Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cleveland Sports 101

Do you remember things when you were three years old? How about four years old? Or perhaps when you were six? No? Well welcome to the world of Cleveland, where you are born into dashed hopes due to the exploits of all time greats named Jordan and Elway. Look closely at the highlight reels of the now instant classic hall of famers, who are the sad saps wallowing in misery? Yes, that is Cleveland. That is the city I am from and proud of it for some reason. Granted I only lived in the mistake by the lake for three years, but most of my family is from there and I went there every Christmas to enjoy real snow. But once again, the point is that I grew up living and loving this town and its sad sap teams regardless of the horrid heartbreak that came with it.

Here comes my own heart breaking tale with this city’s teams in case you don’t know. The Cavs and Indians were terrible for most of the early 90’s, but the Browns were decent, until
some guy, I will politely call an asshole, cut the favorite son in the midst of a good season. The Browns did win one playoff game against the Patriots (awkward) but lost to the Steelers. New Generation Lesson 1. And then oops. Another asshole decided to move the team to the Wire, I mean Baltimore. So that ends that gut wrenching tale. Lesson 2. The Cavs of course limped on losing to some guy named Jordan for years, and for some reason we had Shawn Kemp.

Once the Browns were removed, we had to turn to another team in the city, and luckily there was
a new stadium, a new slugger, and new drugs no one knew about. Due to the awesome adventures of Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, and Albert Belle the Indians went to the World Series when I was in 5th grade, but of course lost in 7 games. In hindsight, the Braves and their rotation were all hall-of-famers, but that year was their only championship in the ten years of their dominance, so it’s not as crushing. I guess Lesson 3. Two years later, we make some deals, and get to the World Series again against an expansion team. We’re winning in game 7 and have a good closer to seal the deal, but oops, not good enough, he blows it and I go to sleep crying and we lose in extra innings. Lesson 4. There will always be next year, right? Umm….not really. Welcome to MLB free agency 2k edition. Manny Ramirez gone, Jim Thome gone, Lofton gone, Alomars gone. So by the time the league almost got into another strike in 02 the Tribe was just a shell of its former self.

And then the Browns came back. (
Notice no smiley faces or exclamation points). Due to the success of the Jags and Panthers expansion years, the NFL decided to shit on the new expansion Browns so the first couple years were quite uneventful. But one year we pulled it together with a backup quarterback and were beating the Steelers. (Tommy Maddox? Really?) This is when I learned first hand that throwing stuff at the tv during a horrible Browns collapse was not acceptable because the outcome was supposed to be expected. Lesson 5.

May 22nd 2003: The Day it should all change:

After many years mired in mediocrity between the Cavs, Indians, and Browns, the sad sap City won for once. The little bouncing ball went the to the city that had its own river go ablaze. Cleveland won the NBA draft lottery. (Granted we had the worst record that year and had the best odds to win it, but still) Mark it down. Just looking at
Mr. Gund’s face, you knew who he was taking with that pick, Detroit at #2 was on the clock (they took Darko Milicheck instead of Carmelo, Wade, Bosh, etc different post, different time).

In the meantime, the Indians pulled out of free agency hell and put together a good team in the 07 season with the best player since Man Ram in
Grady Sizemore. However, they never got over losing a 3-1 lead to the Sox in the ALCS and traded away consecutive Cy Young Award winners, who ended up facing each other in the World Series. The Browns struggled for many more years, but had a good season in 07, falling a game short of the playoffs. They of course tanked in 08 and are on their 5th head coach since coming back, which is as many as the Steelers have had since 1965. The new regime traded away several first round picks and is now starting a terrible qb to prevent incentives for the backup.

AL (After Lottery): After the Cavs won the lottery, they obviously took the
Akron born home town kid Lebron James (Be warned, man crushing will ensue). After winning the Rookie of the year, the “King” took the downtrodden Cavs to the NBA Finals in 07. Of course, Lebron and his band of Fighting Cavaliers got swept by underrated Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Lesson 6. Then in the 09 season, Lebron won the MVP, best record, and swept his way into the conference finals. After dropping only the third home game of the year in Game 1, James came up with Cleveland’s first miracle in a while. Alas, it was not to be, as Mike Brown couldn’t figure out how to defeat the pick and roll, and the Cavs were done in six, preventing the Kobe-Lebron finals. After all the anguish and all the heart break this city has endured, we hopefully now have a savior. We now have a Jordan or Elway. If he goes to the Knicks in 2010 without delivering what he was born to do, the city with implode and destroys itself if it hasn’t already done so. Hell, if only he could play for the Browns.

Further enjoyment:


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