The Curse of Cleveland: Does It Exist?
I was driving a dead road on the northern part of Ohio, and I turned the radio on; the radio host said something interesting.
"We haven't had a championship in this town since, like, the 1800s, I don't know what's up. Maybe there's an Indian buried in Cleveland and we need to dig him up. Something to release this championship dry spell for Cleveland."
So that got me to thinking: Is there really a curse or bad omen in Cleveland?
Now, I am not one to get into the hysteria of curses (leave that to the Boston-Chicago fans), but I noticed that Cleveland has had some very interesting things happen to them recently.
To stay recent, I will go from 2004 to the present, sticking with the main three: football, basketball, and baseball.
2004: The Indians rebuilding program is beginning to work. The players in the minors that would eventually become all-stars are developing nicely and get shots at roster spots; this would have a huge impact on the next year. Final Record: 80-82, no playoff berth.
2005: Miss the playoffs by a few games, get taken out in the final week but had one of the better teams in the MLB. With players like Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta, Bob Wickman, Bob Howry, Cliff Lee, Coco Crisp, and CC Sabathia having break-out seasons. This was also the year Kevin Millwood lead the majors in ERA. Final Record: 93-69.
2006: A young kid by the name of Grady Sizemore showed the baseball world what he had in his second season with the Indians; he had a breakout year. Martinez and Hafner stayed consistent. However, they wouldn't have the same success they had the year before and would not contend for a playoff berth. Final Record: 78-84.
2007: After having their hearts broken in 2006, the Indians came in 2007 looking for a playoff berth and a title, the Indians did great in the regular season, CC won the Cy Young, and all was looking great in Cleveland. The Indians dominated the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. The Indians were up 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, it's the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox pull a 2004 miracle and come back after being down 3-1 (came back 3-0 against New York in 04') eventually won the series 4-3, and would go on to win the World Series, a soul crusher in Cleveland. To this day, Cleveland fans believe we should have won the series. Final Record: 96-66.
2008: Cleveland could not duplicate the success they had in 2007 and had a very rough start to 2008; however, the Indians would get very hot at the end the year. This marked the second year in a row an Indian lefty won the Cy Young Award in Cliff Lee. The Indians, however, would not sniff the playoffs and came in third place in the AL Central in the 2008 season. Final Record: 81-81.
2004: A lot of hype this year as the Browns draft K2 (Kellen Winslow Jr); the Browns also had Jeff Garcia at QB and Browns fans were looking forward to a playoff berth. The Browns started strong beating the Ravens 20-3 in the first game; however, that would not help the Browns, as they would begin a losing streak that never seemed to end. Final Record: 4-12.
2005: A new coach out of New England was the head coach for the Browns that year. Romeo Crennell was coming from the Patriots, looking to make a statement in football.
Too bad for him he chose the Cleveland Browns.
Crennel's first season saw it's ups and downs. Charlie Frye, the next franchise QB, suffered an injury; Trent Dilfer would have to start. Kellen Winslow would also suffer an injury and the team would struggle. They improved despite all these woes and Romeo Crennell's first season with the Browns may in fact have been considered a success. Final Record 6-10.
2006: This was the year we saw both Frye and Anderson starting. There were some good moments this season, the Browns were able to shut down Falcons QB Michael Vick. Frye lead the team down by three scores with his three TDs to win the Browns a game.
The defense started to look better. However, the Browns success this season was very minimal, as the Browns would once again have a losing season. Final Record: 4-12.
2007: With Frye gone and the newly drafted Brady Quinn taking the second string quarterback spot, the Browns were looking forward to the 2007 season.
This was also the year offensive lineman Joe Thomas was drafted and proved to be a very smart pick. Anderson would prove he is worth another shot and have a great season this year; Brady Quinn would just have to wait.
The Browns ended the season very successfully, but it wasn't enough for a playoff berth. The Browns would lose to the Titans as the Wild Card selection. Final Record: 10-6.
2008: With Cleveland fans still shouting foul from last year, the Browns were looking to make a comeback. Anderson, Winslow, and Edwards were all coming off career years and the offense was looking better than ever.
The Browns would not contend again this year.
Anderson slowed down, and Edwards led the league in dropped passes. With fans now calling for the heads of Anderson and Crennell, the front office responded with Crennell's firing and Eric Mangini replacing him. Fans are still demanding we see what Brady Quinn has and if he can be our franchise QB, but the question remains: Will Quinn start in '09? Final Record: 4-12.
Championships: 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1964
2004-2005: LeBron's second year with the Cavaliers started off a success. However, after the all-star break, the Cavaliers would begin to fall apart. With no improvements before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers eventually fell after leading the Central Division for so long. The Cavaliers would not make the playoffs this year. Final Record 42-40.
2005-2006: Insert Mike Brown, as this is his first chance to coach the rising Cleveland Cavaliers. GM Danny Ferry, as he would go on to sign players Larry Hughes, and Donyell Marshall in hope of providing some support for LeBron James.
It worked, as the Cavaliers improved from last year.
The Cavaliers made it to the playoffs, and boy, LeBron showed that he didn't need much help, leading them to the Conference Finals. After taking a series lead 3-2, it seemed like this year was the year the Cavaliers would overtake the Pistons.
What the Cavaliers didn't expect is the Pistons to come out firing and would eventually lose the next two games as the Cavaliers lost to the Pistons 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Final Record: 50-32.
2006-2007: The Cavaliers would once again be an impact on the Eastern Conference, as they played well in the regular season once again on the back of LeBron James. The Cavaliers made it to the NBA playoffs again.
This time, the Wizards would prove to be a much easier task, as they easily won the series. The Nets were next giving the Cavaliers some problems. However, LeBron would prove too much for them in the end. The Cavaliers would then go on to face the Spurs.
The Spurs would sweep the Cavs 4-0 to win the NBA championship, and so ends the hope of a title returning to Cleveland. Final Record: 50-32.
2007-2008: Coming into the 2007-2008 season, the Cavs were finally ready to take home that title and bring Cleveland their first championship in a long time.
The season went good but not as good as the past two years. Overall, Cleveland played nicely in the playoffs as well. However, they lost in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the Boston Celtics, who would go on to win it all.
The series lasted seven games and was very well played. Cleveland would have to wait yet again to return to the Finals. Final Record: 45-37.
NBA Champions: 0
Yes, the radio host was wrong. Our last championship didn't come in the 1800s, it came in 1964. However, he still makes a solid point—it has been a while since the city of Cleveland has seen a championship.
It almost makes you wonder what's in store for the future of Cleveland Sports. Even though we have put some good teams on the field, we still have yet to win a championship.
When will Cleveland win a championship next? Who knows, but when they do, I am sure it will be huge.
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