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Superfans Make Their Cases As Cubs-Indians Enter World Series Game 7

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Few events in sports are as tense as Game 7 of a World Series. Tonight, one game decides which championship drought will end - the Cleveland Indians at 68 years or the Chicago Cubs at 108 years.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, if you don't exactly have a rooting interest in either team, we asked superfans of each side to try to win you over. Shari Sweeney is a lifelong Indians fan from Ohio.

SHARI SWEENEY: It's a great group of guys, and I just feel like this is our year.

SHAPIRO: And Marcus Gilmer is a Cubs fan living in enemy territory in Cleveland. He married into an Indians family.

MARCUS GILMER: I'm prepared to sleep on the couch for a week if I have to after tonight.

SHAPIRO: Marcus Gilmer thinks Chicago's longer history of struggle should sway you, as well as the memories of all those great players who came up short over the years.

GILMER: Guys like Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg and of course the late, great Ron Santo - terrific players and never got to see a World Series championship. And I really hope to see them win tonight just for those guys to be a part of this.

CORNISH: Shari Sweeney feels Chicago's identity is already a positive one, but Cleveland really needs this.

SWEENEY: For a lot of my life, I've been almost embarrassed to tell people I'm from Cleveland. For so long, it's been, oh, the mistake on the lake and the burning river. And we've been through a lot of loss.

CORNISH: And after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship in June, she saw the city stand up a little taller.

SWEENEY: Everybody was just kind of, like, yeah, you know? Now they know. Now the world knows that Cleveland can compete, too, that we're a great place.

SHAPIRO: Finally, Marcus Gilmer says if you're a Cubs fan, you're in good company with stars like Bill Murray, our own Scott Simon.

GILMER: And Eddie Vedder. He's got a pretty great song called "Go All The Way." It gives us hope. It gives us hope tonight's the night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GO ALL THE WAY")

EDDIE VEDDER: (Singing) There's magic in the ivy and the old scoreboard. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.