Growing up in this city can reduce the strongest fan to tears. It’s the most torture that one human being should be forced to bear. It makes you want to rip your eyes out and forget that you have a heart to feel with.
If you haven’t guessed where you may be right now, unfortunately, you are in Cleveland, or just as worse a Cleveland sports fan.
Just to refresh your memory. Cleveland has waited longer than any other city that currently has three major sports franchises to win that lucrative title.
The last time that a sports fan in Cleveland got to see a major sports team win a championship was all the way back in 1964. My mom was only four! Really?
Just when you think it can’t be that bad, in 2004 ESPN named Cleveland the most tortured sports city in America. Go Cleveland! How would you like to have that distinction? This only adds to the torment that we feel on a daily basis.
Did you know that prior to 1997 no major league team had ever gone into the ninth inning of a game seven in the World Series with the lead and lost?
Well here we go… Fast forward to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Tied 2-2, the bottom of the 11th started out with a leadoff single by Bobby Bonilla. Gregg Zaun would line out to Charles Nagy in the next at bat, after failing to lay down two successful bunt attempts. One out down… two more to go. Craig Counsell hits a roller up the middle and the ball skips under Tony Fernandez’s glove for an error. Bonilla advances to third base. After an intentional walk to load the bases with one out, Devon White hits into a fielder’s choice forcing Bonilla out at home.
I have to stop and sigh thinking back to this last sequence.
I remember sitting in my Lazy Boy and rooting as loud as I can. All I wanted was one more out. It didn’t seem like much to ask for. Enter Edgar Renteria, who was probably the most clutch player on the Marlins roster that year. Nagy delivers a slider out of the stretch and Renteria bounces the ball of Nagy’s glove into center field.
It was like watching in slow motion as Craig Counsell skipped his way to home plate with his fists pumping in the air as the Marlins celebrate the World Series Championship.
This is my most memorable moment as a Cleveland sports fan. This hurt more than the sweep by the Braves two years earlier.
And not to mention the fact that we were only one game away from a return trip to the World Series against the Red Sox a few years back. You see how that has worked out for the Indians... Two miserable seasons, trading away two Cy Young winners, and only being kept out of the AL Central cellar by the lowly Royals.
This hurts more than “The Drive,” “The Fumble,” and “The Shot” combined.
It is too painful for most fans from Cleveland to think about the previously mentioned Browns debacles. Not to mention, how many times you have had to watch Jordan shoot the ball over Ehlo.
These images are plastered all over ESPN. They are never going to go away! We will forever be tormented by disappointment.
If you need to make a stretch and pull for some sort of glory my fellow Clevelanders, don’t forget about the Crunch, or the Force, or whichever it may be now.
I am referring to the indoor soccer team that brought joy to many fans who were starved for some sort of winner. Between 1992 and 2000, the Crunch, won three titles, six conference titles and five division championships.
If that is not enough, you can still claim fame to the National Championship that Ohio State won in 2003. It was one of the biggest upsets in college football history. It laid rest to Miami’s 34-game winning streak and proved the Buckeye’s were back on the national radar.
Although, the jubilation did not last long.
We all witnessed the pathetic performances by our beloved Buckeyes in the National Championship games against Florida and LSU.
So, I would like to come out and say that unless the Cavs can pull off a miracle and retain LeBron James past next season, we are in for more of the same misery.
Get your paper bags ready gang. It’s going to be a long life of sports obscurity.
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