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They rearranged work schedules and drove six hours through the night. They spent more than $1,000 for a single ticket. They packed up Ryne Sandberg jerseys and W rally towels and winter hats, coming with best friends and parents and siblings.They were not...

Jubilant Cubs fans in Cleveland for World Series opener: 'a dream come true'

They rearranged work schedules and drove six hours through the night. They spent more than $1,000 for a single ticket. They packed up Ryne Sandberg jerseys and W rally towels and winter hats, coming with best friends and parents and siblings.They were not...

Jubilant Cubs fans in Cleveland for World Series opener: 'a dream come true'

They rearranged work schedules and drove six hours through the night. They spent more than $1,000 for a single ticket. They packed up Ryne Sandberg jerseys and W rally towels and winter hats, coming with best friends and parents and siblings.

They were not going to miss this.

Jubilant fans of all ages descended Tuesday on downtown Cleveland to witness with their own eyes something that hasn't happened since 1945: the Cubs in the World Series.

"This is a dream come true," said Fabian Herrera, 38, of Itasca, as he high-fived fellow Cubs fans and sang "Go Cubs Go" in the middle of Sixth Street on his way into Progressive Field for Game 1 against the Indians.

"He cried when we bought the tickets and decided we were coming," said friend Tony Arce.

The pair decided Monday afternoon that watching the Cubs in the World Series was worth taking off work and shelling out $1,300 per ticket. After years and years of heartbreak, they said, they didn't want to be anywhere else.

"Yesterday we went back and forth and said, 'Should we do this, yes or no?'" Herrera said. "A couple of hours we said, 'Bam! This is what we're going to do. We're going.'"

Herrera called his boss to say he was going to miss work Tuesday, and she gave her blessing. A co-worker who is a White Sox fan is covering for him.

Excited Cubs fans hit the road to Cleveland for World Series opener Patrick M. O'Connell and John Keilman

There were Illinois license plates aplenty on the Ohio Turnpike on Monday afternoon as Cubs fans determined to watch baseball history in person hit the road for the five-plus-hour journey to Cleveland for the start of the World Series.

With Cubs caps showcased through car windows and mini W flags...

There were Illinois license plates aplenty on the Ohio Turnpike on Monday afternoon as Cubs fans determined to watch baseball history in person hit the road for the five-plus-hour journey to Cleveland for the start of the World Series.

With Cubs caps showcased through car windows and mini W flags...

(Patrick M. O'Connell and John Keilman)

The Gateway District near the ballpark was in full party mode throughout the afternoon, with Cubs fans peaceably mixing and joking with throngs of Indians supporters. Adding to the atmosphere was the home opener and championship banner-raising ceremony for the Cavaliers, the city's NBA team that plays across the street from the baseball stadium. Indians fans packed the bars and plazas near the sports arenas with cries of "Go Tribe!" unaffected by Cubs' fans lament about a championship drought. Cleveland baseball fans, after all, have been waiting for a title since 1948.

"They're excited," said Mike Rubin, who watched crowds of baseball fans through the display window of his shop Prospect Music on Huron Road. "It doesn't hurt to have an NBA team that won a title and a baseball team that's gotten as far as it has. All of those things have seemed to reinvigorate interest in the downtown."

Chicago Cubs fans are showing their loyalty these days and not just after a North Side victory. 

Early arriving Indians fans snagged autographs from a few players in the team parking lot before the game, reaching through the fence for souvenirs. "We're praying for you," one man said.

Cubs fans were not difficult to spot, their bright blue caps and jackets standing in contrast to the navy blue of Cleveland colors.

Ed Jacob, a Cubs fan from Van Wert, Ohio, who soaked in the revelry from the plaza beyond the left field gate, is used to the playful ribbing since he lives in enemy territory. But he couldn't pass up the chance to watch the World Series with his brother and sister, Angie Brown, who flew in from her home in Waikapu, Maui.

"It's just a blessing," Brown said, "for both teams to be here."

[email protected]

Twitter @pmocwriter

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