Joe Maddon’s Family Watches Game 1, Fans Cheer for Cubs in Hazleton

HAZLETON -- Cusat's Cafe in Hazleton was packed with fans Tuesday night, watching Game 1 of the World Series, cheering on the Cubs and hometown favorite Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager.

Among those in the crowd were Maddon's mom and his sister.

"This is fabulous. It's something we've been dreaming of, and it’s come true, and we're just very excited,” said Carmine Parlatore, Joe Maddon’s sister.

Joe Maddon’s mother says he is absolutely capable of helping the Cubs beat the 108-year curse.

“Oh my God, yeah. If anyone could do it, he could," said Albina Maddon.

Hazleton is nearly 700 miles away from Chicago, a 10 and a half hour drive, but now, the area is a Cubs' community.

"Everybody is so excited. The city of Hazleton has historically been split between Phillies fans, Yankees fans, and a few Red Sox fans thrown in there. But right now, it's all Cubby blue, wall to wall, coast to coast,” said Bob Curry of the Hazleton Integration Project.

Joe Maddon is a Hazleton native and local folks are proud of him. A Hazleton Area school ballfield is named for him. With others, he started the Hazleton Integration Project and opened the Hazleton One Community Center.

He visits each year and fundraises to pay for classes and sports and more.

Earlier this year, some kids from the community center went to Philly to watch the Phillies play the Cubs.

"He's nice, and yes, he's tall for me," said Alvin Hernandez of Hazleton.

"I think he's very good at being a manager. I think he's going to maybe help them win,” said Daniela Jorge of Drums.

"He's just very nice and I just want them to win this game,” said George Gab of Hazleton.

Joe Maddon and the Cubs have a huge task: break the 108-year curse and bring home a World Series Championship.

Family members say Maddon is not nervous and they couldn't be more proud of him.

"He's really a kind, decent, smart man and he really hasn't changed a whole lot from when we grew up together,” said Maddon’s cousin Elaine Maddon Curry.

Maddon's family members, including cousins, brother, and mom plan to head to Chicago for the games on Friday, Saturday and perhaps Sunday.

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