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Rooting Not for the Cavaliers, but for Cleveland

May 27th, 2016 · No Comments · Baseball, Basketball, Football, NBA, NFL

My default setting when it comes to big-time sports in the U.S., both professionals and major colleges, is to apply my speck of psychic energy to the support of teams from the western United States.

Thus, I should be sending negative vibes (however that is done) at the Cleveland Cavaliers, who tonight clinched the Eastern Conference championship and next week will be playing in the NBA Finals.

However, I have decided … that I am OK with Cleveland (as opposed to the Cavaliers) winning the NBA title.

The reason for this is pretty basic:

I feel sorry for the sports fans of the city of Cleveland.

You may have heard that, as former online sports writer Bill Simmons would say, “God hates Cleveland.”

A cold, gray Rust Belt city sometimes known as The Mistake on the Lake, has an NFL team (the Browns), a Major League Baseball team (the Indians) and an NBA franchise mentioned above.

And when was the last time any of them won a championship?

That would be 1964.

Yeah, 52 years ago.

The Indians have not won a World Series since 1948. When Bob Feller was a young man. Mostly, they have been awful, but they reached the World Series twice since then, coming within an inning of winning a title in 1997.

The Browns are the overachievers in this group, having won the 1964 NFL title in a 27-0 rout of the Baltimore Colts. Jim Brown was on this Browns team, before he became an actor. But they have been pretty much awful since then; they have not played in any of the 50 Super Bowls but came painfully close in the 1980s.

–And the Cavaliers have never won an NBA title — despite having LeBron James on their team for eight seasons, before this one. They were an expansion team, of course, but their first season was not just the other day: They began play in 1970 and at times were known as the Cadavaliers.

Now, the Cavs are in the NBA Finals for the third time (2007, when James had very little help; 2015, when an injury riddled team were beaten by the Golden State Warriors.

I am not a big fan of LeBron James. It seems like the game comes too easily to him. But I am coming around on him, as he matures and becomes (seemingly) more thoughtful and gracious.

LeBron this time has quite a bit of help — both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving scored more than 20 points as the Cavs overpowered the Toronto Raptors to win the East in six games.

Which must make Clevelanders even more nervous, given that Something Always Goes Wrong when their teams face the moment of truth.

They will get either the Warriors or the Oklahoma City Thunder, and probably the latter, who lead the series 3-2 and have a home game tomorrow — and have been the bigger, stronger, longer team in this series.

Normally, as mentioned, I would be on the West team, particularly a California team like the Warriors, but … I feel bad for Cleveland.

Three big-league teams, zero championships in the lifetimes of anyone who has turned 52. It is bad enough to go a century or so without a championship (ask Chicago Cubs fans), but now take that “nobody living remembers” stat and apply it across the three major American sports.

That is hard.

Cleveland needs something beyond the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And this is their best shot. LeBron and the Cavs, four victories from ending that 0-for-52-years streak and demonstrating that living in Cleveland is punishment enough for the fans of their teams.



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