveland faithful cheering for the Tribe in this World Series. Photo by Taylor Cook.