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Indians fans ready to make serious noise

After playing in Jacobs Field tonight, the Florida Marlins might want to find a quieter place to relax - like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

There will be no cute little fish dances at the home of the Cleveland Indians.The next three games of the World Series will be in front of crowds that are ready to shake, rattle and roll.

"I don't know how our fans can root any harder for us," Cleveland's David Justice said.

Justice knows how tough it is to be a visiting player at the Jake in October.

With the Atlanta Braves, he got in trouble with his then-hometown fans during the 1995 World Series when he said Cleveland's fans were more supportive than Atlanta's. The Indians won two of three games from the Braves here, but lost the series.

"Just all the energy coming from all those people is awesome," Justice said. "They're watching every pitch, every play, and they make you want to play better."

And, as the series resumes after a split of Games 1 and 2 in Miami, diehard Indians fans say the Cleveland crowds - if it's possible - are rowdier now than they were two years ago.

"The crowd's going to be very well-behaved - and they're going to be nuts," said Sister Mary Assumpta, a Roman Catholic nun famous for baking cookies for the Indians. "At least they better be well-behaved. If they're not, they'll hear it from me."

Good luck, sister.

The crowd will definitely be standing from the first pitch, hiking up their socks in imitation of their heroes and yelling themselves hoarse.

The truth is, they'll do anything to help the Indians win and end 49 years of frustration by bringing a World Series championship to this city.

"I think it'll be the same as the other playoff games - only worse," Carol Elkins said as she waited to get autographs from the Cleveland players Monday.

While Jacobs Field is always packed - the 43,368-seat stadium sold out for all of Cleveland's regular-season games - the postseason has brought a new level of frenzy.

Since the final two games of the divisional series against the New York Yankees - when Cleveland came back to win after being four outs from elimination - Indians fans have given a sense of inevitability to the outcome of each game.

"Every time the team has struggled and won, it's taken the fans to a new level," Sister Mary Assumpta said. "I have a feeling the fans are going to carry the guys through."

John Adams, the Cleveland fan who sits in left field pounding a bass drum during rallies, said the racket has its roots in a town waiting for its first World Series title since 1948.

"There's a long-suffering crowd here," said Adams, who has been banging the drum at Cleveland games for 24 years. "People here have gone through the down times, so they savor and appreciate the good times."

Still, the Marlins say they've heard crowd noise before, and it won't bother them.

"That's the idea of baseball. You go to the ballpark and root, root, root for the home team," designated hitter Jim Eisenrich said. "The Atlanta and San Francisco crowds were noisy, too."

Yeah, they were noisy. But this loud?

"You better get your earplugs because this place is really going to rock and shake," Cleveland fan Barbara McGraw said.


Additional Information

World Series

(Series tied 1-1)

Game 1: Florida 7, Cleveland 4

Game 2: Cleveland 6, Florida 1

Game 3: Tuesday, Florida (Leiter 11-9) at Cleveland (Nagy 15-11), 6:20 p.m.

Game 4: Wednesday, Florida (Saunders 4-6) at Cleveland (Wright 8-3), 6:20 p.m.

Game 5: Thursday, Florida at Cleveland, 6:20 p.m.

Game 6*: Saturday, Cleveland at Florida, 6 p.m.

Game 7*: Sunday, Cleveland at Florida, 5:35 p.m.

*-if necessary. All games on Ch. 5.