Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

We’ve been doing the fan thing wrong all these years

red right 88We have been a Cleveland sports fan our entire life. And while there have been more disappointments than triumphs, we’ve never thought about being anything other than a Cleveland sports fan.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. And looking back over the decades, the level of sub-par play from the local sports teams has, if we’re being honest, rather depressing more often than not.

Consider that, in our lifetime:

  • The Indians have lost more than 4,000 games – an average of 82 per year – have only made eight playoff appearances and have yet to win a World Series.
  • The Cavaliers are closing in on 2,000 losses (1,942 to be exact), have a franchise winning percentage of .454, and have lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs in 10 of their 18 appearances. The franchise’s one and only trip to the NBA Finals resulted in a four-game sweep at the hands of San Antonio.
  • The Cleveland Browns moved (at least we can’t say that about the Tribe or the Cavs, although previous owners came very close), have only won six playoff games, have never even made the Super Bowl and have posted just two winning seasons in the past 20 years.

It turns out, though, that if one of the local teams actually gets its act together and puts together a championship-winning season, we will look back on these decades of futility as the best of times in Cleveland sports history. Why? Because we were not weighed down as fans by the burden of rooting for a championship team.

At least that is what Ron Borges at The Boston Herald would have people believe, who’s article about the Boston Red Sox honoring the 2004 championship team is a reminder to fans about how everything was so much better when the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics were routinely not in contention for a championship on an annual basis. (h/t to @PatriotsSB49)

Borges writes that prior to 2004:

“We were about curses and cursing. We were about oops and almost. We were about too many men on the ice, too many Bears in our face, too many Yankees in our path, too many Johnsons and Jordans. … Our teams won less, but looking back, it seemed more fun. Less obsessive, more accepting. Second place wasn’t a disaster or a personal affront to your loyalty. … There were complaints, sure, but there also was a sense of stoic Puritanism about rooting for teams that always came up short that has dissolved into a whining din about the latest catastrophe.”

While there is a certain charm, we suppose, about being able to utter phrases like Red Right 88, The Drive, The Shot or Jose Mesa to a fellow Cleveland and know they understand perfectly what you mean without further explanation. Collectively, that is all part of what makes Cleveland fans some of the best in the business.

But fun?

We’re not so sure about that one.

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