Indians gear flies off store shelves

Fans react fast as the team advances to the World Series

NILES — Lifelong Cleveland Indians fan Robert Denen of Liberty was in Dick’s Sporting Goods Thursday afternoon picking up some items for kids he coaches.

However, when he passed a large display of Cleveland Indians gear, Denen, already wearing a blue and red Cleveland Indians shirt, could not resist buying a new shirt.

“I had no intention of buying a shirt when I walked in, but I’ve followed them all of my life,” he said. “I try to go to a couple games a year.”

“I’m excited about this World Series run,” he said. “Isn’t everyone?”

Andre Morales, an assistant manager at Lids, a hat store in the Eastwood Mall, said they had customers coming in the store most of the day picking up Indians gear.

“We had between 20 and 25 calls from people trying to find out what we had available,” Morales said. “We began seeing more people coming in at the beginning of the Boston series.  It picked up with every win.”

Morales  described it really exploding Wednesday after the team wrapped up the American League series.

“This has been good for Cleveland,” Morales said. “Really, it has been good for all of northeast Ohio. We sold out our early season gear.”

Morales said last year at this time, the store sold about $234 worth of Cleveland Indians hats.

“We sold more than $800 worth of caps today,” he said.

Girard resident Macharia Harvey, who was picking up a cap, described himself as a longtime Cleveland Indians fan, says he became increasingly confident that the team would not only get to the playoffs, but could get to the World Series.

“If you watched them from the beginning of the season, you could see the confidence they have in themselves,” Harvey said. “It was different this year.”

Harvey described still having Indian shirts from the time when David Justice was on the team in the mid-1990s.

“Most of the kids don’t know who David Justice was,” Harvey said with a laugh. “I try to get to a few games a year. We didn’t get to as many this year, because I was getting my son into medical school.”

Jay Kasiewicz, a manager at Sports Obsession, also in the mall, also described customers being at his door waiting when he arrived at work on Thursday.

“There has been steady sales on Indians gear for the last several weeks,” Kasiewicz said. “It really exploded last night. People are really excited.”

Kasiewicz said the store ran out of their shirts, but expect to to have more today.

Like the store managers, Brandon Miller, a salesman at Jersey World, also in the mall, said Indians gear has picked up in sales.

“This has been a good year,” Miller said. “With the Cavaliers winning its championship and now the Indians doing what they are doing, we are seeing a lot of coming in and buying. They are enjoying the vibe that winning sports team bring.”

Of course, he added, the store’s Browns gear have not been selling as well as the other two Cleveland teams.

“Maybe it will pick up if they win a few games,” he said