The sports summer of 2010 will forever go down as the summer of LeBron and his departure from the Cavs. “The Decision” will now go down with “The Shot”, “The Drive”, and “The Fumble” in Cleveland sports infamy. Because of incidents like these, the city of Cleveland hasn’t won a professional sports title since 1964.
Cleveland’s 56 year championship drought is the second longest streak of any major city with at least two professional sports franchises.
What city holds the unenviable distinction of longest championship drought in sports you might ask? That would be San Diego as their drought is one year longer than Cleveland, not having won a title since the Chargers won the AFL Championship in 1963.
Many San Diego natives believed the Fall of 2010 would bring an end to this embarrassing distinction.
The Chargers are coming off of a 2009 campaign in which San Diego went 13-3. The Bolts return 19 of 22 starters from ’09 and have Super Bowl aspirations in 2010.
The three starters that are not returning are out of San Diego because GM A.J. Smith wanted them out. Smith cut TB Ladainian Tomlinson and NT Jamal Williams, and then traded CB Antonio Cromartie due to his issues in the locker room. All moves that Smith thought would improve the Chargers chances in 2010.
On August 25th, the Padres had a 6.5 game lead over the Giants in the NL West, and a four game lead over the Braves and the Reds for homefield advantage throughout the NL Playoffs.
Last season the Padres traded away Cy Young winner Jake Peavy and were expected to trade away 1B Adrian Gonzalez at some point this season in a rebuilding effort. Instead, the Padres were acquiring talent at the trade deadline acquiring OF Ryan Ludwick to try to capture the Padres first World Series title in franchise history.
Things were looking up in San Diego. Not anymore.
The Chargers open their season Monday night at Arrowhead versus Kansas City and, unless something gets done quick, Philip Rivers will be without two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill and without his leading receiver from ’09 in Vincent Jackson.
The two pro bowlers join Patriots G Logan Mankins as the lone remaining holdouts in the NFL.
Jackson, who is suspended the first three games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, found an unnamed club that was willing to pay the 27-year-old the salary he was seeking but the Chargers nixed the deal at the last moment.
Jackson’s agent said that the Chargers were asking for too much and wanted to make a statement that they were in control, not Jackson.
A move like that will not get an unhappy Jackson signed any quicker.
The Chargers very well could go through 2010 without Rivers’ main bodyguard and his most explosive pass catcher from a passing game that ranked fifth in the NFL last season.
As for the Padres, a September that was supposed to be spent battling for the best record in baseball has turned into a battle for San Diego’s postseason life.
The Friars have lost 10 of their last 11, breaking a 10 game skid Monday night versus the Dodgers. During this stretch the Giants have closed their once seemingly large NL West gap to just one game and have fans in San Diego rethinking their plans for October.
The 10 game losing streak is the Padres’ longest losing streak since 1994 and without slugger Jerry Hairston Jr., San Diego is 1-9 and has scored just slightly over two runs per contest during his absence with a sprained right elbow.
If the Padres are to overcome this skid and make the postseason, they will become only the third team in MLB history to make the playoffs with a double digit losing streak during the regular season.
If the city of San Diego stands any chance of celebrating a championship in 2010, things will have to change and change fast.
If it’s the Chargers, Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill must be in the lineup and must be content with their situation if the Bolts plan to end their playoff woes.
For the Padres, they must find a way to score runs in any manner possible if they hope to have any chance of not only holding off the Giants, but the Rockies as well. Lead by Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies have won four straight games and have moved to just 5.5 games back of San Diego during the Friar’s skid.
Both teams must right their respective ships over the coming weeks or the city of San Diego’s dream of winning their first championship in 57 years could quickly turn into a nightmare they are all too familiar with.