Monday, November 21

Dark Days

This ain't no fun. Ain't no fun.

By "this" I mean the sports fandom espoused by this blog, being the three pro Cleveland squads plus Ohio State. Things are not well for really any of them and it keeps spiraling worse. Earlier this week I blasted Boston super-dummy Dan Shaughnessy for moronically asking earlier this season "Have there been worse days in the history of New England sports?" less than four months after, for instance, the city's hockey team won the Stanley Cup. It was probably the most egregious instance of ungrateful sports fanhood and lack of perspective I've ever seen, and infuriates me even more when I look at the state of my favorite clubs. Seriously, if I ever write something like that if/when the Tribe wins 90+ games, the Browns are in first place, and the Cavs hold the Larry O'Brien trophy, come here to Cleveland and punch me right in the face. It's things like this that keep my Sam Adams boycott (in place since fall '07) going.

But back to Ohio and teams that humans, with souls, root for. Nick does, too. I'm very, very aware that Cleveland is renowned for its sports futility, but even by those standards, things are remarkably bleak here in northeast Ohio. To steal a bit of Shaughnessy magic, this might be the worst collective time for our clubs that I can remember. The Buckeyes lost their beloved coach who led them to their first title in over 30 years and who was on his way to Icon status to a stupid tattoo scandal and scuffled to a finish in the bottom half of the Big 10 (michigan game pending - that could help); the Browns fucking suck (though I was jacked about yesterday's win), the Indians play in an unfair league and just turned a 30-15 start into a 50-67 finish, and the Cavs...well, you know what happened. They can't even catch a lockout break - Cleveland's two of the top 5 lottery picks will be sitting this year like everyone else.

It sucks, and there's not one single good team to fall back on. Hell, even the Lake Erie Monsters are struggling. As far as I can go back, we nearly always had at least someone who was reasonably good. Check it out, without being overly specific about what "good" constitutes let's say the Bucks had to get 2nd or better in the Big 10, and the pro teams had to make the playoffs.

2010: Buckeyes, Cavs
2009: Buckeyes, Cavs
2008: Buckeyes, Cavs
2007: Buckeyes, Browns, Cavs, Indians (all this right before I arrived in the 216)
2006: Buckeyes, Cavs
2005: Buckeyes, Indians (playoffs or no, 93 wins was a hell of a run)
2004: Buckeyes
2003: Buckeyes
2002: Buckeyes (fuck yeah), Browns
2001: Indians
2000: No one
1999: Indians
1998: Buckeyes, Indians, Cavs
1997: Buckeyes, Indians
1996: Buckeyes, Indians, Cavs
1995: Buckeyes, Indians, Cavs
1994: Buckeyes, Browns, Cavs
1993: Buckeyes, Cavs
1992: Buckeyes, Cavs
1991: No one
1990: Cavs
1989: Browns (Halcyon fucking days of yore - four straight playoff appearances?), Cavs
1988: Browns, Cavs
1987: Browns
1986: Buckeyes, Browns

The only two years in my 25 as a staunch Ohioan sports fan without a playoff club or "good" Buckeye squad were 1991 and 2000 - these apparently happen once every decade or so. But even in 2000, the Tribe won 90 games and battled for the Central title, the Bucks won eight games and played in the Outback Bowl, the Browns' return was still novel, and I got into hockey with Mario Lemieux's return to the NHL.

Really, the only year quite as barren as this one was '91. The Buckeyes won only eight and lost something called the Hall of Fame Bowl, the Indians lost a preposterous 105 games, the Cavs submitted a sixth-place finish in their division, and the Browns notched all of six wins. In fact, the parallels are striking - the Browns will probably win five this year, and 2011 has a better Tribe club but a worse Cavalier club - but 1991 and 2011 are pretty much neck and neck for the title of worst overall Cleveland sports year since I've been on board.

I just hope one of them can get good soon. OSU will soon get a marquee coach and the young guys playing this year will mature, so they'll likely be better soon. If the NBA comes back, the Cavs have some promising youngsters. It's hard to see a path to the top for the Tribe right now, but the cupboard is far from bare. The Browns will always suck, let's face it. Still, we press on, because we are Cleveland fans and we care.


rick@waitingfornextyear said...

How do you not consider the '07 Indians 'good'?

Andy said...

Good catch, Rick. Straight-up typo, mistake by me. I've corrected it. Thanks for the eagle eyes!