Valley Tribe fans are confident Indians will take World Series

By William K. Alcorn


Sarah Barbato of Struthers was at the Royal Oaks Bar & Grill to see the start of the first World Series game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs to honor her father, Chris Barbato.

She said her father is one of the biggest Indians fans she knows. He has a basement full of Indians memorabilia, but he has never in his lifetime seen the Indians win a World Series.

“He’s not well, so I’m here in his honor to cheer on the Indians,” Barbato said.

Sitting next to Barbato at the bar was Royal Oaks co-owner John F. Kennedy, who planned to stay at his bar only as long as the Indians were winning.

Kennedy said baseball fans and players are superstitious, and he’s no different.

He said he has watched all the playoff games at home with his 7-year-old son, J.J., except one, and the Indians lost.

“The minute Cleveland gets down, I’m heading home,” Kennedy said before the start of the game.

But, he thinks things are looking good for the Tribe.

Kennedy said Cleveland’s manager, Terry “Tito” Francona, is master of the small-ball game.

“Doing the little things, such as getting key hits with men on base, is what gets it done,” he said.

But the biggest thing Kennedy likes about the Indians is that the young players, several of them Mahoning Valley Scrappers alumni, are “having fun and playing loose.”

Among others at Royal Oaks getting set to enjoy the game were Willie Brandon and Chuck Klingensmith, both of Youngstown.

“I don’t care how many games it takes, I just want the Indians to win,” said Brandon, a diehard, lifetime Indians fan and former Golden Gloves boxer.

Brandon thinks Cleveland has the edge because of its good pitching and defense and that “the Indians just find a way to win.”

Klingensmith, also a lifelong Indians fan, picked the Tribe to win in five games.

“The hitting has been a little light, but the pitching and defense is good. Shortstop Francisco Lindor is a shut-down player. If we can win the first two in Cleveland, we’ll be alright,” he said.

Keith Hodos of Austintown, a pre-game patron at The Federal bar and grille in downtown Youngstown, continued the praise for Lindor.

“Lindor is like Omar Vizquel [former Cleveland Indians all-star shortstop], but he can hit. I’m really excited about him,” said Hodos, who was at The Federal with friends John McIntyre of Boardman, Janet Settimo of Austintown, and her sister, Rebecca Turner of California, in town for a family wedding, all wearing Indians gear.

McIntyre, who played baseball for Austintown Fitch High School and Youngstown State University, said he particularly likes watching Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller work.

“Pitching is key to the Indians winning the series, along with base running and not making errors,” McIntyre said.