Being geographically close to Cleveland, I feel bad for my fellow sports fans who root for Cleveland teams. Admittedly, I am a Cavs fan and will continue to root for the team with a shiny new record for most NBA losses in a row with 26. The overall compilation of these three teams has produced zero championships in 50 plus years in any of their respective sports. Certain towns (Cubs fans, turn your heads), have a team who hasn’t won anything over a longer time span, but collectively, the Browns, Indians, and Cavs comprise the worst trifecta of a regional sports market that currently exists.
Let’s start with the oldest, the Cleveland Indians. The Indians won a World Series in 1920 then had to wait 28 years to get another. This is when there were no more than 20 teams in the league and the odds of winning were greater. The 1954 Indians, who won a then-record, 111 games, failed to complete the mission and are simply a highlight of a Willie Mays running over-the-shoulder catch. Did this start the futility on the diamond? In 1995, with a start studded lineup and a brand new stadium, the Indians drew large crowds and won games, but no trophies or flags. Nowadays they are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates price is right. Dump Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, etc. but make some scratch.
Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, and Larry Nance were the nucleus of some of the best Cavs teams of the late eighties and early nineties. Unfortunately, as Craig Ehlo can testify, they played during the Michael Jordan Era. We all know about Lebron James and the “decision” he made. Before his decision, he got Cleveland into the 2007 NBA Finals to play San Antonio. It was big progress for a franchise that never won. Now that James is wearing a Heat uniform and playing with two All-Stars and his former supporting cast starring Anderson Varajeo and Antwan Jamison has set the NBA standard for consecutive losses, did he still do the wrong thing? Or was he that good? I think he was. His supporting cast sucked, and still do. The guy wanted to win a championship, not babysit Delonte West or teach JJ Hickson how to dribble.
Then there are the Browns. Always a good supporting cast, but no stars, and Phil Dawson may have his own “decision” show on the deuce here pretty quick. Granted, Art Modell is a hated man in Cleveland and rightfully so. However, the drafting and coaching since Palmer took over in 1998 for the return season have been awful. Butch Davis? Wow. The worst part is that Browns fans have argued with anyone who questions the ability of a hired hand in Cleveland. Draft Day is a mess too. Hopefully the Browns can pick something other than a new season ticket package offering reduced ticket prices for 2011.
The one constant that amazes me is the fan support of all three teams. Hats off to Cleveland sports fans for remaining some of the most loyal people who root for a team.